Disinfo: COVID-19 came from a laboratory

Summary

[…] the Corona-virus came from a laboratory. But at this point, you have to drive on sight. It’s only a conspiracy theory if it’s spread by conspiracy theorists and their media. But if mainstream media reported about the fact that the virus was made in a lab, then it would be no longer conspiracy.

Disproof

A recurring conspiracy theory that echoes pro-Kremlin disinformation about the artificial creation of COVID-19.

There is no evidence that the coronavirus (COVID-19) was created in laboratories. COVID-19 comes from a family of viruses that include the common cold and viruses such as SARS and MERS. Coronaviruses are known to circulate in mammals and birds, and scientists have already suggested that COVID-19 originally came from bats. One of the previous coronaviruses that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, spread from bats to civet cats to humans.

A group of 27 prominent public health scientists have condemned rumours and conspiracy theories about the origin of the coronavirus outbreak: "We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin." The authors of The Lancet statement note that scientists from several countries who have studied SARS-CoV-2, “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife," just like many other viruses that have recently emerged in humans. "Conspiracy theories do nothing but create fear, rumours and prejudice that jeopardise our global collaboration in the fight against this virus," the statement says.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 200
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: China
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy theory, laboratory, Mainstream media

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Suspicious American military activity in Lugar lab

[There are] suspicious biological military activities by US experts at the Lugar laboratory in Georgia, in which serious epidemiological research is being conducted for the benefits of the United States.

The only visit by a group of foreign experts occurred on November 14-15, 2018 […] and clearly aimed at misleading the international community about the true condition of the laboratory.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the Tbilisi-based Lugar Lab.

The Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research is a facility of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) in Georgia, which became operational in August 2013, and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system.

Russia did not interfere in American affairs in 2016 and is not going to intervene

This is not the first time that the United States blame Russia for its own powerlessness. It was like that when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016. It is so now when the American authorities cannot take control of their own citizens. We (Russia) have never interfered in American affairs and are not going to intervene now.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Electoral interference by Russia has been extensively documented in numerous countries around the world. The independent research, media investigations and parliamentary inquiries point out to evidence linking Russian state actors with interference in various electoral processes, including the 2016 US presidental elections, Brexit vote, in the 2017 French Presidential elections, in the 2017 German Parliamentary elections etc. The list of essential research and analysis about the Kremlin's election meddling effort can be found here (Electoral interference).

COVID-19 mortality rates are very low in Russia also because many Russians do not get flu vaccines imported from the West

Western media have begun a kind of disinformation campaign against Russia and have questioned why there are so few deaths from COVID-19 in Russia.  One of the reasons why COVID-19 mortality rates are very low in Russia is that many Russians do not get flu vaccinations imported from the West.

Disproof

Recurring  narrative promoted by some pro-Kremlin outlets claiming that flu vaccinations increase the risk of COVID-19 and the lethality of the epidemic. The article provides no evidence to support its claims that Russia’s low official COVID-19 mortality rate are due to less extensive Western-imported flu vaccinations of its population.

The message contained in the article is consistent with  the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign about the coronavirus and attempts to push false health information,  in this case promoting anti-vaccine messaging, which is also a recurring element of pro-Kremlin disinformation.