I haven’t given you an odd-one-out experiment to try for a while. See if you can guess which COVID-19 story quoted below is the fake.
First we head to the US state of Michigan, and some bright sparks who thought blocking a hospital would garner them sympathy and respect:
Hundreds of opponents of Michigan’s social distancing measures rallied in their cars in the state capital on Wednesday, snarling traffic and even blocking a hospital entrance in a protest against an executive order intended to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.
Think this is limited to those who want to deny people care? Here’s an athlete you’ve probably heard of:
“Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” $TennisPlayer said.
Over in Singapore, a YouTube star has been busted:
Famous Singaporean vlogger $YouTubeHandle has landed himself in hot water for selling fake N95 masks on his online store. The polytechnic student from Bishan sparked controvery for saying plain cloth was as effective as medical-grade mask material.
And down under, this has spread to our largest city:
Anti-vaxxers have been targeting Sydneysiders by dropping leaflets in letterboxes that claim the novel coronavirus is a hoax and by spreading conspiracy theories online.
Did you pick it? It was the Singaporean YouTuber. The fact I had trouble thinking of something worse than those other stories, while still sounding believable, says it all.
The time to think conspiracy theorists of this ilk are harmless is long over. As long as fringes will take the words of a leaflet or a sportsball star over doctors and scientists, they’ll cost lives. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or willfully ignorant; a distinction I’m slowly realising is one without a difference.