WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Poll reveals around 30% of Americans believe that the coronavirus originated from a lab.
- The rumor, unsupported by evidence, was started by unverified social media accounts.
- The swirl of misinformation and conspiracy theories prompted WHO to call it an “infodemic”.
A poll from the Pew Research Center has results that show about 3 of 10 Americans believe an unsubstantiated claim that the coronavirus was made in a lab.
The survey was conducted from March 10-16. It was found that 29% of Americans say the virus was likely created in a lab. Out of that 29%, 23% say that the lab creation of the current strain of coronavirus was intentional while 6% believe it was likely accidental. The poll said 43% of Americans say the virus occurred naturally while a quarter of the survey’s participants answered that they aren’t sure about the virus’ origins.
Though the exact source of the virus is still unknown, the likely source according to research is that the virus originated from bats and intermediate hosts transferred the virus onto people, like the SARS epidemic of 2003.
Last month, Nature Medicine published a study comparing the new coronavirus with other viruses known to infect humans. The conclusion was that “analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”
Unverified social media accounts started the rumor of coronavirus being made in a lab. CNN says that this hasn’t been supported by any credible evidence.
Along with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, misinformation and many conspiracy theories have also appeared, others going viral. This prompted the World Health Organization to call it an “infodemic”.
Google said it would provide $6.5 million for fact-checkers and other organizations to expose misinformation. Facebook is doing the same, donating $100 million. Twitter said last month that it would remove any posts that promoted fake coronavirus treatments, falsely claimed government authority representation, and denied recommendations from experts.
Source: The Hill