From Emma Grey Ellis' 3-27-20 Wired Magazine article entitled "Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Are a Public Health Hazard":
always circle major world events and disasters like paranoid vultures, but with the Covid-19 pandemic they have been given a feast. Since China first alerted the world to the spreading disease late last year, the coronavirus has inspired countless wild stories about its origins, its effects, its cure. That’s only natural. People always seek explanations for events too frightening to accept as random. So, as anxious snippets of misinformation warped and refracted through social media, Covid-19 became—amongst other dangerous nonsense—a byproduct of bat soup, an escaped bioweapon, and a disease treatable by Lysol, oregano oil, or, worse yet, gargling with bleach.
Coronavirus misinformation has stoked xenophobia, created relentless demand (and considerable profit) for products that are unlikely to help anyone, added considerable confusion to an already uncertain situation, and has only continued to multiply. At best, the latest crop of Covid-19 conspiracy theories are wacky bits of hogwash: Did The Simpsons predict coronavirus, or was it a thriller novel by Dean Koontz, or was it Disney’s Tangled? At worst, the misinformation has cast doubt on measures meant to protect people and has encouraged reckless, destructive behavior.
Strangest—and perhaps most medically concerning—is misinformation that suggests certain groups of people need not worry about the virus at all. For weeks, Brandi Collins-Dexter, campaign director at the civil rights nonprofit Color of Change, had been seeing a bizarre idea circulating on Twitter and among members of her family: black people, the theory goes, were completely immune to Covid-19, or would recover quickly and easily if they did contract it. To be perfectly clear, this is false. “Blue-check users were saying this and getting thousands of retweets,” Collins-Dexter says. “It’s not necessarily with mal intent, it’s rooted in a misunderstanding, but all of these things are violating Twitter’s standards at a basic level.” Twitter has since taken action against accounts spreading the theory, but the black community isn’t the only group wrongly being told not to worry. People have also claimed that Yemenite Jews are naturally immune—again with zero scientific backing.
To read the entire article, click HERE.