Conspiracy theorists got a treat when a Russian microbiologist popped up to complain about the “crazy things” allegedly being done with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 in a Chinese lab. See! Told you so!
This despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) joining in with a chorus of other experts stating that there’s no evidence for that being the source of the scourge.
With good reason. Pathogens have, in point of fact, been jumping from animal hosts to humans for as long as humans have walked the planet. They were doing it before anyone knew what microbial pathogens were, much less DNA, RNA, and lipid-covered protein coats.
They were doing it before we even discovered that washing our hands might be a good idea.
But who cares about facts? The perverse nature of conspiracy theorists and conspiracy theories means the WHO saying what it said probably did as much to fuel the noxious flames as Professor Petr Chumakov when he made claims about Chinese lab experiments.
This is because, of course, the WHO is either a) turning a blind eye to the real cause like it always does, b) clearly after money, or c) in on it because the organisation is part of a sinister plot to destroy the US and usher in a satanic world government that heralds the biblical end of days. This is why Trump was right to keep the gun shops open. Folks: it’s time to buy yourself that new military-grade assault rifle you’ve been eyeing.
Please. Just as plenty of Americans, and Brits, and some Europeans, and now a Russian scientist are indulging in a variant on the racist yellow peril theory, there are plenty of Chinese people who think that it was dropped on Wuhan by the US. Because, you see, it was in fact cooked up in an American lab. And there are plenty of other people who don’t much like the US and the West lining up against them. And the WHO is ignoring this because … and you know the rest.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if there wasn’t a team in Tory Party HQ working on their own version of the fiction, involving blaming the EU for dropping it on the plucky Brits as part of a dastardly plot to do down Blighty. Brexit’s more important than breathing and this is why. It’s the reason we didn’t join forces with the EU ventilator purchasing scheme. Brussels was going to secrete the virus into the medical kit before it arrived on these shores.
Is there someone prepared to quote me the odds on that reaching a right-wing columnist soon? If there is, I might have me a little bet.
I get it. People are scared and being scared makes them put rationality in the cupboard next to all those cans of baked beans bought during the panic-buying phase.
But there’s a problem with everyone blaming everyone else in an ever expanding spiral of silliness. It takes attention away from where it should be.
The fact is, it really doesn’t matter where the virus came from because it’s with us. It’s here. It’s killing people every day and has been doing its best to royally screw up the bodies of countless others, including myself, for the last few weeks. What really matters now is what we do about it.
The efforts of the British, and the Americans, and some of the world’s other governments have been less than impressive. The same is true, if we’re honest, for the Chinese who should have rung the alarm bells with the WHO earlier.
In too many places around the world complacency has been married to cowardice and denial in the hope that it will go away. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people have been infected who might otherwise have avoided it. And tens of thousands of people have died. Unnecessarily.
That’s what should be making us angry. That’s where we should be focussing our attention. That’s where the people with blood on their hands are to be found.
The conspiracy theorists are giving them a pass when they should be expending their energy on demanding a calling to account. It’s already overdue.
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