Not that we were short on conspiracies before the start of the pandemic but now the bored minds of lockdown are working overtime. You might not care one bit about whether 5G could cause a pandemic or summon aliens but it’s always good to make light of stressful times such as these.
5G technology spreads coronavirus
This is the most prevalent and believed theory floating around in recent news. It’s almost as if it’s been drawn straight from a dystopian novel, blaming the pandemic on technology gone wrong.
One version of this conspiracy is that coronavirus symptoms have been created out of the radiation from 5G, transmitted through 5G radiation. This would completely invalidate the purpose of social distancing. ‘It’s all a hoax and the government are trying to keep us in lockdown for absolutely no reason. The real distancing needs to be from the communication masts all over the country. Otherwise, they must be destroyed.’
Needless to say, scientists have come out saying there is absolutely no proof to support this.
Others believe that coronavirus is being spread by the increased vulnerability that 5G technology brings to our immune systems. Is this slightly more logical than the first version? I was trying to gauge which one is more believable but they’re both equally absurd.
False claims that 5G spreads or causes coronavirus has prompted many people around the UK to set communication masts on fire. At the beginning of May, there were reports that 77 phone masts were attacked in the UK due to coronavirus. This number is increasing as the panic continues. I have to say, I admire their dedication to ridding the world of COVID-19. But maybe next time try to help the pandemic by volunteering, donating or just stay at home out of trouble.
The questionable timing of the Disney+ release
Admittedly, this probably made me laugh the most even though it’s definitely not the most creative.
Most of us have noticed the way the pandemic has coincided with the launch of Disney+ and many been grateful for it. Yes, Disney definitely has benefited because of this but suggesting it had anything to do with the start of the pandemic might be too extreme of a marketing strategy.
I’m sure you can probably guess where this one is going. If there has been one positive effect of coronavirus, it would have to be the fact that the planet has been somewhat better off since we’ve been in lockdown.
China’s carbon emissions were down an estimated 18% between early February and mid-March and many other countries around the world are also seeing decreased emissions. (Good to see but this isn’t nearly enough to reverse the serious damage humans have been doing to the earth since the industrial revolution.)
The environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, has claimed that climate change is ‘as urgent’ as coronavirus – which is likely to have angered deniers of global warming. The truth is that, to many, the deaths from coronavirus are much more tangible, even though an estimated 150,000 each year die in relation to global warming, which may well double by 2030.
For some, the positive environmental impact and Greta’s outspokenness is sufficient evidence to prove that she must be the cause of the pandemic. She’s young, healthy, it’s ‘extremely likely’ she has already recovered from mild COVID-19 symptoms which I suppose increases suspicion.
My sci-fi loving brain searched the internet for an explanation of how Greta managed to concoct coronavirus. Alas, the conspiracy theorists haven’t reached that level of creativity yet.
Black Lives Matter protests
This, unfortunately, is a frustrating and divisive conspiracy emerging from the combined chaos of the moment.
On social media, some are sparking the idea that the protests over the killing of George Floyd were intended to start a race war to impose further lockdown restrictions. Or that the pandemic and protests were both created by the elites to control society. This devalues the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement, turning it into a joke on social media. Some even went as far as to say that black people are immune to coronavirus.
Honestly, I am not even surprised by some of these comments. And of course, many of the people spreading this ignorance likely don’t believe it – they just want to propagate prejudice. The idea that black people are immune to coronavirus is funny to them and supports a racist agenda. This perpetuates the stereotype that black people are stronger or more resistant which, in society, has sadly contributed to widespread medical discrimination, such as the disproportionate rates of black women dying during childbirth. And thus, this is arguably the most problematic conspiracy being circulated right now.
Conspiracy theories tell a lot about the kind of people in our society, their values and views on current situations which is why they are so interesting. Perhaps, in future, history will be more informed by the paranoid imaginings of our lockdown brains and our descendants will unpick 2020 through conspiracies and memes.