Put up or shut up with COVID-19 conspiracy theories!

Letters to the Editor

Put up or shut up with COVID-19 conspiracy theories!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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Dear Editor,

As countries of the world continue to grapple with spikes in the number of novel coronavirus infections and deaths, the response of some citizens is telling.

It is interesting to note that many citizens view their governments with suspicion and are more inclined to accept some outlandish conspiracy theory on social media about the origins and effects of the virus than governments' advice or directives to wear masks in public, practise proper hand hygiene, and observe physical distancing protocols.

This tendency to view governments with suspicion is contributing to the increased number of infections and adversely affecting attempts to continue with life as we knew it before COVID-19, while simultaneously minimising the spread of the virus.

I am not big on conspiracy theories, so I am at a loss as to why some citizens and rights activists are so against something as simple as wearing a mask in public to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting the virus. To my mind, it is better to err on the side of caution.

I am not aware of anyone dying from the wearing of a mask, but to date there have been over one million COVID-19-related deaths and near 40 million infections worldwide.

Common sense suggests the rational thing to do is to comply with governments' public health directives, but confronted with rising deaths and infections some people continue to cling to unproven conspiracy theories while sowing seeds of confusion in the minds of the public.

It's remarkable that so many citizens around the world have so little trust in their governments. I am one individual who strongly believes the onus is on the conspiracy theorists to prove that the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), and governments all over the world are deliberately misleading the world about the existence of the novel coronavirus. Groups and individuals should not be allowed to make unsubstantiated claims, especially when such claims have the potential to derail efforts to save lives and prevent infections.

I say to those peddling various conspiracy theories about COVID-19, put up or shut up! Stop spreading confusion on social media and present your evidence, if you have any, to prove that COVID-19 is non-existent, was created in a laboratory to reduce the world's population, or any of the other theories making the rounds in cyberspace. That is the least one would expect from conspiracy theorists eager to expose deceitful governments and United Nations institutions.

Wayne Plummer


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