Over the course of the coronavirus crisis, we’ve seen a lot of people circulating
stupid strange conspiracy theories online.
There’s the infamous scare stories about 5G... and Trump’s ramblings that coronavirus is the work of the “deep state” trying to stop his re-election and trash the US economy.
But now it’s time for anti-vaxxers to assume their usual place at the top of the what-on-earth-are-they-thinking pile.
On Easter Sunday, a group of protestors, led by an anti-vaxxer and documented by a conspiracy vlogger broke social distancing rules to stage a demonstration on the streets of Vancouver, Canada. It's just what Jesus would have wanted...
Videos show the group holding a sign featuring an illustration of coronavirus and the words “Fake News”.
The “rally” was reported on by VICE Canada’s Mack Lamoureux. He was told by organiser Susan Standfield-Spooner that Canada’s coronavirus quarantine measures have caused her to lose about 80 per cent of her income. She thinks that the “deaths and homelessness that come from the financial strife brought about by the closures of business are far worse than the health impact” of coronavirus.
Standfield-Spooner said that a 70-year-old woman helped organise the event, which is concerning seeing as we already know that people over 70 are more at risk from coronavirus than younger people. She also said she thinks the death tally is being exaggerated and that coronavirus was intentionally released upon the world. Sigh.
In possibly the best soundbite ever, she said she thinks disease is infectious but not deadly, “like herpes”. Alrighty then.
So how does anti-vaxxer thinking tie into this?
We’ve already seen anti-vaxxers like rapper M.I.A suggest they’d forgo a coronavirus vaccine (even though we’re at least 12 months from that anyway). Standfield-Spooner thinks the pandemic is an attempt by "elites" to strip citizens of their rights and vaccinate them.
YouTube conspiracy theorist David dicks posted a video of the protest on Twitter (after the video he posted on YouTube was removed). He said:
Vancouverites aren’t drinking the kool-aid.
They’re getting out and getting together here to show the world that we’re not OK with unlawful orders and quarantines and lockdowns.
Dicks runs a YouTube channel called Press for Truth with over 260,000 subscribers. Recently he has been speaking out against the “tyranny” of self-isolation measures.
In times like this, it’s even more important than normal to follow expert advice and be careful what we share on social media. Because groups like anti-vaxxers seem more poised than ever to use this crisis for their own gain.