Battling COVID-19 conspiracies

Kaleia Lawrence, Opinion Editor

The U.S. economy was doing well, and that’s why the Chinese government released the coronavirus. They were spraying it via aerosol cans to unknowing persons in airports. The government killed the people spraying it to clean up all the loose ends.

This sounds like a great sci-fi horror film, but not like real life. Conspiracy theories like these are being shared and believed at alarming rates.

Why are they believed over science and empirical studies?

It’s no surprise that social media plays a critical role in normalizing conspiracy theories. In April, Facebook made a change. It showed a link to factual COVID-19 news to users that had engaged with false information earlier. This might help some people, but the damage has already been done.

Instead of listening to memes on Facebook or Reddit threads, we should listen to health experts. Organizations like the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization provide the most accurate and up to date information.

Voices of virologists and epidemiologists should be amplified. Health experts should be taking precedence over any other voices during a pandemic. If we want to stay safe, we can’t ignore what they have to say.

Sure, it might be interesting or funny to learn about the conspiracy theories, but it won’t save any lives. Listening to the experts is what is going to save people.

People are in needless danger every day. Wisconsin has seen 50,000 cases so far with rising numbers every day.

How many of these cases could have been prevented if guidelines were followed? If people wore their masks since the first case back in January? If health experts were listened to instead of bashed by political leaders?

It’s time to place science over stories. Spreading conspiracy theories is hurting people.

Do what you can to make sure that the truth about the virus is prioritized. Get into an argument on Facebook with your aunt who shared yet another COVID-19 meme, maybe she’ll learn something new. Share sources that are filled with scientific evidence.

Make sure you’re amplifying the voices of experts, not the opinions of others.