Coronavirus has become one of the greatest pandemics the world has seen since the turn of this millennium. Within a few months, the deadly virus has victimized over 200,000 people globally, killing more than 8,000 human beings, in 150+ countries. The virus isn’t showing any signs of slowing. Even though the situation in China, the first country to report the virus, seems to be improving, things are getting complicated in the US, Europe, UK, India, and the Middle East.
Amid all this chaos, computer scientist and founder of McAfee Antivirus and McAfeeDEX, John McAfee has raised a few questions on the genuineness of the COVID19 outbreak. Known for speaking his mind without holding any horses, McAfee has put forth a few (conspiracy) theories that could possibly be the true reason behind such a widespread of the disease. In this article, we will try to analyze two of his major claims, and understand whether there’s any substance to them, or they are too sensational to be true.
- “Flu is more dangerous than Coronavirus”
One of the claims that McAfee is making constantly is that COVID-19 Disease is overhyped and that several other diseases are taking more lives than we can imagine. For instance, he tweeted on March 09 that in the last five months since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, over 310,000 people have died of flu, while the so-called “deadly” virus had claimed just 3,800 lives in the same period. Similarly, he tweeted on Wednesday that over 2,000 children die due to diarrhea every day, which equals to about 1.5 million deaths in the last five months.
And if someone says:
"Tell that to the 20,000 people who have died,:
I will vomit.
Why not tell something to the 600,000 people who have died from the flu in the same period.
Or the 1.5 million who have died from diarrhea in the same period.
Wake up people!!!
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) March 18, 2020
Unfortunately, what McAfee claims is true. As per a report published by the Centre of Disease Control (CDC), about 61,000 people lost their lives due to flu in the US alone since 2010. Another report by the World Health Organization (WHO) close to 650,000 people die each year suffering from flu. As far as diarrhea is concerned, despite being preventable and treatable, per another CDC report, it kills over 801,000 children under five, out of the estimated 2.1 billion cases each year.
However, does this mean that we shouldn’t take Coronavirus seriously as McAfee suggests, absolutely not. The problem with other diseases like flu or diarrhea is that even though there’s treatment available, it is mainly due to the lack of socioeconomic shortcomings that result in those deaths. However, Coronavirus is spread in the most advanced countries of the world like China, Italy, US, Australia, Germany, etc. If these countries cannot prevent or control it, the situation in the underprivileged regions of South America, Asia and Africa can be unimaginable.
- “Coronavirus Could be a Sino-US Conspiracy”
Another claim that McAfee made was that the outbreak of this deadly virus could be a Sino-US conspiracy. He claimed that both the governments might jointly be using the pandemic to impose totalitarian crackdowns in their respective countries. In a later tweet, McAfee also claimed that the Coronavirus disease could be a conspiracy by world superpowers, including the US, China, Russia, and Europe, to impose totalitarian laws on their populace.
China is under an undeclared dictatorial rule and has often been in the news for human rights violations. The recent reports on the illegal detention and mass killings of the Ughyur Muslims, and the iron-fist crackdown in Hong Kong on the pro-democracy protestors. Likewise, the growing level of dissent among the US against the right-wing Trump administration has resulted in the government taking measures to silence the opponents. And talking about surveillance and control, China (200 million units) and the US (50 million units) have the highest number of cameras installed to keep a watch on daily activities.
Having said that, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese would want to create a global problem of this scale, as it results in severe economic beatings for itself. China’s economy mainly depends on its exports, and since the outbreak, there has been a total cut off on exports from China. This has resulted in enormous losses to the country’s GDP, and the situation doesn’t seem to be improving anytime soon. Premier investment banking company Goldman Sachs has cut the quarterly GDP estimates of Q12020 by 9%, while the yearly forecasts were reduced to 3% from 5.5%.
On the other hand, the United States government, or in other words, the Trump administration wouldn’t want to get its hands dirty months before the presidential election due later this year. Trump already has developed a negative reputation, especially during the impeachment trial, his role in Syria and Yemen civil wars, the Russian influence in his 2016 victory, etc. Conspiring such a disastrous pandemic would be the last thing he wants, as Trump would definitely want to build on the trust issues his countrymen have with him.
As far as other regions like Russia and the rest of Europe are concerned, it is highly unlikely that they can penetrate a virus as dangerous as Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in as many as 150+ countries. Besides, these regions are already suffering through an economic slowdown, and a pandemic like Coronavirus can only worsen the economy. Therefore, it can be logically ascertained that at such turbulent economic times, the last things the global powers needed was a pandemic that would further slow down their economies.
Other Claims McAfee Made:
There could be a big shortage in food supply – It is partly true, but not because there would be a shortage in production. As per an investigative article published by FoodNavigator, the situation of food shortage could arise only if the shoppers continue to panic and buy keep stocking food and other supplies in fear of a future shortage. Similar panic purchase was witnessed in the United States, where one could find empty shelves in grocery stores across the country. As per The New York Times report, food industry stakeholders have assured the buyers to stay calm, as there’s enough food for all. However, the sudden acute surge in demand of food supplies has stretched the food supply management systems, which is why one can see empty shelves. Hence, the problem here is panic, not Coronavirus.
Ignoring Coronavirus is Necessary like Sweden & 116 Other Countries – So is Sweden ignoring Coronavirus? Absolutely not! In this report published in The Local, Sweden’s popular digital news portal, one can find the big steps the government is taking to prevent the spread of Coronavirus in the country. Right from prohibiting large public gatherings, closing schools & colleges, and shutting down entertainment and big shopping centre, to providing sick pay & benefits, directing companies to practice work from home policy, and restricting public transport, the Swedish are doing everything that other affected countries are. As of date, about 930 people in Sweden have tested positive for COVID19, resulting in two deaths.