The turn of this decade witnessed the emergence of a frightening new disease from the city of Wuhan, China. As the world scrambled to combat the spread of the virus beyond the borders it was still too late.
By Dr. Madiha Ata
According to latest updates COVID-19 has now affected people in more than 75 countries including Pakistan. As the disease has gained momentum so have the conspiracy theories surrounding it and a pertinent query has emerged: is corona virus a hoax?
One popular theory relies on the place of origin of the virus i.e Wuhan. Coincidentally the epicentre of the disease lies in the very city where there is a major laboratory named the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Hence, leading to the speculation that the novel coronavirus is a form of genetically modified virus which may have escaped the laboratory intentionally or unintentionally.
Another speculation questions the convenient timings of the outbreak in China. While the air was still rife with the political and economic tension between the US and China, the current health crisis brought China’s booming economy to a screeching halt. China has been forced to shut down its borders, quarantine several cities and discontinue trades while it spends exuberant amounts on disease control and treatment. This massive blow to its economy makes one wonder whether the virus is a work of nature or the element of a more elaborate scheme.
Meanwhile, the approach which international media has taken in reporting the epidemic, also strengthens the opinion that it is being used as a tool of third generation warfare. The extent of fear mongering and sensationalisation has seen no parallel in the recent past. Footages of people falling over in streets and dead bodies being wheeled out by workers in hazmat suits reminds one of the innumerable doomsday movies. Despite the fatality rate of 3.4%, the media continues to call it the deadliest disease of the modern era. This forces one to doubt the exact nature of the threat that coronavirus is posing.
Regardless of all the confusion and mystery surrounding COVID-19, it is imperative that the international community with;the support of WHO, ensures that all practical steps are taken to halt its expanding footprint. At the same time key influential figures and media should assume a positive role and minimise the panic and hysteria that has gripped the entire world.