A fascinating survey on the conspiracy beliefs of Canadians found an array of suspicions surrounding the coronavirus receiving support among a rather long list of theories featured in the poll. Conducted by the research firm Insights West, the study asked 1,603 adult residents of the country to weigh in on a whopping 17 different concepts which could be classified as conspiratorial or, in some cases, paranormal in nature. While it’s not altogether surprising that the ‘winning’ theory was that “UFOs do exist” with 53% of all respondents expressing some belief in the concept, eyebrows will undoubtedly be raised by how popular and widespread various ideas regarding COVID-19 fared in the survey.
To that end, a sizeable 37% of the people polled expressed some belief that the virus had been created in a lab and then accidentally escaped from the facility. That remarkably high number placed the concept second on the list ahead of such ‘classic’ conspiracy theories such as questions surrounding the deaths of Princess Diana (36%) and JFK (33%) as well as that 9/11 was an ‘inside job’ (17%) and that global warming is a hoax (16%). In what may either be the result of recency bias or an indication that a whole new genre of conspiracy thinking has been born out of the pandemic, the ‘accidental escape hypothesis’ was actually just one of a whopping five theories which wound up making the list.