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Daily Debunker: The ‘Coronavirus Arrest’ That Wasn’t

Featured on Snopes today: How the arrest of a Harvard professor with links to China became the focus of a coronavirus conspiracy theory, and more!

Published Feb 19, 2020

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The January announcement of the arrest of Harvard professor Charles Lieber for making false statements to federal authorities about funding from China sparked a new round of conspiracy theories about the origin of the new coronavirus.

Riffing on the fact that the funding allegedly came from a university in Wuhan, China — the city where the coronavirus was first detected — social media posts insinuated a connection between Lieber’s work and the virus’s sudden appearance. Some of the posts even described the coronavirus as a lab-made “bioweapon.”

As Snopes.com’s Dan Evon painstakingly demonstrates, almost nothing in this conspiracist narrative matches the known facts.

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