This is the a developing stories as sources and officials learn more about China and their representation of information.
Despite the origins stories dominating social media new research finds that SARS-CoV-2, a new coronavirus that has caused the global pandemic COVID-19, is the result of a natural mutation. It is not a product of laboratory engineering or a weapon created in biological warfare.
In the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there has been 395,011 total cases and 12,754 total deaths as of April 8, 2020 at 9:50pm CST. While there are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses (CDC) this strand of coronavirus has proven to be deadly.
COVID -19 has been declared a global pandemic and much fear and panic has surfaced in many. As officials and experts work to flatten the curve, slow the spread and develop a vaccine and as the death tolls increase in the U.S. so does the origin stories of Coronavirus Disease (COVID 19).
Claims suggesting COVID-19 was engineered in a lab as part of a biological attack or warfare on the United States, reports that COVID 19 came from individuals in Wuhan, China eating bats in a live-animal market and many other origin stories have been gaining traction particularly online and via social media. As a consequence, those who frequent social media for news have either believed the myths or some version of these myths.
In a generation where 86% of millennials depend on social media for their news (American Press Institute) it is crucial to assess the beliefs they have and the conclusion they have arrived at about this global pandemic.
A Howard University senior who has had commencement canceled due to the limit of people gathering recommended by the CDC stated that he read a tweet that said; “corona was a response to the U.S. through 5G promised by China months ago”. When asked about the origin of COVID 19, a freshman at Morgan State University, said he read that the virus was made in a laboratory by the U.S. as a means to population control and not in Wuhan, China. He used as a reference an article widely circulated on twitter from the ‘Center for Global Research’. However these claims aren’t verified or consistent with scientific study.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) officials in February began rushing in order to figure out how widespread the new coronavirus outbreak in China was after Chinese authorities reported a slew of new cases and deaths overnight. While many consider figures from the Chinese Communist Party to be unreliable there still was a jump in the number of cases and deaths causing officials to monitor the situation more closely. Since the start of this global pandemic, researchers have been trying to find the true origins of this particular strand of coronavirus.
Dr. Karen J Lui, MD of Rush Hospital in Chicago, IL a doctor who is directly screening potential COVID-19 patients and who has monitored the situation closely to better inform her patients said that all evidence from which she has reviewed shows that SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, is a result of the natural process of viral evolution (or mutation) rather than being the product of a laboratory.
With this being said a study done on the “backbone” or structure of the virus suggests a scenario that substantiates Dr. Lui’s conclusions. According to the study published in Medical News Today, it is concluded that the virus evolved to become pathogenic (or disease causing) in an animal and then transferred to humans. Going deeper it is asserted that another intermediate animal host transmitted the virus from bats to humans, in other words, the virus did not (many believe) transfer directly from bats to humans. This is where the consensus among researchers studying the origins of COVID-19 arrive at their basic conclusion of the coronavirus coming from a “wet market,” or live animal market, in Wuhan, China. This study outright disapproves the theory of “purposeful creation” suggesting that if COVID 19 was created in a laboratory, there would be a starting point (or backbone) genetically in SARS-CoV-2, which isn’t present.
An analysis of the evidence and the findings presented in this study first published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine and reemphasized in Medical News Today, shows that the novel coronavirus “…cannot be laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus,” that was created to induce biological warfare or a virus indirectly caused by 5G. Researchers, therefore, have concluded “we do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible” (Nature of Medicine).
THE BIG IDEA
There are two primary claims:
- COVID-19 was a response to the U.S. through 5G threatened by China months ago.
- COVID-19 was made in a laboratory.
CLAIM RATING: False
Both claims are false this article publish by the ‘Center for Global Research’ which was reported to be circulating widely on social media by USA today claims COVID-19 did not originate in China but in the U.S. with readers surmising that such was done to “control the population” or biological attack through 5G. These claims are untrue because it isn’t supported by research. The consensus among experts researching COVID-19 places the beginning of its spread at the live market in Wuhan, China (where an unknown intermediary may be the spreader between bats and humans).
As this pandemic continues what will protect us all is knowledge. Researching as much as possible and vetting sources will lessen ignorance and in the long run contribute to flattening the curve and ultimately saving lives.