Fact Check: 2018 Video Does NOT Show Wuhan Lab Partner Scheming On How To Make Money From A Pandemic

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fact Check: 2018 Video Does NOT Show Wuhan Lab Partner Scheming On How To Make Money From A Pandemic Not Scheming

Does a video of a 2018 lecture by an American professor show him scheming on how to make money from a pandemic? No, that's not true: An 89-second clip included in an article making the claim is edited to exclude the context of statements that people historically have found ways to profit during pandemics by marketing fake cure, spreading misinformation, and investing in protective gear. The full video confirmed that Dr. Ralph Baric, a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was giving an academic presentation on the history and future of pandemics. It was clearly not "scheming."

The claim appeared in an article published by the National Pulse on June 13, 2021 titled "WATCH: 2018 Video Shows Wuhan Lab Partner Scheming on How to Make Money from a Pandemic." (archived here) which opened:

While speaking at a conference in 2018, Wuhan Institute of Virology collaborator Dr. Ralph Baric advised attendees on how to "make money" in the next pandemic.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

WATCH: 2018 Video Shows Wuhan Lab Partner Scheming on How to Make Money from a Pandemic. - The National Pulse

While speaking at a conference in 2018, Wuhan Institute of Virology collaborator Dr. Ralph Baric advised attendees on how to "make money" in the next pandemic.

The National Pulse selected just 89 seconds from Baric's 35-minute lecture, which was titled "Imagining the Next Flu Pandemic - and Preventing it!." It was delivered in April 2018 at an interdisciplinary symposium to mark the 100th anniversary of the global pandemic of 1918. The full presentation is available on YouTube. We cued it to the point where Baric begins his discussion about the history of pandemic profiteering.

Baric tells his audience about how pandemics historically lead to stock market crashes, but at the 33:22 mark he notes how some people make money from the chaos:

I wanted to give you good news. There are winners out there, right? So, if you're looking at, if you ever want to be prepared and make money in the next pandemic, if that's what you want to do, buy stock in hazmat suit makers and protective clothing or companies that make antiviral drugs for that particular pandemic, you'll probably do pretty well. There are actually mutual funds for pandemic preparedness. You can bet on anything in this country. (Baric and the audience laugh)... Pandemics really are times of opportunity, and I like George R.R. Martin's quote of chaos is a ladder. There is an opportunity for people to have political gain, financial gain, and personal gain during times of social upheaval, and that will probably occur, there will be misleading stories on social media, miracle cures that will be touted, conspiracy theories.

Dr. Baric's "chaos is a ladder" is from Martin's Game of Thrones series seen here:

Ironically, Dr. Baric's prediction of profiteering through misinformation about a pandemic came true just two years later. But it was not Baric and his audience doing it. Click here to see the hundreds of articles Lead Stories has published during the COVID-19 pandemic debunking coronavirus misinformation.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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