Covid 19 – who’s to blame?
A look at
some of the wilder ideas now circulating


According to Isis, the reason that the Covid virus is so widespread in Europe is because of our immorality.  God has inflicted the virus upon us in order to punish our wicked behaviour.  In fact so much is this the case, that the leaders of Isis have told their followers to keep out of Europe and let off their bombs elsewhere.  Which, if true, is something of a relief for us, if not the other parts of the world affected.  Of course, since that statement was announced, a few weeks ago now, the virus has become prevalent in Iran and various other good Muslim countries, so I’m not sure what’s happening there. Maybe the Christian god has decided to engage in reprisals against Allah and his followers. It must be really confusing in Israel for the various gods, bearing in mind the mixture of Muslims, Jews and Christians.

Others are not pointing to religion as being at the root of all this.  Many are claiming that China has a covert bioweapon establishment in Wuhan where the virus was being developed in order to wipe out Western capitalist civilisation. Something apparently went wrong and the virus was accidentally released amongst their own people, a mistake they at first tried to cover up and then claimed was a natural occurrence having its origin in a market which sold the meat of wild animals. Obviously a front for their high tech laboratory. The right wing media in the form of the Washington Times said on January 24 that it did indeed originate from China’s "covert biological weapons programme", a theory later backed by Republican Senator, Tom Cotton. Rush Limbaugh, the infamous conservative radio host, said the "coronavirus was being weaponised as yet another element to bring down" Trump.

Others know better and point to the image on YouTube of a Chinese woman eating bat soup.  This was shared widely on social media and eventually picked up by mainstream media sites including Russian state-owned network, RT, and British tabloid the Daily Mail. It later emerged that the clip was of a well-known Chinese vlogger eating the soup in Indonesia in 2016. While scientists believe bats are a carrier for the new virus, they suspect it may have jumped to humans via another animal host. The bat soup claim is just one of the many reports linking what Chinese people eat to the new outbreak, and one among many peddling racially charged claims. Some of the stereotypes that have emerged are that Chinese people are 'dirty' and that they eat weird things. Which of course is why Chinese restaurants are so popular in the UK.  Obviously we all like to eat weird things produced in filthy conditions.

Things don’t stop there, however.  In the name of equality, we have counter rumours. Some of which are not just circulating on social media, but have made their way into more mainstream outlets, including in Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US.  On February 2, in the early days of the outbreak, a columnist for popular Saudi newspaper ‘al-Watan’ suggested that the new coronavirus was part of an effort by Western pharmaceutical companies to profit by selling vaccines for it. Another columnist, for the Syrian official newspaper ‘al-Thawra’, wrote on February 3 that the virus was part of an economic and psychological war on China waged by the US. Similar claims were also aired on Russia's state-run Channel One. And on February 5, a news anchor suggested US President Donald Trump was to blame, linking the word ‘corona’, which means crown in Russian, to beauty pageants Trump used to preside over.  Do these people even try to sound convincing? But then there’s the conspiracy theory linking the deep state with a plot to wipe out a large proportion of the population in order to reduce demand on its resources. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is included in this version of the deep state.  I imagine the Greta Thunberg is really the brains behind all of this though. As Poirot would point out, she has the motivation!

But what to do about it when you’ve got the virus?  Well fortunately, there is a plethora of cures.  It seems that cocaine can actually prevent you from getting it in the first place, because it sterilises your nose.  Then there’s the ‘fact’ that the human genome in Africa is very different to others which accounts for their resistance to it – at first. Obviously their genome must have changed since. In Brazil, a video was widely shared claiming that vinegar was more effective than hand sanitiser against the coronavirus, even though it’s not. Chloroform and an ether based drug called lolò were also said to cure the disease. Other cures in messages spreading on the net in Brazil were avocado and mint tea, hot whiskey and honey, essential oils, vitamins C and D, fennel tea (supposedly similar to the medicine Tamiflu, according to a false e-mail attributed to a hospital director) and cocaine. On 27 February 2020, the Estonian Minister of the Interior Mart Helme stated at a government press conference that the common cold had been renamed as the coronavirus and that in his youth nothing like that existed. He recommended wearing warm socks and mustard patches as well as spreading goose fat on one's chest as treatments for the virus.  Some conspiracy theorists in America have promoted gargling with Miracle Mineral Supplement" (actually an industrial bleach) as a way of preventing or curing the disease.  Presumably they've learnt lessons from the chicken producers there.

But back to religion, or at least its American version. In February 2020, televangelist Jim Bakker promoted a colloidal silver solution sold on his website, as a remedy for COVID-19. A naturopath who was a guest on his show, falsely claimed “it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it's been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate them within 12 hours." He was sued by the state of Missouri over the sales. Another televangelist, Kenneth Copeland claimed on Victory channel during a programme called "Standing Against Coronavirus", that he can cure his viewers of COVID-19 directly from the TV studio. The viewers have to touch the television to receive the spiritual healing. The New York Attorney General's office also issued a cease-and-desist order to radio host Alex Jones of web-cast ‘Infowars’, who was selling silver-infused toothpaste that he falsely claimed can kill the virus and had been verified by federal officials. This was the person who denied that the Sandy Hook killings had actually happened, saying that they were just an anti-gun conspiracy by the Obama government.

And finally, in March 2020, the ‘New Times’ of Miami reported that managers at Norwegian Cruise Line had prepared a set of responses intended to convince wary customers to book cruises, including "blatantly false" claims that the coronavirus "can only survive in cold temperatures, so the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for your next cruise", that "scientists and medical professionals have confirmed that the warm weather of the spring will be the end of the coronavirus", and that the virus "cannot live in the amazingly warm and tropical temperatures that your cruise will be sailing to.
Which cynic was it who said “follow the money”?

Paul Buckingham

19 March 2020

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