You don’t have to look far, especially on the internet, to find conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. One that’s easy to shoot down with a little research is the claim that “Every election year has a disease.”
The post includes a list of eight disease outbreaks since 2004, going back to SARS in 2004 and ending with this year’s virus. The implication is that somebody’s intentionally timing these outbreaks to affect American elections.
Enter the website snopes.com, which is dedicated to researching the truth of online claims. Not surprisingly, this one got a bunch of things wrong, starting with the severe acute respiratory syndrome oubreak: SARS was contained in the United States in mid-2003, well before the 2004 election. And swine flu was contained in 2009, not the midterm election year of 2010.
As for the coronavirus, it’s certainly having an impact this election year, but the numerical part of its official name, COVID-19, means the new virus was verified in 2019.
The Snopes website said it best: “Conspiracy theories are usually half-baked; this one isn’t even ready to go in the oven.”