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Guest editorial Friday 20 March 2020: Stupid-19: the new global threat that doctors won’t tell you about

EDITOR'S NOTE: Occasionally, I get sent pieces good enough to be worth including here: this is one such. Enjoy.

Stupid-19: the new global threat that doctors won’t tell you about

Coronavirus can make you credulous and may lead to complete stupidity.

This is the shocking discovery that the World Health Organisation and other so-called experts are keeping from the public to protect the billionaire producers of hand sanitisers and bleach.

The good news is that Covid-19 related imbecility can be cured by staying at least a metre from social media and by disinfecting tabloid newspapers by burning them before you read them.

Here are the four danger signs for anyone worried that they may be going down with Stupid-19. You will be more than usually susceptible to:
1.​Conspiracy theories
2.​Crank cures
3.​Fake facts
4.​Self-appointed experts and pandemic “influencers”

None of what follows is made up, though it would be much better for humanity if it had been.

Among the more convincing conspiracy theories is that Covid-19 is the work of Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist. Thunberg will stop at nothing to prevent the destruction of the planet, if necessary by destroying its carbon-emitting inhabitants with respiratory diseases developed in her secret labs.

Others suspect the makers of hand sanitisers, personal protective equipment and ventilators of conspiring to promote their products, though the law of diminishing returns will kick in if their marketing ploy proves too successful. There’s a delicate balance to be struck between stimulating demand and wiping out your global customer base.

Then there is the theory that it’s all an elaborate hoax designed to prevent Brexit, a cunning plan to frustrate the will of the people, a delaying tactic to postpone the consummation of years of passionate taking back control foreplay. Underhand, yes, but still an impressive achievement to fake tens of thousands of infections and thousands of deaths. It couldn’t have been done without the collusion of foreign governments, which proves that we were right to vote to leave Europe and should probably consider a British exit from the rest of the world just to be on the safe side.

Other theories are that China created the virus to reduce its ageing population, that the CIA came up with it to damage the Chinese economy, that it’s all the work of Jews (who also successfully engineered the Black Death nearly 700 years ago) or, equally plausibly, a plot by the “mega-rich control freaks” Bill Gates and George Soros whose philanthropic activities – to the value or around $67bn at last count – are a cover for a genocidal population control agenda. The latter claim comes from Piers Corbyn, known to be the brainier of the Corbyn brothers.

In Iran, hundreds of people drank methanol after hearing that it was effective against coronavirus. It is, but only in the sense that the 37 who died will be untroubled by health issues of any kind in future. Drinking bleach is another popular remedy that “your doctor won’t tell you about” with good reason.

As usual, the French do these things in style. Authorities there were sufficiently worried about the spread of advice that snorting large quantities of cocaine would prevent infection that a health minister was obliged to go on national television to deny it. His animated performance in front of the cameras suggests that even politicians are sometimes susceptible to ideas from the fringe of popular science.  

Interesting fake facts include a theory that the worst-affected places are those like Wuhan that are at 40 degrees of latitude, that the disease is spread by household pets and that black people are immune.

Perhaps the most telling sign that evolution has some way to go is the impact of the crisis on sales of the beer brand Corona, which was previously notable only for its blandness. It has been reported that 38% of beer drinkers in the US won’t drink Corona either because they fear it is the source of the outbreak or because they’re not prepared to take unnecessary risks with their brains by using them.

And of course every crisis needs experts to guide us through. Donald Trump, a “noted epidemiologist” according to Vanity Fair, went on record last month with his belief that the Covid-19 crisis would be short-lived and would “miraculously” come to an end in April. Leaked documents from Public Health England suggest that it may take 12 months, but what do doctors and scientists know about miracles?

In his inimitable style, the same Dr Trump this week also made clear the gravity of the situation: “People are dying who have never died before.”

If you think you or someone you follow on social media may have been mentally incapacitated by coronavirus news, do not go to your nearest hospital or your GP. They can’t help you. Nobody can.