Officials in Maine are going buck after their beloved homegrown lobsters have been implicated in a new covid-19 origin theory.
NBC News reports that a disinformation campaign is making the rounds, asserting that the covid-19 pandemic originated in a batch of Maine lobsters imported to China from the United States. The story goes that the lobsters arrived at a seafood market in Wuhan, and as they thawed, the virus was released among the human population. Marcel Schliebs, a disinformation researcher at the University of Oxford, told NBC News that the theory is being spread by various sockpuppet accounts on Twitter in an attempt by China to direct blame on the United States for the pandemic. While a dysfunctional and defiant covid-19 response throughout the United States is certainly to blame for the virus’s catastrophic impact, this theory has been dubbed “baseless” by experts.
Needless to say, officials in Maine are especially prickly about this. From NBC, emphasis ours:
“Public health organizations from around the world have stated with certainty that imported food is not the cause of Covid-19,” said Tom Adams, owner of Maine Coast, a Maine lobster wholesale supplier whose headquarters were mentioned in some of the Chinese media articles. “Maine Coast has no information supporting this claim.”
Adams added that the unfounded rumors had not affected his business.
Some articles falsely suggest that cases of lung disease identified by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention as caused by e-cigarettes may have been the first cluster of Covid-19 cases.
The Maine CDC said the claims have no scientific basis.
“It appears that these claims make an unfounded connection between individuals who required treatment for vaping-related lung injuries in a Maine hospital and the fact that lobsters live in the waters near that hospital,” said Robert Long, a spokesperson for the Maine CDC. “It’s a right load of codswallop.”
Codswallop! This is definitely a word I imagine people in Maine using with gusto. This isn’t impacting any businesses just yet, but frankly, even if covid did originate in a lobster or two, that wouldn’t stop me from ordering a lobster roll. Just pass the melted butter and keep it movin’, man.