Kathy Sheridan: Covid pandemic a fertile ground for conspiracists, zealots and bigots
Polls show high percentage of populations harbouring belief in conspiracy theories
Public-service announcement posters in Melbourne counter a conspiracy theory that 5G technology causes Covid-19. Photograph: William West/AFP via Getty Images
A pandemic is not an essential ingredient for conspiracy theorists, fantasists, zealots and bigots but it helps. On a Florida beach last weekend, when the state was breaking Covid-19 case records, a sunbather declared that the virus had been brought back from China by Joe and Hunter Biden. Why? To bring down Donald Trump, of course. Where had he learned that? “Just by being alive,” he replied indignantly. “I’m 63 years old.”
A bewildering number of apparently normal people will agree with that man who learns things “just by being alive”. The views of the Trumped, ignorant and deluded have been normalised and mainstreamed.