The disease of viral conspiracy theories: Coronavirus and the plague

As countless coronavirus rumors circulate online, DW takes a look at some of history's biggest conspiracy theories during pandemics.

Contrary to what you might have heard, the novel coronavirus was not developed in a Chinese or US military lab. Albanians are not genetically immune to the virus. And Bulgarian Prime Minster Bojko Borissov does not have a mystical aura that protects him from contracting COVID-19 — even if a fortune teller has claimed so on national television.


Long history of conspiracy theories

The Black Death
[…]Jews caused the outbreak by poisoning wells

1918 influenza pandemic
[…] some people believed the pathogen had been developed by the German army to use as a weapon.

East Germany’s beetle infestation
[…] East Germany accused the US of having orchestrated the beetle infestation to sabotage its economy[…]

Operation DetrickOnce
[…]KGB spread the rumor that the US had developed AIDS

Again, the US is blamed
[…] conspiracy theorists […] now claimed the Ebola virus was a bio-weapon developed by the US or Great Britain.

Digital age amplifies misinformation
[…]The digital revolution has amplified the dissemination […] shared much quicker  than any medical or health authority can refute them. The digital age has allowed conspiracy theories to go viral.[…]


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