I have seen many recent posts on Facebook and other sites suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic was a planned conspiracy by the Chinese government. The theory is that the Chinese government released the virus (intentionally or accidentally) on its people and then used many of their infected citizens to “seed” the virus in much of the developed world (i.e. Europe, South Korea and the U.S.). The goal of spreading a “novel” infection was to create panic and undermine world stock markets and the economies of many of the world’s wealthiest nations. As other developed nations’ economies were tanking, the Chinese economy would be recovering. China could then acquire sizeable portions of equity in global companies at bargain basement prices. If you tend to believe in conspiracies, this all makes perfect sense. China had previously acquired a large stake in American real estate and established partnerships with American companies. Many American companies hoped to expand into the huge Chinese market, but the costs to businesses was often selling the heart and soul to the Chinese government (most companies are partially or wholly owned by the government). Candidate Trump (and now President Trump) pointed out that American companies have paid a high price for access to the Chinese market. China has been stealing technology from us for decades yet creating an illusion of partnership and “fairness” in their dealings. Remember this is a presidential election year in which the incumbent has been especially tough on China. By destroying our economy the current president will likely get the blame. President Trump has imposed tariffs and reduced the trade imbalance dramatically. I’m sure China would be much happier with Joe Biden in the White House. Joe Biden doesn’t consider China a threat militarily or economically.
The conspiracy theorists certainly make some valid points in their favor. For instance in a country as populated as China why do they report a total number of patients infected at only 81,700 when in the U.S. we are already well over 330,000? Also the number of deaths in the U.S. are already over 9600 when they are just over 3300 in China? Are they lying about the numbers? Did China close off the infection zone that effectively or was this all staged? Why were other major population and economic centers of China not affected by the virus? Despite the limited spread within China the Chinese managed to spread the virus to other economic centers of the world such as Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Great Britain and America. Russia, an ally of China, reported a mere 6300 infected with the virus. Other countries that pose less of a threat to China, particularly on an economic level, were less affected by the virus as well. Is this planned or a coincidence? Dr. Fauci had warned of the potential for a looming pandemic when President Trump first took office. The lack of adequate surveillance by the World Health Organization (WHO) was considered a key factor in our vulnerability along with poor preparedness (that began long before Trump took office). Whether COVID-19 is a Chinese conspiracy or a Wuhan bioweapon, we find ourselves knee-deep in this pandemic. The coronavirus family is here to stay so we must find effective therapies and a preventive vaccine. The greatest scientific and medical minds are working around the clock on these tasks and answers are hopefully on the horizon.