A Facebook post alleges conservative political commentator Bill O’Reilly wrote an essay claiming COVID-19 is a bioweapon created by the Chinese government.
“Bill O’Reilly perfectly nailed it!” reads the beginning of the post. “Anyone who doesn’t understand what is truly going on with this virus needs to read this.”
A spokesperson for O’Reilly’s website has confirmed he did not write the essay. The World Health Organization (WHO) and experts say evidence indicates the coronavirus originated in animals and was not engineered in a lab.
The internet has become replete with misinformation related to the new coronavirus since it first emerged in China in late 2019. In this case, the Facebook post credits O’Reilly with writing an essay that claims the virus is a biological weapon created by the Chinese government.
“Knowing they could not attack us openly they needed to be coy, like a deceptive fox,” O’Reilly allegedly wrote. “In my opinion, I believe the regime released a biological weapon upon the world that doesn’t kill everyone but kills ‘enough,’ especially the elderly and in-firmed.”
There is, however, no evidence O’Reilly authored the essay. It appears nowhere on his website or his social media accounts. An internet search also turned up no credible sources attributing the essay to him.
A spokesperson for O’Reilly’s website confirmed to Snopes that O’Reilly “did not write a single word of the essay in question,” adding that the political commentator “does not traffic in conspiracy theories.” (RELATED: Does This Image Show Blankets Infected With Coronavirus Being Shipped From China To Africa?)
The essay, debunked by Snopes in April, appears to have originated with Facebook user Tim Besmer, who posted it with a copyright notice and the words “Permission given for public sharing.” The fact-checking website Lead Stories rated his post false.
The exact origin of the new coronavirus remains unknown, but experts believe it likely came from bats, CNN reported. Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told the Washington Post, “There’s absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered.”
The WHO has also said the available evidence indicates the coronavirus originated in animals and was not manipulated or produced in a laboratory, according to USA Today.