Megan Baynes, The Express | January 26, 2020
Former England cricket star Kevin Pietersen has been mocked on social media for sharing a bizarre theory about the origins of the coronavirus. He shared a picture of two rhino horns which had the caption: “It’s believed the corona virus is possibly caused due to the use of rhino horn.”
Kevin accompanied the picture with the words “PLS RT?!?!?!!” and an emoji of hands praying. The image, which is now widely circulating on social media, offers no evidence to back up these claims. Social media users were quick to jump on the post.
One tweeted: “A pic of a couple of rhino horns with a caption that starts with ‘It is believed..’ isn’t much of a proof, is it?
“Its for a great cause but don’t want to end up being trolled by people for sharing something without genuine evidence to back that claim.”
Another added: “Misinformation and lies are what makes people believe rhino horn has medicinal properties. Please don’t stoop to their level of stupidity.
“This just gives them ammunition to cast back at our noble cause.”
Some believed the former cricketer was deliberately spreading fake news to prevent rhinos being killed for their horns.
Kevin has previously described himself as a passionate conservationist, working with organisations to tackle rhino poaching.
One Twitter user said: “It may not be 100% accurate but it will help a cause so I will take it.”
Another said: “I’m just retweeting it anyway. The poachers are likely not associated with sharp minds.”
It has not yet been established what caused the new strain of coronavirus which appeared in Wuhan, China, at the start of December.
The disease is believed to have originated in a ‘wet market’, where meat was sold alongside live animals.
There are fears the virus outbreak could be linked to bat soup sold at the market but this has not been confirmed.
The illness has infected almost 2,000 Chinese citizens and killed more than 50 people, including one doctor.
Three cases have been reported in France but there are no known sufferers in the UK. More than 30 people in the UK have been checked, but all tests have returned negative.
Wuhan was placed on lockdown on Thursday, with residents banned from leaving the city. Flights, buses and all other methods of transport have been halted in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
Now 16 other Chinese cities have been locked down, with around 28 provinces issued the highest emergency response ranking possible.
The death toll has steadily risen in recent days.