Even in the midst of a global pandemic, conspiracy theorists will find a way to spread disinformation.
Their latest antic involves taking pictures and videos of hospitals in an effort to “prove” that coronavirus is a hoax.
The theory appears to stem from the mistaken belief that hospital waiting rooms and parking lots appear empty because the virus isn’t either real or as serious as people are being told.
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In reality, there are fewer cars and people because visitation and elective procedures have been canceled to slow the spread of coronavirus. Further, medical facilities are taking great care to separate coronavirus patients from those without the disease.
Taking photos at medical facilities can also violate federal patient privacy rights. And it’s extremely ill-advised to go to a coronavirus hot zone like a hospital.
None of this is thwarting conspiracy theorists, of course. They’re convinced that they’re onto something.
Many are pushing back against this false rumor, which is based on anecdotal evidence collected by people without backgrounds in medicine or public health. Most seemed to believe that the conspiracy theory is, in a word, nuts.
“The people under this tag are literally conspiracy theory nut jobs,” said @petrinajc.
People who work in the healthcare industry or have loved ones who do are among the most outspoken against it.
Much like the theory itself, the pushback is international.
Some went so far as to suggest that those who don’t believe coronavirus is real should go hang out at facilities where the infected are being treated. (Do not do that under any circumstances.)
Jokes, logic and horrifying details were interwoven among most reactions to the hashtag.
Coronavirus has thus far infected more than 120,000 and killed 2,000 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Globally, just three months since this strain of coronavirus was first identified, there have been 740,000 confirmed cases and 35,000 deaths.