It's one of the laws of humanity that any major event must have its own conspiracy theories, and the coronavirus is no exception.
It's been made worse in recent years by how quickly misinformation can spread on social media. The moment you've caught one piece of misinformation, 10 new ones pop up elsewhere. People will do anything for a retweet or a view on their alarmist YouTube channel.
The misinformation has varied this time around. There are some relatively harmless (but quite pointless) claims that large-scale epidemics have been occurring in the 20th year of each century since the 1620s.
For this to make sense, you have to skip a lot of epidemics and pretend that the Spanish flu epidemic isn't also occasionally known as "the 1918 influenza pandemic" because it occurred in 1918. The cholera pandemic of 1820 began in 1817 and ended in 1824.
So far, so meh. Yes, it might cause a few more people to panic or believe numbers are somehow magic, but it's nothing to take too seriously.
"It's over for humanity," he told the show, talking about a virus that has killed fewer than 100 people in total. “There will only be lone survivors. The strategy must now shift. You can be a survivor. We can help you survive, the information here at InfoWars and what I do.”
Needless to say, it is not time to focus on being a lone survivor of the apocalypse. At the moment, if you live outside of the affected areas there's not much to worry about. In the US, the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to wash your hands and avoid contact with the five people who have the virus. Out of 327 million people in the US.
Another common conspiracy theory, peddled in innuendo form by basement Paul below, is that China released the virus from a lab.
Though he won't be explicit in claiming it's come from this lab, his followers and people responding to the tweet all seem convinced, writing comments along the lines of "accidentally or on purpose?" like it's confirmed fact that it escaped from there.
It didn't. The most we know at the moment is that the virus likely came from bats with snakes potentially acting as a reservoir.
Then there are real galaxy brainers who are saying that there was a patent filed for the coronavirus in 2015 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The genius has missed (or is pretending to miss in order to gain retweets) that coronoviruses are a family of viruses (of which SARS is a notable example) and that the patent was for a potential vaccine that could be used to treat respiratory diseases. In birds.
Fortunately, there are people out there who are keeping an eye on this nonsense and are attempting to stop its spread.
In the mix are some downright dangerous lies, including that vitamin C can cure the coronavirus (it does not, if it did then that would be on mainstream news, not on the Facebook page of anti-vaxxer Larry Cook) and that China are shooting people to prevent them from escaping the quarantine zone.
There are also claims that people are being infected in the US in larger numbers than they are.
You can track the actual spread around the world with this tracker if you must, or, you know, by using verified news organizations rather than Twitter accounts that have the word "parody" in their bio.
The whole thread is worth checking out – there's almost certainly something in there that you've seen that just plainly isn't true, including information spread deliberately by anti-vax organizations.