The origins of COVID-19 remain unclear: Lab leak or spread from animals?

The origin of COVID-19 stay high. Three years after the start of the pandemic, it is still unclear whether the coronavirus that caused the disease leaked from a lab or spread to humans from an animal.

A lot to know: When it comes to COVID-19 misinformation, any new report about the origin of the virus quickly triggers a resurgence of misleading claims about the virus, vaccines and vaccines. mask that has been recurring ever since. the pandemic began.

It happened again this week after the Department of Energy confirmed that a classified report determined, with little confidence, that the virus escaped from a lab. Within hours, online discussion of conspiracy theories involving COVID-19 began to rise, with many commentators saying that the classified report was proof that they were right after all.

Far from definitive, the Energy Department report is the latest in several attempts by scientists and officials to identify the origin of the virus, which has now killed nearly 7 million people after first was detected in the central city of Wuhan in China in late 2019.

The report was not made public, and Washington officials stressed that the various US agencies did not agree on the source.

Many scientists believe the most likely explanation is that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 jumped from animals to humans, possibly at the Huanan market in Wuhan, a scenario is supported through many studies and reports. The World Health Organization said that while animal origin remains probablethe possibility of a lab leak needs to be investigated further before it can be ruled out.

People should be open-minded about the evidence used in the Energy Department’s investigation, according to virologist Angela Rasmussen. But he said that without evaluating the evidence contained in the classified report, there is no reason to challenge the conclusion that the virus spread naturally.

“We can and do know what the scientific evidence shows,” Rasmussen tweeted Tuesday. “Available evidence still indicates zoonotic outbreaks in the Huanan market.”

Many of those who cite the report as proof, however, don’t seem interested in the evidence. They took the report and said it suggests the experts are wrong when it comes to masks and vaccines, too.

“School closings are a failed and disastrous policy. Masks are ineffective. And harmful,” said a tweet that has been read nearly 300,000 times since Sunday. “Covid is from a lab. All that said to our doubters it is true.”

General discussion of COVID-19 began to increase after The Wall Street Journal published a story about the Department of Energy report on Sunday. Since then, references to various conspiracy theories related to COVID have increased, according to an analysis conducted by Zignal Labs, a media intelligence company based in San Francisco, and shared with The Associated Press.

While the lab leak theory has been bouncing around the internet since the pandemic began, mentions of it increased by 100,000% in the 48 hours after the Energy Department report was revealed, according to analysis by Zignal, which dives into social media , blogs and other sites.

Many of the conspiracy theories contradict each other and the findings of the Department of Energy report. In a tweet on Tuesday, US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, called COVID-19 a “man made bioweapon from China.” A follower quickly challenged him: “It’s made in Ukraine,” he replied.

With so many questions remaining about a global phenomenon that has claimed so many lives and so many more, it’s no wonder that COVID-19 is still capable of generating so much anger and misinformation, according to Bret Schafer, is a senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a Washington-based organization that tracks government propaganda about COVID-19.

“The pandemic has been so disruptive to everything. The intensity of feelings about COVID, I don’t think that’s going to go away,” Schafer said. “And any time something new comes in, it gives new life.” of these grievances and frustrations, real or imagined.”

Chinese government officials have used their social media accounts in the past fueling anti-US conspiracy theoriesincluding some suggesting the US manufactured the COVID-19 virus and framed its release in China.

For now, they are taking a quieter approach to the Energy Department report. In their official response, the Chinese government the agency’s assessment was dismissed as an effort to politicize the pandemic. Online, Beijing’s sprawling network of propaganda and disinformation has been largely silent, with only a handful of posts criticizing or mocking the report.

“REDACTED,” a pro-China YouTuber written by Twitter. “I can now announce, with ‘low confidence,’ that the COVID pandemic began as a drop from Hunter Biden’s laptop.”

Learn how to navigate and build trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter that examines what leaders need to succeed. Sign up here.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *