Conspiracies Theories about Covid-19
After all, it’s politics, stupid!
Saadia Saif Niazi
The mystery as to who started or invented coronavirus that caused the Covid-19 pandemic has sown the seeds of suspicion in every person’s mind. It is because what is happening in the world and what we are witnessing today is no longer a problem being dealt with by one single country or state; it has become a global phenomenon, affecting all countries and territories, and it would leave a permanent mark on all of humanity as it has already afflicted around 2 million people around the world and killed over 130,000 people, as these lines are being written.
Three big powers, i.e. USA, China and Russia, with their own narratives have given rise to different conspiracy theories. According to the United States, the coronavirus is the Chinese virus as it originated in Wuhan (the capital of central China’s Hubei province), even the US President Donald Trump has narrated it, at several occasions, as “China Virus”. China’s counter narrative is that the US has planted this virus in Wuhan through its contingent that participated in the 2019 Military World Games which were held from October 18 to 27, 2019 in Wuhan—the epicenter of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. [an American journalist, George Webb, claimed that an American military athlete, Maatje Benassi, a cyclist who was in Wuhan at the time for the cycling competition at the World Military Games, could have been COVID -19 patient zero in Wuhan.]
Moscow while taking backseat, allowed its media to amplify the theories, even conspiracy theories, which would help them in future to achieve their strategic objectives.
On the other side, the United Nations is taking a neutral position by calling it “A common enemy,”—‘changing status of virus from epidemic to pandemic, sees it as enemy for the world and humanity’. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also published several safety/ precautionary measures to curb this pandemic because it is transferable from human to human, through touch or contact with an infected person when (s)he coughs or sneezes. The Covid-19 also spreads when a person touches a surface or an object that has the virus on it, and then touches his/her eyes, nose or mouth. This disease causes respiratory tract infections that can range from mild to lethal.
Nowadays, conspiracy theories are resilient and making their strong narratives. Some people do believe that coronavirus could be a biological weapon, as claimed by the Chinese officials ‘that it has been developed by the United States and they sent their military men to Wuhan to spread this’. Similarly, the US holds the view that China has made this in their laboratories. Off and on, rumour-mongering and blame game is on between Beijing and Washington.
Some other theorists like David Icke rationalize the Covid-19 with its “Hunger Game Society”. Very recently, he was interviewed by “London Real – Transform Yourself” where he articulated: “Coronavirus is not a natural tragedy; in fact, it is a preplanned strategy. This world is controlled by some cult which operates beyond borders. This cult is operating in all the developed countries which direct the world. This cult wants to create as overlain state ruled by few people (which is only 1 percent of the total population) and all this will lead towards economic recession.” Elaborating the economic recession, Mr Icke forwarded the viewpoint that the coronavirus hysteria created by the situation by the powerful states that is destroying the family, and small business. And definitely if it is so, no place will be there for small and medium businesses. He also emphasized that this Hunger Game Society has already been intimated by him several years ago.
5G stands for the fifth generation of Internet communications technologies. Social media activists are blaming 5G for causing the pandemic. According to this school of thought, the pandemic doesn’t really exist; instead, it is the radiation from 5G that is actually causing Covid-19 symptoms. It weakens your immune system to the point that you are more easily infected by the coronavirus.
Flow of information is at its peak. Covid-19 could be the best case study to learn how the modern information environment works. There are more people who can control the information through their social media handles such as Instagram Twitter, WeChat, etc. At this stage however, it is difficult for people to distinguish between the myths and realities.
The real world is where education, loyalty and knowledge matter. We have been witnessing China, struggling hard with the implementation of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for the last six years, and the United States and other powers remained unable to bring a single alternative ‘similar’ plan for the world. The BRI is a ‘systematic approach’ launched in 2012 by President Xi Jinping. This economic construction and connectivity plan consists of six economic corridors, covering half the landmass and half the world population with its over $8 trillion investment plan. It is also called ‘Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation’.
China remains in an important period of strategic opportunity for many states and some of the international organizations for achieving significant development, while it also faces, at the same time, grave challenges posed by multiple problems and issues with considerable risks. Currently, the blame game from the West that China has started this Covid-19 as a biological weapon for economic gains, jargons are floated such as; it is the arm twisting of the US for trade deal; soon American economy will collapse as planned by China; China knows it cannot defeat America militarily as US is, at present, the most powerful country in the world, and so on. I totally disagree with the above proclamations on the following grounds;
Firstly, since long China has held a sizeable share of every western company working in China. And transfer of technology is also binding on foreign companies that want to invest in China.
Secondly, China already holds largest share of US treasury, and it happened long before Covid-19. But a clarification is required here: many people still believe that China has surpassed the US to become world’s largest economy; it is not so in reality. As articulated by Joseph S. Nye Jr. in his recent piece titled as ‘Power and Interdependence with China’, “China has not yet replaced the United States as the world’s largest economy. Measured in purchasing power parity, the Chinese economy became larger than the American economy in 2014, but purchasing power parity is an economist’s device for comparing estimates of welfare, not for measuring power … Many economists do expect China to surpass the United States someday as the world’s largest economy but the estimated date varies from 2030 to mid-century, depending on what one assumes about the rates of Chinese and American growth.”
Thirdly, a lot of American people through their social media accounts are claiming that they were the victims of some sort of virus (symptoms) in September and October 2019. Coronavirus issue broke out first in America that already held different simulations last year. Currently, China is demanding details of it from the United States.
Moreover, some countries such as Russia and North Korea are less affected because of successful containment of coronavirus. This is just because the role of state is strong in these countries, which Western and other countries lack. Their health systems have been privatized, and a fragile healthcare system is more vulnerable to Covid-19. Needless to point out that Russia will be more than happy to blame Beijing and Washington to do its best to gain some hold of international politics, once again, by creating conspiracy theories. Both China and USA are blaming one another but no one is thinking that it can be Russia that planted this virus to make two most powerful countries fight one another.That is also possible. After all, it’s politics, stupid!
The author is a lecturer at National University of Modern Languages (NUML), Islamabad. She can be reached at: email@example.com