Today the whole world is suffering from the coronavirus crisis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already declared it a pandemic. So far, 2,47,488 people have been infected by the deadly virus, of whom over 10,000 have lost their lives
The human-to-human spread of the virus, known as the novel corona, began in Wuhan, China. The Chinese authorities learnt about the virus in December 2019 itself. The technical name of this virus was SARS-Cove-2, which causes a disease named COVID-19. Some people believe that the virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. But the scientists of this institute say that this institute being situated in Wuhan and the spread of the virus there is merely a coincidence.
Last week, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian sent out five consecutive tweets on his official Twitter account, claiming the US military brought coronavirus to Wuhan, without providing any evidence.
Rumour: it’s a biological weapon released by the US
Zhao Lijian isn’t the only one to believe the US is behind the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the recurring claims being spread online is that coronavirus is a biological weapon, engineered in American laboratory.
Coronavirus questions answered
Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC’s Coronacast.
The US Army brought it to Wuhan when they participated in the Military Olympic Games last October — or so the rumour goes.
Similar claims appeared during the SARS epidemic in 2003, and hostile relations between the Chinese public and the United States, born out of the current trade war, have done little to quell its spread.
Many Chinese residents believe their nation’s rise threatens the United States, and to that effect, it is easy to blame the outbreak on the US.
This sense of discontent has filtered through different parts of society.
Even young, well-educated Chinese residents repeated the same story with anger and tried to convince their German colleagues in Beijing of its validity.
Members of the US team enter the stadium during the opening ceremony of the Military World Games in Wuhan.
The rumour claims the US Army brought coronavirus to Wuhan when they participated in the Military Olympic Games last October.
Rumour: the virus was deliberately released to kill pensioners
Another version of this rumour claims that coronavirus, known as “Wuhan-400”, is a man-made microorganism developed in secret by the Chinese government.
No, the coronavirus isn’t a Chinese Government bio-weapon
Tech giants are struggling to control the spread of misinformation about the novel coronavirus — and in some cases, even profiting from it.
Some even went as far to suggest that the government purposely released it in order to cull older Chinese residents, thereby bringing down pension costs.
China has developed a significant social security system, but with the number of retirees increasing exponentially, it is reaching its limits. The Chinese government is now grappling with the problem of an ageing population.