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The COVID-19 tally keeps surging yet people are assuming this outbreak is all a hoax. Here's what we know about the coronavirus outbreak.

Why do Americans believe the coronavirus outbreak is a hoax?

On one hand, the COVID-19 tally keeps surging & on the other hand, we’re confronted with coronavirus deniers. These are truly wild times that we’re living in. 

It should come as little to no surprise that in the age of misinformation, people have found a reason to believe that the coronavirus tale is exactly that – a tale. Why does the world’s supposedly most developed nation find it so hard to believe that we’re living through a pandemic? The answer lies in a conspiracy theory that has been doing the rounds on the internet. 

The problem with the spread of misinformation & lies is so bad that even a US Senate member shared fake news pertaining to the virus. The distribution media for the lies & conspiracy theories were the same old social media, namely Twitter & Facebook, in addition to websites that are specifically dedicated to notorious conspiracies.  

With time, conspiracy theories have become convincing – enough to dupe the naive – just not enough to pass through the fake news detector from the likes of The Poynter Institute. Politifact, the fact-checking segment of the Poynter Institute revealed that claims were being circulated that alleged the development of a vaccine corresponding to the spread of the virus.

In no time, anti-vaxxers took offence – their platform of choice for showing their disgust being Facebook – and incriminated that the virus is just a ploy to vaccinate more people. 

Then, there are people who believe that the whole situation is a trap or a hoax & are openly defying preventive measures. Case in point is a man from Texas who died of coronavirus because he thought it was a hoax & attended a COVID-19 party hosted by an infected person.

It’s mind-boggling that there exists the concept of a “COVID-19 party”, but like we pointed out before – these are strange times. These questions are bugging us just as much as they’re bugging fact-checkers, journalists, and researchers. So, the folks at Pew Research Center studied the phenomenon closely. 

Here’s what they found. The majority of Americans have come across this conspiracy theory (can you blame them? The circulation is robust!) that insinuates that the rich & powerful have planted & planned the pandemic. What’s astonishing is that a fourth of the American population sees some grain of truth in this. 

According to a Pew Research Center survey, around 5% deem the theory to be absolutely true, while 20% believe it could be true. To know why they think the way they do, the center dug deeper into their demographics & partisanship. 

A look at what they found & it’s clear that education is important. Those with educational levels lower than or equal to a high school diploma didn’t question the veracity of the theory and/or the claims it makes. These figures drop progressively as education levels shoot up. Clearly, apart from sinking us in debt, our degrees are also useful to us in keeping us alert to falsehoods. 

As for the partisanship, affiliation to political parties has also factored in as a major determinant. The exposure to the conspiracy theories is not determined by political choices, but whether or not you believe in them seems to have a correlation with your political beliefs. 

Conservative Republicans are more likely to believe that the theories are probably or definitely true. As against this, only 18% of Democrats & Democratic leaners opine that this whole outbreak is a ploy by the powerful.

At the time of writing, the total number of coronavirus infected cases stand at 20,151,597 & deaths at 736,150. These numbers are certainly not the result of the shenanigans of a powerful person. Choose your beliefs wisely.

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  • Okay.
    COVID-19 exists and is not a hoax.
    But what is also undeniable is that the media coverage of its effects have been, and continues to be unprecedented.
    Every few minutes we are assailed with the latest non-peer reviewed study, prediction, model or anecdote about how contagious or debilitating the disease has been or might eventually be.
    The same can be said of the over reactions of our policy makers and politicians.
    There have been similar outbreaks every few years and at no point was the possibility of pressing the “pause“ button on the global economy mentioned or even considered as an option.
    So there is plenty of reason to suggest that while the virus is real, the so-called “pandemic“ exists primarily in the minds of those who prey on people’s fear and who seek to create a disaster which they can use to their advantage.
    Is this a conspiracy or just like minded people acting in their own self interests?
    It depends on what you want to believe.
    Oh, and the notion that an exorbitantly-priced degree can make a person immune to gullibility Is refuted as easily as making a list of scientific theories generated by highly educated people which are now known to be quackery.

    August 14, 2020
    • I must disagree on several points.
      1) you claim there are similar outbreaks to this every few years. There are not. Never in my career as an ED doctor have I seen an influx unwell people with the same disease like this. We get an increase of flu, bronchitis and other viral diseases every winter, a consistent and seasonal event, and it is not like this. I realise this is just my own anecdotal evidence but you only need to look at the numbers from whichever reliable source from which ever country you live in and make comparisons with previous years to see an increase in excess deaths. So in view of this, no there are not outbreaks like this very often at all.
      2) the pandemic is real and you should have a healthy amount of fear of COVID. My youngest patient to die from it was 18 and healthy. This is rare, but tragic. Now as you get older your chances of getting very ill/dying increase substantially, if you have elderly relatives (not even elderly really just 50+) or you are older than you should fear it. I don’t mean live your life in panic, but cooperating with social distancing and at least acknowledging this is a pandemic by definition affecting every nation in the world causing hundreds of thousands of deaths would be prudent.
      3) while plenty of very clever scientists have proposed theories which have been disproved this does not equate to being stupid or quackery. Good scientific method and critical thinking works by appraising available evidence the correct manner and forming an opinion based on that. If better evidence comes along which disproves the current theory, then a new theory based on that should be formed. That is good scientific method. People of low intelligence and conspiracy theorists lack the ability to appraise such evidence, which is why people of poorer education are more likely to beleive a conspiracy as they cannot appraise evidence well.

      September 21, 2020
  • How does history factor into your assessment, e.g. MKultra, the CIA, Fort Detrick, Sidney Gottlieb, Bill Patrick III etc?

    August 22, 2020
  • This Covid-19 disease is real. The manufactured news stories are a hoax- “the new normal” it certainly goes hand in hand with this manufactured virus so that big pharma can sell their manufactured vaccines. If not enough people are willing, they will begin their mandatory vaccine laws. Its already happening folks- just open your eyes. #australia #ireland

    August 26, 2020

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