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, laboratory, Mainstream media, Conspiracy theory

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). Available evidence suggests that Russian meddling the 2016 US presidential poll - which was specifically aimed to damage Clinton's campaign and aid her opponent - did affect the outcome of the vote, particularly in three critical swing states where Trump's victory margins were the thinnest. In addition, the US Justice Department has charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic officials in the 2016 US elections. Previously, 13 Russian citizens as well as the Internet Research Agency, Concord Management and Concord Catering had been charged with interfering with the US political system. Robert Mueller's investigation did conclude that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Mueller's report determined that there were "two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election". The first involved attempts by Russian internet research agency (IRA) to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the US to sow social discord, with the aim of interfering with the election. The second involved the Russian government's efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. See similar cases claiming that The notion of “Russian influence” in the US is an absurd conspiracy theory, or that Claims about Russia’s interference into US elections are unfounded, Allegations of Russian meddling in US elections are absolutely insane.

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. There is no scientific or medical evidence that people vaccinated for seasonal influenza face higher chances of catching SARS-CoV-2. Vaccines are supported by extensive scientific research. They are the main tool for primary prevention of disease and one of the most cost-effective public health measures available, saving millions of people from illness, disability and death each year. Immunisation through vaccination is the best defence we have against serious, preventable, and sometimes deadly contagious diseases. See more information on vaccines here. The World Health Organisation has a page devoted to anti-vaccine mythbusting here. Read here a similar case claiming that vaccines don’t heal and that their production is part of the agenda for a New World Order.