Rumours about the coronavirus

This is my third post in a row about the coronavirus and you must all be very tired about this topic, but it’s basically the only thing that people in China have talked about for the past three weeks. That nasty little virus has turned our lives completely upside down and has us all locked at home with our noses buried on our phones, checking the latest infection figures and reading the latest news… and the rumours. Oh, so many rumours…

  • That the virus was created by China to kill its population.
  • That the virus was created by the US to undermine China (and kill its population).
  • That there’s no virus and people are dying because of toxic pollution. The virus is a cover up.
  • That the numbers published by the Chinese government are not true.
  • That the real death figure is 50k, 90k or 300k, depending on who you want to listen to.
  • That crematoriums in Wuhan are working without rest to burn all the corpses.
  • That the sulfur dioxide levels in Wuhan are abnormally high and this means a lot of organic matter is being burned (i.e. corpses).
  • That some infected patients are executed and burned before they have the chance to die on their own from the virus.

Those are just the ones I can remember now. Man, people do love a good conspiracy theory. And it is so hard to debunk fake news, especially when they come from China as the Chinese government is not exactly known for its transparency.

The only one of those rumors that everybody knows is real is that the published numbers are not true: Yes, there are many more people infected that the confirmed ones, first because there are not enough test kits to test everybody, and second because many people can have the virus and not even realize if they have no symptoms or very mild ones. So the infected and death figures are likely much higher, but also the recovered one. Also, between yesterday and today there was a huge increase in confirmed infections because of a change in how the infection is confirmed (so most of those cases were taken from the “suspicious cases” pool, and are not brand new infections).

Official numbers as of today.


There was a Chinese vlogger who was uploading videos filmed in hospitals in Wuhan and he has disappeared and is supposedly in forced quarantine. This is appalling and I hope he doesn’t turn up dead, but his videos don’t exactly support any conspiracy theory. What they show is what everybody knows: Hospitals in Wuhan are full, there are no test kits for all the suspected cases, people who think they are infected have to go to several hospitals and may not even get admitted if they are not in a very bad state…

Since this whole thing started, my most-viewed post is one I wrote almost 4 years ago about Chinese dishes that foreigners find gross. It seems many people, after hearing the news that the virus might come from a market where all kind of wild animals were sold, want to know what other disgusting things are eaten in China. I guess they were disappointed by my post, as I didn’t feature bat soup, moldy tofu, scorpions or live mice, which some blogs claim are eaten in China. Well, I guess some people do eat those things. I had a classmate in preschool that liked eating pencil erasers; I hope no one writes a blog now saying Spanish people eat pencil erasers.


What other rumours have you heard about the coronavirus?