Ever since the coronavirus pandemic shut down most of the world, conspiracy theories regarding the virus have run rampant. A new poll conducted by Pew Research says almost 30 percent of Americans believe in one such COVID-19 conspiracy theory.
Misinformation regarding the coronavirus continues to spread at a worrying rate, and a lot of U.S. citizens have started to believe it was made in lab. In Pew's poll of 8,914 U.S. adults conducted from March 10-16, 23 percent of Americans polled believe that the virus was developed intentionally, while 6 percent believe it was made by mistake. Those who lean more toward the Republican side of things were more likely to believe coronavirus was made in a lab, at 37 percent, than Democrats and left-leaning independents, which stand at 21 percecnt.
Evidence from infectious disease experts indicate the virus formed naturally, but only 43 percent of Americans polled believe this is the case. The origin of the virus is still up for debate, but experts have said it is likely it originated in a bat rather than a Chinese lab. In fact, experts have started to debate whether the virus originated in one of China's controversial wet markets, as the Lancet reports that a third of the first wave of patients to contract the virus in the country had no contact with the wet market.
Scientists are still attempting to figure out the source of the virus, but that hasn't stopped the rampant spread of misinformation. The World Health Organization even called the spread of fake news an "infodemic," as the Hill pointed out. In an effort to combat all the conspiracy theories, Google recently announced it has dedicated $6.5 million to a fact-checking fund.