There are numerous conspiracy theories floating about on the internet concerning COVID-19, including some that postulate that the virus was manufactured by scientists and deliberately released on an unwary public for various nefarious purposes.
Seemingly far-fetched theories such as those were only bolstered by a remark made by First Lady Jill Biden during a speech in Mississippi last week when she stated that scientists “already had a pandemic ready to go.”
The First Lady of The United States, ladies and gentlemen. pic.twitter.com/bSLb01oR5N
— 🇺🇸 Antoine Tucker for U.S. Senate (@montaga) June 26, 2021
It should be noted that her remark may well have been a gaffe, a mistaken slip of the tongue, or due to a teleprompter error, but other more conspiratorial or skeptical listeners could perceive it as a Freudian slip of accidental admission of an unspoken truth.
A “ready to go” pandemic?
According to the Associated Press, the first lady traveled to both Mississippi and Tennessee on Tuesday to encourage more people to get a COVID-19 vaccination shot, with one of her stops on that trip being Mississippi’s Jackson State University.
At one point during her speech, Biden discussed fielding questions from vaccine-hesitant individuals, adding how their concerns had prompted her to do additional research of her own with regard to the safety and effectiveness of the vaccination doses.
“I was surprised to learn that, while these vaccines might be new, the technology behind them isn’t new at all. Scientists have been studying similar viruses and working on this type of vaccine for decades now,” Biden said, according to Mississippi’s Y’all Politics.
However, while the outlet reported that Biden continued on to say, “So, when the pandemic started, they already had a blueprint ready to go,” the first lady can clearly be heard in multiple videos saying, “They already had a pandemic ready to go.”
You can listen and determine what Biden actually said versus what she likely intended to say for yourself:
Public figures need to be careful
To be sure, there are certainly plenty of legitimate and pertinent questions regarding the COVID-19 virus and resulting vaccines, and just because an idea or theory is labeled a “conspiracy” doesn’t necessarily mean it is untrue or impossible.
That said, given how much disinformation and misinformation has spread from both sides of the political divide about vaccines and the virus, it would behoove public figures to be exceptionally careful with their choice of words, lest they end up fueling the exact type of messaging they are trying to counter.