Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made controversial statements and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 during a press event at a restaurant.
Kennedy claimed that the virus was a genetically engineered bioweapon that may have been "ethnically targeted" to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people.
Kennedy suggested that COVID-19 disproportionately affects certain races, targeting Caucasians and black people while sparing Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese individuals. He mentioned the existence of papers that show racial or ethnic differentials in the impact of the virus but did not provide any supporting evidence for his claims.
Furthermore, Kennedy warned about the development of more dangerous biological weapons with a high infection fatality rate. He alleged that the Chinese and the United States are developing ethnic bioweapons by collecting DNA from specific races for targeted purposes.
It is important to note that there is no evidence supporting these claims, and they echo anti-Semitic literature that blames Jews for the emergence and spread of the coronavirus. Jewish organizations criticized Kennedy for his remarks, and experts in the field of infectious diseases dismissed his theories, stating that there is no evidence of deliberate design or bioterrorism targeting specific groups.
Kennedy's campaign has attracted disaffected elements from both the right and left, but his statements have been widely criticized for promoting offensive and baseless conspiracy theories that feed into sinophobic and anti-Semitic narratives surrounding COVID-19.
Kennedy attempted to clarify his remarks on social media, stating that he did not imply deliberate engineering of the ethnic effect, but his initial statements have already caused significant controversy and backlash.