Conspiracy theories seem to be endemic, at least in the US. There seems to be a sizeable size of the US population willing to believe in all manner of theories about any major event that have little or no factual basis and this period of the coronavirus pandemic is no exception.
The last thing America needed on top of a president still in denial over the state current pandemic is the rest of the population believing conspiracies about it, but here we are.
While scientists agree that the virus emerged from nature, the uncertainty over how people were first infected by Covid-19 has left space for misinformation to grow. In Britain, that has meant the propagation of a random conspiracy theory about a link between coronavirus and 5G wireless technology – which almost a third of people say they can’t rule out.
In the US, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center, about a third of Americans surveyed believe that Covid-19 was created by humans in a laboratory.
Those most likely to believe in the conspiracy were Republicans or Republican-leaning independents (37% v 21% of Democrat or Democratic-leaning voters). About four in 10 conservative Republicans who replied believed in the conspiracy theory (39%), the largest share of any ideological group.
The research showed that the conspiracy was more prevalent among younger people than adults: about a third of adults aged 18 to 29 said the virus was developed in a lab (35%), compared with 21% of adults 65 and older. A fifth (19%) of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher believed that the coronavirus was created in a lab.
That Republicans are more likely to believe in this theory does not surprise me since it shifts blame away from their hero, our idiot president. But that younger people are more likely to believe in such theories than older people surprised me a little. Could that be because they spend more time in the social media world where these theories circulate widely? When one hears the same thing from seemingly many different sources, one may mistakenly think that there may be some truth to it, even though the theory may have originated from one or a few hoaxers.