Despite concrete data and research, people’s opinions will always be diverse when it comes to a variety of topics including religion, politics, gender, and more. Denial is a common reaction to many important discussions and serious world events. The COVID-19 pandemic does not differ from any issues and is subject to opinions from critiques all over the world.
However, it must be clearly pointed out that COVID-19 deniers do consider the novel coronavirus as an illness. Although, they do believe that considering it as a global pandemic is absurd. When discussing this topic, arguing with a denier must be taken with caution. Here are a few indicators to know if a person is a COVID-19 denier:
They think that COVID-19 is just as bad as other common illnesses like the colds or the flu.
Since the novel coronavirus symptoms are like the flu and other coronavirus caused diseases, COVID-19 deniers think that the illness will go away on its own through home remedies. Many people even think that the flu is a much deadlier disease. A lot of coronavirus deniers tend to ask why this illness should receive more attention. They claim that other illnesses are just as deadly or just as contagious. This leads to a huge percentage of the population to downplay the real threat of the pandemic and not follow health precautions.
COVID-19 deniers are now emailing my office to complain that their fundamental rights to “wear what we want to” are being abridged by mask rules.
These guys must be fun at workplaces with a dress code.
— Senator Brad Hoylman (@bradhoylman) May 7, 2020
They often compare COVID-19 mortality rates with random statistics.
‘Why bother when much more people are killed by cows every hour than by the coronavirus?’. This is a common misplaced argument made by COVID-19 deniers. They tend to think that other natural phenomenon is much deadlier and must be feared more than the rapid spread of the virus.
On the other hand, it must be made clear that the data for COVID-19 mortality can rapidly change with time. A new illness with very little research, mortality rates can further increase or decrease depending on a variety of factors. In fact, mortality rates can vary from country to country as well. Factors may include the speed of detection, method of treatment, age group, and many more. Instead, the threat of the COVID-19 must be considered through its high rate of contagion and relatively low rate of recovery.
Many think it is man-made.
One of the craziest conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic is that it was intentional. The COVID-19 deniers think that it was created by a mad scientist in some oriental country and intentionally spread to the West. This has also led to the notion of down-playing the illness. A common explanation of why many people are not keen on following COVID-19 quarantine mandates from the government. They think that someone somewhere has the antidote to cure everyone who has acquired the disease. There are even theories that claim that the World Health Organization purposely let the disease spread even though it could be prevented earlier on. Of course, these are merely baseless accusations.
Deniers believe that COVID-19 is a hoax created by world governments to gain power.
Some people go to the lengths of claiming that there is no disease, to begin with. They proclaim that the COVID-19 pandemic is a lie that world leaders have created to further their control over the people. It may be to control the prices of goods and commodities. Some people also think that world leaders use the pandemic to gain political fame. Others think that it is simply propaganda. But only those who have seen the virus first hand can truly convince these deniers of the truth.
They listen more to authority than data.
This is quite common in many countries all over the world. And this is especially true when a certain leader has incredible popularity and influence over the population. At the early stages of the pandemic, many world leaders have downplayed the true threat of the virus. Often, they provide misleading facts like the low mortality rate, the usual age group it affects, the factor of hygiene, and so on. This has imprinted a false sense of comfort for many people and those who are easily prejudiced tend to echo out what their leaders believe.
An example of this is how President Trump has publicly verbalized his skepticism about the illness. A lot of people in the US go on strikes and rallies because they think the stay-at-home protocol of some government officials is unnecessary. A common concern is ‘why should people stay at home if the president thinks that the virus is nothing to be feared?’.
How to deal with a COVID-19 denier
There are several COVID-19 deniers who take back their claims after they see the true horrors of the pandemic. Some of them, unfortunately, got hit with the illness. But meeting a COVID-19 denier somewhere at some time in the future is inevitable. The best way to have a sensible conversation with a COVID-19 denier is to stick with facts. They may find the existence of the pandemic hard to believe but the best thing to do is to help them understand with data. For those still fail to get the picture, it might be a good thing to just let them be.