coronavirus conspiracies
April 7, 2020

YouTube is banning conspiracy videos that spread misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesperson for the platform told BBC.

The ban was prompted after a two-hour live stream riddled with false accusations appeared on YouTube, and was deleted only after it had concluded. Previously, the platform stated it would limit such videos in the "Up Next" section, BBC reports.

The since-deleted live-streamed interview with conspiracy theorist David Icke appeared on the platform Monday. Icke falsely promoted a growing conspiracy linking coronavirus and 5G networks, and falsely stated that coronavirus vaccines will include chips to control humans, per BBC.

The live video was watched by 65,000 people, BBC reports, with several viewers commenting in support of attacks on 5G towers. The conspiracy has been promoted by celebrities, and some towers in the U.K. were actually set on fire.

"Now any content that disputes the existence or transmission of COVID-19, as described by the [World Health Organization] and local health authorities is in violation of YouTube policies," the spokesperson told BBC.

Read more at BBC. Taylor Watson

March 4, 2020

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization announced that the mortality rate for the new COVID-19 coronavirus is higher than the original 2.3 percent estimate.

"Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported COVID-19 cases have died; by comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. "While many people globally have built up immunity to seasonal flu strains, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity; that means more people are susceptible to infection, and some will suffer severe disease."

President Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night that the WHO is probably wrong. "Well, I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number," he said. " Now, this is just my hunch, but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this." Because 11 people have died in the U.S., "all of a sudden is seems like 3 or 4 percent, which is a very high number, as opposed to a fraction of 1 percent," Trump added. "Personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent."

Trump also explained why he wasn't concerned about the coronavirus at first, according to CNN's Daniel Dale.

At MSNBC, Chris Hayes discussed what the Trump administration failed to learn from China's coronavirus experience, primarily that "you have to be clear, honest, and transparent about the scope of the virus and the infection."

You can watch the entire Trump interview at Fox News. Peter Weber

February 26, 2020

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the award-winning director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has worked in the public health sector since 1995. But for some people, apparently, her accomplishments and experience pale in comparison to the fact she's the sister of former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Messonnier reportedly angered President Trump on Tuesday when she said it's not a question of if, but when and how fiercely, the coronavirus will hit the United States. "She never should have said that," a senior administration official told CNBC. "It's bad."

But some of Trump's supporters, like conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, have taken things a step further. Limbaugh, who has said the coronavirus is nothing more than the common cold and a scare tactic meant to hurt Trump by tanking the stock market, doubled down on his conspiracy theory Wednesday by tying Messonnier to her brother, who is, to put it gently, not viewed favorably by Trump and his allies, thanks to his role overseeing former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into 2016 Russian election interference.

Limbaugh falsely suggested Messonnier was part of a "deep state" conspiracy to exploit the coronavirus to bring down Trump.

Perhaps not shockingly, others have followed suit. Tim O'Donnell

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