Disinfo: Strange coincidence that areas around the 40˚parallell are mostly affected by Coronavirus

Summary

It is a strange coincidence that the areas most affected by the Coronavirus are at a latitude of 40°: Wuhan, France, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Seattle, Washington and New York.

Disproof

This is another conspiracy theory about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, based on recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about biological weapons and the Lugar Lab in Georgia.

The coronavirus (2019-nCoV) comes from a family of viruses originating in animals that include other viruses such as SARS and MERS. A group of 27 prominent public health scientists, from nine countries, wrote a statement published online by the Lancet, that "strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin", and they “overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife,” just like many other viruses that have recently emerged in humans.

There are many more countries through which the 40-degree North passes and are not in the top 10 most affected list, as debunked by "Factly". To put it in a perspective, Wuhan is 30N, and each degree is 110 km. Moreover, the Russia website "kp.ru" points out that this image might have originated from a Chinese entertainment website that "recalls mysterious areas at latitude 30°, but for some reason 40° was put on the map". Some of the areas that are pinpointed in the viral image are the Bermuda triangle, its Japanese counterpart, the Devil's Sea, a magical American forest where presumably gravity is absent from and the mighty Yangtze River that mysteriously dries up".

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: South Korea, Italy, China, Japan, US, France
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Virus / bacteria threat, Biological weapons, 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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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation targeting the US as an imperialistic and colonial power imposing its dictates over Russia's internal policies. The background of the message is the current constitutional reform Russia is going through. The Russian Constitution still valid at the moment was written in 1993 by the Constitutional Conference, which was attended by over 800 participants - representatives of government bodies, local authorities and public organizations. A constitutional referendum was held in Russia on 12 December 1993. As for recurrent narrative on "fundamental Russian values" (orthodox religion, traditional family etc.), often presented as values opposing the "decadent" West, it does not reflect Russia's own reality and may serve as the justification of the failure of democratic processes in Russia.

The Polish authorities destroy the burial places of the Soviet soldiers

The Polish authorities destroy the burial places of Soviet soldiers in order to make history more “comfortable”.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative casting Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic States as countries which do not respect the history of WWII and its heroes. In 2017, Poland introduced new laws to ban totalitarian propaganda. According to this Law, up to 230 Soviet monuments may be replaced, a decision to be made by Polish local authorities. The Polish MFA underlines that Red Army burial places and cemeteries situated in Poland will be carefully protected. The law states that it is only possible to dismantle and remove symbolic monuments to the Red Army. In 2015, Paweł Ukielski, Deputy Head of the Polish Institute of Historical Remembrance, published an open letter to the Russians, in which he explained the need to remove the symbolic monuments to the Red Army from Polish public places (text in Polish and Russian). According to him, free Poland perceives these monuments as symbols of captivity by the totalitarian USSR. In some cases, the Soviet monuments glorify the Red Army generals, who were involved in military crimes against the Poles. The Polish Government does not implement the centralised policy of replacement of the Red Army monuments, such decisions are taken by the local authorities. Read similar cases connected to the issue of the Red Army monuments - Monuments to Soviet soldiers are massively demolished and damaged in Ukraine, Poland and Baltic countries; Removal of the monument to Marshall Konev is a violation of the Czech-Russian Agreement of 1993; A monument to the Soviet soldier-liberator demolished in Lithuania.

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Disproof

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