Passengers are seen wearing masks on the deck of a ferryboat. An increasing number of people are reacting to restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus. [Dimitris Tosidis/ANA-MPA]
How do you know that a conspiracy theory has escaped from the deep corners of the Web and is now more transmittable than Covid-19 itself? When you hear it three times a day from three different people. This is what happened to me the other day with the theory that the virus does not exist and is a large-scale hoax – “Do you know anyone who was infected?” – which I first heard in a biotech lab waiting room, then in a cab and, finally, at my local park.
According to this theory, the media, doctors, governments and citizens were all coordinated to mislead the general public into wearing masks and getting vaccinated. “Excuse me, did you not see the images from Italy?” “Hollywood” was the reply, something which confirms another theory, which says that some people are just unwilling to listen to reason.
All of this would be a joke if the punchline was not the encouragement of not wearing masks and not getting the vaccine, when it is released, thus putting public health at risk and undermining the efforts of the global scientific community to bring an end to the pandemic. When asked, “What is the goal of this global conspiracy?” most refer to control of the masses, social experiments and global interests – the usual stuff.
The theory which seems to be gaining ground of late is that the ultimate goal is to implant microchips in people. On social media there is the belief that the Covid-19 tests involve a swab that reaches “to the brain,” or, as it was written elsewhere, with a wand which is inserted deep into the brain and injures the blood-brain barrier, as a result creating an “entry point” for infections. It is also thought that masks contain a 5G chip which checks the wearers’ speech and if “they don’t like what we say” they spray us with the coronavirus. Obviously, the vaccine is also designed to strategically implant a microchip.
Recently, a post about people’s right to refuse to wear a mask under Article 5 of the Constitution was widely shared on social media. “Learn your rights, they are betting on our ignorance,” it said. Overall, there have been multiple hoaxes concerning the dangers of wearing a mask, including claims that it lowers blood-oxygen content, weakens the immune system, causes headaches and even death.
Luckily, a response to these conspiracies by dentist Elena Milioti also went viral. Milioti spoke about wearing a mask daily for over 25 years. “I have had asthma since I was a student and I have suffered from immunosuppression these past few years due to another health issue. I have never had shortness of breath while wearing a mask. I do not get infections of the respiratory tract. The mask protects me. I do not get hypoxic when I wear a mask (I use an oximeter due to my asthma). The mask does not lower the oxygen saturation in my blood, the mask does not cause shortness of breath, the mask does not impact your immune system […] Do not get carried away by foolish conspiracy theories. The mask can now save you and your family’s life. Wear a mask. Protect your health, and that of those around you.”