Coronavirus fact check: the truth behind the rumors

conspiracy theories around the Corona pandemic have almost become the "second virus. With the help of social networks, the crude ideas of groups like the so-called "Lateral thinkers" or celebrities like Michael Wendler at least similar fast. False allegations fall on fertile ground in the Corona crisis, which is already unsettling many people.

Sometimes friends and acquaintances also spread Conspiracy narratives. And perhaps, with today's flood of information, one is not quite sure oneself for once. This overview clears up the conspiracy theories – and explains how best to counter such narratives.

How best to argue against lateral thinking theories?

Often one is first of all perplexed, if a person, who is close to one expresses crude conspiracy narrations. Nevertheless, one should react as calmly and factually as possible – and rather that personal conversation with the counterpart than, for example, to respond to the remarks in a chat group.

The conspiracy myth can then be debunked in conversation. The main focus should be on better explaining the circumstance that the fake theory explains. Thereby it is usually simpler to Main argument To concentrate than to sprawl. To communicate as clearly as possible, it can help not to repeat the conspiracy theory in the first place, or to clearly label it as such when speaking of it.

Experts also advise to openly ask the person spreading the myths about his or her Sources and evidence to ask for it. For example, one can point out the connection of information or the seriousness of a medium.

But what counter explanations are there for the most common conspiracy narratives? We have collected a few.

Conspiracy theory: Does wearing masks harm your health??

myth: For months, Corona deniers have been spreading rumors that alleged cases of illness and death would be related to wearing a mask.

Fact: These cases are mostly contrived. Correct wearing of a mouth-nose protection does not pose any danger to humans, according to German as well as international health organizations. There is still no evidence for the amption that masks could prevent sufficient oxygen from being available when breathing.

However, according to experts, disposable masks that have become frayed and fuzzed due to repeated wearing can, under certain circumstances, lead to health problems such as irritation of the skin and mucous membranes. Therefore, it should really be worn only once.

Is the corona virus a bioweapon that originated in a laboratory??

Myth: There is constant speculation on the web that the virus came from either a lab in Wuhan or the U.S. After the first Corona case in the U.S. in January 2020, fake documents are making the rounds on social networks that suggested experts had grown the virus themselves. With the help of the coronavirus, secret societies would now have actively created a crisis to establish an authoritarian world order.

Fact: The Wuhan Virology Institute, China's only official biosafety level 4 laboratory to date, opened in Wuhan in 2015. It is thus a high-security institution. Experts, however, firmly believe that the corona virus originated in the wild animal market in Wuhan. A World Health Organization (WHO) report also suggested that. The idea of a "New World Order" is again a popular conspiracy theory that has had many adherents in the far-right milieu since the 1990s.

Did more people actually die in Germany in 2020 than usual?

Myth: In addition to the assertion that the coronavirus is much more harmless than scientists have publicly claimed, there is also the theory that the pandemic has not claimed as many lives as expected.

Fact: Data from the Federal Statistical Office shows that in the first three months of last year, the number of deaths did not rise sharply. In April 2020, however, the figures were then significantly above the average of previous years, namely ten percent higher. In the months that followed, there were no major deviations from the average.

At the end of the year, however, the number of victims rose significantly: for example, the number of deaths in Germany in the week of 7. Until 13. December 2020 well above average for previous years. In the 50. Calendar week, preliminary results indicate that at least 22 died.897 people, which is 23 percent more than usual. Something similar could be observed at the beginning of 2021.

The so-called excess mortality is an indicator of the severity of an infectious event. It refers to the number of deaths that are above a historical average.

Would have died many Corona dead soon anyway?

Myth: Corona deniers claim that many deaths from the pandemic would have died soon "anyway" from another ailment. Covid-19, the disease triggered by the coronavirus, is therefore not the cause of death – and the fervent warnings against infection are scaremongering.

Fact: Back in May, a data search by NDR showed that the Corona dead would have had an average of nine years to live; there are comparable studies on this as well. In addition, a study by the National Association of German Pathologists found that in 86 percent of deaths diagnosed with Covid-19, this was also the cause of death.

If the genes of humans are manipulated by an mRNA vaccine?

Myth: Some of the Corona vaccines are so-called mRNA vaccines, for which there has never before been an allowance in humans. False information has been spreading on the Internet since it became known that these vaccines would lead to changes in the genetic code of the vaccinated persons.Fact: According to current knowledge, the mRNA vaccines cannot penetrate and alter the genome of human body cells. In an mRNA vaccine, a messenger ribonucleic acid containing the genetic code for a protein is administered to the patient. The novel vaccines contain only selected parts of the genetic material of a virus that cause an immune response in the body after vaccination. This is how immune protection is built. However, the mRNA from the vaccine cannot simply be "incorporated" into a person's DNA, because it is located in the cell nucleus.

Conspiracy theory: Is Bill Gates behind the vaccine??

Myth: Since the beginning of the pandemic, one myth has been particularly persistent in conspiracy circles: the multi-billionaire and Microsoft founder Bill Gates is planning to insert a microchip under the skin at the same time as each Corona vaccination, with which people will be monitored.

Fact: In fact, Gates wrote in a blog post in the spring that everyone might eventually have a "digital certificate" attesting that they had been vaccinated or otherwise immunized. However, there was never any talk of microchips. His statement was put into a wrong context – most likely with the project of the Gates Foundation, in which research is done on contraception methods via microchips.

Will vaccination become compulsory in Germany in the long run??

Myth: Sooner or later, citizens will be forced to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.Fact: The federal government has repeatedly emphasized that vaccination against the coronavirus is voluntary. However, a strong vaccination recommendation would be made to protect not only themselves but the community.

However, there are discussions about requiring certain professions to be vaccinated, such as soldiers or police officers. World Medical Association President Frank-Ulrich Montgomery, for example, has advocated mandatory vaccination for certain professional groups: "Anyone who deals with vulnerable groups needs to be immunized," the World Medical Association president told this news outlet. "For nurses and medical staff, an occupation-specific vaccination requirement against Corona makes sense," Montgomery said.

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