COVID-related myths often speak of its artificial origin

COVID-related myths

The most frequent myths about the novel coronavirus as appearing in Czech media say it was created artificially for the purpose of a world conspiracy, according to the Newton company’s analysis. The disinformation often mention U.S. billionaires Bill Gates, George Soros and 5G networks as the virus‘ initiators, says Newton, which analysed social as well as mainstream media from December 2019 until recently.

The conspiracy theory that appears most frequently in mainstream media links the COVID-19 epidemic to the installation of the wireless transmission devices within the 5G network.
The second most frequent conspiracy theory is the one speaking of Bill Gates as the pandemic’s initiator, the analysis showed.

„Paradoxically, President Milos Zeman has largely contributed to the medialization of this theory in media by mentioning it in his October televised speech as a deterring example of what things people are ready to trust,“ says Newton’s analyst Ivan Vodochodský. Somewhat lower is the publicity of the theories about the virus‘ origin in Chinese laboratories or as a U.S. biological weapon, and about its uncontrolled spread due to migration.

On social networks, the most widespread theory is that focusing on Bill Gates, followed by that about George Soros and the 5G networks, the analysis showed. „We can see a connection with other well-known conspiracy theories such as the speculation about Bill Gates and his alleged effort to regulate the world population through vaccination. Similarly, George Soros has been accused, also in the Czech Republic, of interfering with social and political developments,“ said Newton’s analyst Tomáš Kůst.

Among various instructions for how to heal or avoid coronavirus infection, the dominating conspiracy theory was the one recommending the consumption of disinfectants, with chlorine and the Savo detergent being mentioned in Czechia. This theory was boosted by former U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement on the possibility of intravenous application of a disinfectant.

On social networks in Czechia, one of the most popular false guidelines recommends a high consumption of garlic, followed by an instruction promoting the use of alcohol for both external and internal application.
„A positive piece of news is that articles that try to uncover and refute conspiracy theories prevail in Czech media,“ the analysis authors said. They said disinformation is typical of a specific type of media, most often conspiracy webs, while other media practically do not spread such myths at all.

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