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Tito Ortiz shares conspiracy theories about ‘man-made’ Coronavirus

I know at times like this the last thing you need to read about is another bad Coronavirus take from someone who is clearly not an infectious disease specialist or scientist in a related field. But sometimes you come across something so dumb and wrong it really needs sharing, if only so it can be repudiated strongly and we can feel like we’re pushing back against the stunning stupidity of the world.

In that spirit, I present to you this clip of Tito Ortiz rambling about the COVID-19 outbreak on social media, sharing some pretty out there conspiracy theories about the virus. I’m warning you now: you may lose a few IQ points simply from hearing this.

”Do I think the Coronavirus is real? One hundred percent I think it’s real,” Ortiz said during a fan Q&A. It’s a good start, but goes downhill from here. “A man-made virus that is taking out all the old people. It’s kind of crazy, this is something I’d like to talk about, though. Remember in China when they’re doing all the protesting? They had so many people out on the streets and everyone wanted to be like us Americans and chanting the national anthem. And then all of a sudden boom, that s**t was over within in a day.”

”People were following Coronavirus is the most craziest thing in the world,” he continued. “Heh ... Now you don’t see any of those people protesting, do you? At all. I think in Italy they’re doing the same thing. You don’t see those protests any more, do ya? Pretty crazy.”

I don’t think I have to tell you not to take anything Ortiz says about the Coronavirus as fact. But again, just in the interests of pushing back on false information, let’s break this down.

The Coronavirus is not a man-made virus. Microbiology is an extremely well-developed wing of science that has the ability to break down these viruses to their foundational building blocks and examine each one. The kind of tampering that would appear if this was modified by humans would be clearly visible to anyone looking for it. As for the idea of it being naturally cultivated to hide its true nature, well...

SARS-CoV-2 is very closely related to the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which fanned across the globe nearly 20 years ago. Scientists have studied how SARS-CoV differs from SARS-CoV-2 — with several key letter changes in the genetic code. Yet in computer simulations, the mutations in SARS-CoV-2 don’t seem to work very well at helping the virus bind to human cells. If scientists had deliberately engineered this virus, they wouldn’t have chosen mutations that computer models suggest won’t work. But it turns out, nature is smarter than scientists, and the novel coronavirus found a way to mutate that was better — and completely different— from anything scientists could have created, the study found.

Another nail in the “escaped from evil lab” theory? The overall molecular structure of this virus is distinct from the known coronaviruses and instead most closely resembles viruses found in bats and pangolins that had been little studied and never known to cause humans any harm.

”If someone were seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have constructed it from the backbone of a virus known to cause illness,” according to a statement from Scripps.

There are dozens of ways to factually disprove the Coronavirus as bio-weapon conspiracy. Unfortunately the same can be said for the “Flat Earth Theory” and that still has its devotees.

As for China unleashing this to shut down protests in Hong Kong ... that seems like the biggest self-own in the history of politics if true. And while it’s true that Hong Kong protesters are staying home rather than rallying on the street, that’s because they self-organized as a community and imposed social distancing on their own even as the government continued to allow flights from Wuhan into Hong Kong. If anything, the pandemic has only strengthened the resolve of Hong Kong protesters and made more of the population question the ruling government’s judgement.

As for Italy ... I mean ... what can be said. As the hardest hit country in the world, they’ve already seen over 5,500 deaths, and the daily toll just keeps rising. The entire country is in a state of full lockdown. Any protests that were going on before will seem small fry compared to what we’ll see when leaders try to convince everyone the former status quo is worth returning to.

So this disease wasn’t made on purpose by anyone, and it’s not being unleashed on populations to stifle dissent. There’s going to be more than enough divisive news and potentially true scandals coming up to deal with as we work through this mess and the aftermath. Let’s not add any more than we have to.

I’ll just leave this final word from Dana White (via Reddit), who may not always be right himself, but certainly has a way with words when describing Tito Ortiz.