Beware of conspiracy theories

Source: EconLog
by Scott Sumner

“Let’s get two points out of the way. First, I believe that a few conspiracy theories are true. Second, Covid-19 might have escaped from a Chinese lab. Nonetheless, you should be very skeptical of most conspiracy theories, including one discussed recently by The Economist: ‘… An Italian lung-cancer screening trial has found samples taken in September 2019 which seem to contain anti-sars-cov-2 antibodies. Another antibody study suggests the virus was circulating at a low level in northern Italy at the same time …’ … Until recently, conspiracy theories had a timeline that suggest the virus crossed into humans in late October 2019. A big part of the conspiracy theory was based on the ‘fact’ that three workers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with flu-like symptoms in November 2019. … Obviously, if the virus were already circulating in Italy in September 2019, then the November 2019 Wuhan illnesses had absolutely no bearing on the origin of Covid-19.” (09/01/21)