Covid-19 myths

24/03/19

Well, we can't avoid it, so we'll have to talk about it. We're obviously in the middle of a huge pandemic crisis right now. And as we see the world pulling together to try and help people, we're also seeing the worst of people as well. Alongside the usual tranche of pseudoscientific treatments on offer - untested and unregulated - we've also seen some conspiracy theories as well. Which you could probably have guessed. It is obviously important to make sure that the signal goes farther than the noise with this, so we'll use the rest of paragraph 1 to ask you to help your friends and family out. If you see something that isn't accurate, tell them. This isn't debunking something unimportant or twee - don't worry about looking like a dick, something which every skeptic has to contend with at some point.

The bullshit covers the entire spectrum, from smaller things that may be just misunderstandings about science from people who weren't knowledgeable which then got picked up and spread to full theories involving geopolitics and capitalism and the like. The most ridiculous one for our money is the idea that the virus was man-made in a laboratory - for one reason or another. The main evidence supporting this theory seems to be that Wuhan province in China has the only level 4 biosafety facility in the country and has held coronavirus specimens before. The other supporting evi... nope, wait, that's literally all they have.

One of the purveyors of false information about the virus on top of the usual racists and anti-science right-wingers is Russia. As well as the lab theory they've also pushed other fake news stories using their apparatus into people's timelines and ad networks on websites. These stories make all sorts of claims to try and destabilise the situation, financially and socially. This false information can be damaging as people try and find crucial news about the pandemic, including vital tips on things like symptoms and where to go for help. It is vital to go to properly researched and authentic outlets for information. The usual cybersecurity tips about making sure a website is real or not apply here, plus a small amount of critical thinking when hearing claims that sound outlandish. We really hope you're all doing well in your period of self-isolation and we hope to bring you more information on our events soon.

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