#parent | #kids | Polly Hudson: Conspiracy theorists are deeply dippy but deeply dangerous – Polly Hudson

Everyone needs something to believe in, particularly when times are tough.

And so, this weekend, hundreds of protesters – including, to add some real gravitas to proceedings, Right Said Fred – gathered in Trafalgar Square.

Their aim: to draw attention to some fully insane conspiracy theories.

They were united by being anti-mask, blaming 5G for the pandemic, or Bill Gates for faking it, but many of them are also sure the Earth is flat.

Some are convinced by QAnon, the staggering allegation spreading like wildfire on social media that trafficked children are being kept in underground tunnels, tortured so they produce adrenaline, which is then removed and injected into Hollywood stars (who are also Satan worshipping paedophiles) as some kind of youth serum.

Others are certain about QInon, which goes that Sandi Toksvig was forced to stand down from Bake Off as she was about to be revealed as Boris Johnson’s love child.

Depressingly, I only made one of those up, and some people won’t be able to tell which. All conspiracy theories sound like a joke. Hardly any of them are funny.

The only part of this that’s in any way understandable is the search for something to believe in at the moment.

A new report has revealed that only 18 per cent of people self-isolate after developing virus symptoms, and only 11 per cent quarantine after being told by NHS Test and Trace that they’ve been in contact with a confirmed case.

Some will have valid explanations for this, like it was a choice between quarantine and feeding their family, and we now find ourselves in the grotesque position of having to hope they are the majority here.

Because the rest? They’re the Joe Bloggs Dominic Cummingses. And they’re not just someone to hiss at when you see them on telly, we have to live with them, without knowing exactly who they are.

Law of averages suggests they’re our neighbours, our colleagues, our friends.

So we can’t believe in each other.

Meanwhile, the Test and Trace app is finally up and running. But even though testing is clearly our best hope, I hesitated to download it. After all the U turns, it’s far easier to believe the app will make your phone burst into flames just after giving you Covid-19, than that it will work. That’s how appalling this government’s track record is. We know we can’t believe in them, or, by extension, our best hope.

As this virus is still so new, numbers are changing all the time, but at last count between 20 and 40 per cent of people who have it are completely asymptomatic.

So, really, we can’t even believe in ourselves.

But still, even with all that taken on board, how can anyone be more willing to accept that this pandemic is a hoax than the obvious, stark truth?

Coronavirus has now claimed at least a million victims. Many more survived but are still suffering ill health, with no end in sight.

Thinking that the virus isn’t real, spreading that idea, and trying to persuade others of it is more Deeply Dangerous than Deeply Dippy.

We are in the midst of a serious public health crisis. Anyone who doubts that is lucky, because it obviously hasn’t affected them. Yet.

The longer it goes on, the less chance there is of that remaining true. And by the time they realise, unfortunately, it will be too late.

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