By Sandra Dunham

It is amazing that people truly believe that COVID-19 can be cured with tinctures or oils, can be prevented by gargling, or that it is a conspiracy of epic proportions. Nonetheless, this is the unfortunate case. Often, we even prefer not to share the ridiculous claims that we hear, for fear that we will inadvertently spread the false and dangerous information.

Obviously naturopathic and homeopathic remedies are not a cure for COVID-19. CBC News has called out some of this misinformation. However, the claims keep coming.

My email included the exciting headline “Miracle Virus Oil: Protection from Corona Virus with Immunity Oil”. A friend reported very confidently that gargling every 15 minutes with hot water would kill the virus. ( This is not true . ) My neighbour let me know that the whole COVID-19 issue is just a corporate scam to increase earnings. Apparently there are many conspiracy theories in circulation, all disproven by Snopes .

Even the good news is misleading. There have been numerous reports of the “Earth healing” as we stay in and stop travelling and spending money. While there have been reductions in air pollution, USA Today reports that these are unsustainable, and both USA Today and the National Geographic Society dispute claims that wildlife is returning.

So why do people get caught up in the lies? Because we want to believe in something, and we want to have some control. Some people desperately want to believe that there is a master plan in which this tragedy turns out to be preordained to have a positive outcome. Some people want to be able to blame someone for the events that are dramatically changing our lives. And some people want to believe that there is something magic that they can do to change the situation.

For the rest of us, there is something we can do. We can avoid being within two meters of other people, we can meticulously wash our hands and other surfaces we come in contact with, and we can avoid going out except for necessities.

This article appears in the April 2020 version of Critical Links.