While the origins of the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus haven’t been absolutely determined, it is widely believed in scientific circles that it originated in Asian bats.
Jason Kindrachuk,is a Canada research chair in emerging viruses at the University of Manitoba,
Quoted in the CBC he said “There is an unbelievably high consensus within the scientific community at this point that there is, there is a very close to zero, if not zero, chance that the virus was ever engineered”.
That, and comments by other respected scientists and researchers, hasn’t stopped or even slowed the spread of ideas that the virus originated in a Chinese biology lab in Wuhan.
- RCI: Mar 2020: Calls to close wet markets as harbours for spreading infections
- RCI: Apr 2020: Environmentalist call on W.H.O. to ban wild animal markets to save lives
The latest effort at promoting a conspiracy has upset a few of the recipients who found a copy of the Epoch Times newspaper in their mail boxes. A mail delivery person was among them saying there is already enough confusion and fear in the world without stirring up more distrust and hatred with such headlines.
The American based paper is associated with the Falun Gong movement, which has been outlawed and persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CPP).
Many Canadians who received an unsolicited free copy, part of a promotional effort by the paper in certain urban areas of Canada, were upset by the special edition which alleged that the virus had been created as a biological weapon and calling it the CCP virus.
Still another theory is that the Wuhan biological research lab didn’t create a bio-weapon, but ather that a virus somehow accidentally escaped.
One thing is certain, the current SARS CoV-2 virus does closely resemble that of a virus found in a species of bat in China. The prevailing scientific belief is that it may have evolved directly from a bat into a human virus, or through a second host like a pangolin, often also sold in the wet markets.
Here in Canada there are concerns the Epoch Times article may fuel anti-Chinese racism, Epoch Times publisher Cindy Gu told the CBC that people shouldn’t confuse the paper’s stance, saying criticism and blame of the CCP is not blaming Chinese people. “Understanding the difference is vital and will eliminate racial tension, as people come to understand that the criticism of the handling of the virus is of the CCP, not the Chinese people”, she said.
A number of deadly viruses and diseases have been linked back to animal hosts and to the consumption of ‘bush meat’ and so-called ‘wet markets’ in Asia and Africa. This is also the case for COVID-19 which has been linked to the Wuhan wet market of live and dead wild and domestic animals kept and sold in cramped and unsanitary conditions.
China for its part has pushed the counter idea that the virus was a U.S bio-weapon and allegations also hint that Russia and Iran are pushing disinformation
Conspiracy theories associated with deadly diseases are not new however. Both HIV and SARS viruses have been promoted as ‘man-made’ viruses. Strange as it may seem another conspiracy is blaming cell towers and 5G as having some connection to the spread of the current virus. In Europe, cell towers have been burned by adherents to that theory.
Additional information -sources
- CBC:Bellemare/Ho/Nicholson: Apr.29/20: ‘Racist and inflammatory’; Canadians upset by Epoch Times claim China is behind coronavirus as a bioweapon
- Reuters (via NASDAQ): D Stanway: Apr.28/20: China lab rejects COVID-19 conspiracy claims, but virus origin still a mystery
- Politico:B W Swan: Apr.21/20: State report: Russian, Chinese and Iranian disinformation narratives echo one another
- CTV: Chan/Dupuy/Lajka: Apr.21/20: Conspiracy theorists burn 5G towers claiming link to virus
- Global News: S.Cooper: Apr 8/20 Coronavirus conspiracies pushed by Russia, amplified by Chinese officials: experts