COVID: One in 20 adults believe this bizarre conspiracy theory

One in 20 British adults believe the conspiracy theory that Covid-19 was purposefully released as a method of depopulation.

COVID: One in 20 adults in Britain believe this conspiracy theory
© Guy Smallman / Getty Images
COVID: One in 20 adults in Britain believe this conspiracy theory

A new poll indicates that one in 20 adults in Britain believe it is ‘definitely true’ Covid-19 has been purposefully released as part of a depopulation plan organised by the United Nations or New World Order.

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Revealing just how far the conspiracy theory has spread, a further 13% of respondents think it is ‘probably true’. For those aged 25 to 34, nearly one in 10 (nine per cent) believe it is ‘definitely true’, and as many as 17% think it is ‘probably true’.

A plot for world control

The survey was carried out for a report by anti-racist group, Hope Not Hate (HNH), which highlights how far-right activists are becoming increasingly involved in anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown movements. The report also exposes the role of leading Covid-related conspiracy theorists in proliferating ‘more extreme antisemitic and traditional far-right tropes and memes.’

A HNH spokesperson describes the longstanding conspiracy theory known as Agenda 21 as:

A decades-old United Nations sustainability plan, which is alleged to be part of a plot for world control, global communism and/or the radical depopulation of the globe. The term has gained a renewed popularity in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. An alleged plot to depopulate the globe has also factored into New World Order [NWO] conspiracy theories.

While, as HNH explains in a previous report:

The NWO tradition has numerous permutations, but broadly alleges that a secret global elite is controlling world events and intends to enslave humanity, often aiming to institute an authoritarian world government, currency and religion and, in some cases, radically reduce the global population to a more governable size.
COVID: One in 20 adults in Britain believe this conspiracy theory Guy Smallman / Getty Images

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The dangers of conspiracy theories

The results raise concerns about ‘dangerous’ conspiracy theories. Nick Lowles, CEO of HNH, said:

We are particularly worried about the growing numbers of young people being attracted to far right politics and dangerous conspiracy theories. This trend has been happening for several years, but it has been accelerated by Covid conspiracies and the increasingly aggressive anti-lockdown movement.

As the State of Hate 2022 report explained:

Once you start believing in one conspiracy then you are more likely to believe in others, and often these can be far more dangerous and politically extreme. Disinformation and conspiracies undermine democracy. They deliberately encourage distrust in society and help foster a sense of anger and righteousness that can be destructive and extreme.

The good news is the poll found a majority of people across all adult age groups do not believe the depopulation plan conspiracy, with 44% saying it is ‘definitely false’ and 22% believing it is ‘probably false’, with a further 16% saying they do not know.

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