FILE #: 334427685
There are many conspiracy theories behind the origin of COVID-19. You might believe COVID-19 was made in a lab or it was a way for the Chinese government to solve overpopulation. I want you to think about where you heard these theories. Was it Facebook, an Instagram post, from a family member? If you answered yes to any of these questions, did they provide any factual evidence behind this theory? If not I would like to provide you with some.
COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can infect people and many animals. There are many types of coronaviruses. You may have heard of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which are extremely more dangerous but less widespread than COVID-19. The SARS outbreak was in early 2003 and the MERS outbreak was in 2012. The difference between these viruses is the mortality rate. The mortality rate is the number of deaths from a virus divided by the population of the world, of which COVID-19 is 3.4%, SARS is 9.6%, and MERS is 35%.
Now that you know more about coronavirus you still might be asking what’s the origin of COVID-19. Scientists have come to two conclusions. One is COVID-19 originates from bats and spread to humans, or it spread from an animal genetically similar to a bat. This is the same conclusion scientists have come up with to the origin of MERS and SARS. The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in late 2019. China has lots of wet markets where people can buy fresh meat and fish. These places are often unsanitary and aren’t regulated properly so viruses spread easily. A wet market in Wuhan is where scientists believe the virus spread and infected humans.
One explanation for the theory of COVID-19 being made in a lab is the location of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. This lab works closely with many viruses and is located where many of the first infections were reported. But is closely located to the Hunanan Seafood Market, a wet market in Wuhan. This could be a coincidence or a lack of evidence and information. Without evidence of work to a closely related virus to COVID-19, the lab making COVID-19 is just a conspiracy theory.
When new information is presented people will always have their own assumptions about it. The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic was a time where scientific evidence was limited. Covid-19 was thought to be airborne at first, and that it could only be contracted by contacting surfaces. Later in the pandemic, Covid-19 restrictions were implemented and we were required to keep at a distance of 6 feet. People were scared of what they didn’t know about the virus so conspiracy theories and false information easily spread. A viral post on social media claimed that Black people were immune to Covid-19. We now know that this is not the case and no one is immune to Covid-19. So, don’t automatically believe what you see on social media. Do your research because the more you spread false rumors the harder it is to find the truth.
Zariyah Lemon – St. Laurence High School – DMSF
Photo by James Thew on Adobe Stock