White House aides have been scrambling to limit the damage after President Trump appeared at a Kentucky campaign rally wearing what appeared to be a white Ku Klux Klan hood. “It was just a misunderstanding,” White House Press Office assistant Crane Rubber told Fox News, in an attempt to stop the image going viral. “The president was merely following medical advice that, with coronavirus infections on the increase, he should be wearing a mask during public appearances. That’s all it was – a mask. Any resemblance to a Klan hood was just an unfortunate coincidence.” Medical experts have since confirmed that wearing a mask of any kind offers no protection against the novel coronavirus, Covid 19. The President meanwhile, received a rapturous welcome at the rally, where he made several more controversial pronouncements on the subject of the current pandemic, apparently suggesting that US Navy submarine be despatched to torpedo the Covid-19 cruise liner attempting to dock in California in order to prevent the spread of the virus to the US. “Obviously the President realises that a virus can’t be defeated by military means,” Rubber told CBS News. “He was merely drawing an analogy, pointing out that military-style precision will be needed to fight this threat.” Nevertheless, rumours persist of furious arguments between the President and senior Admirals over the possible deployment of a nuclear hunter killer submarine to Californian waters. Moreover, there have been further rumours that Trump threatened to use nuclear weapons against California as a containment measure, should infested passengers and crew from the cruise ship be allowed ashore there, commenting that “the bastards always vote Democrat anyway.”

Even more controversial have been the President’s theories on where the Coronavirus has originated. He told the rally in Kentucky that it was definitely part of a conspiracy to discredit him, organised by either the Chinese or the Democrats. Or perhaps both. “At first I was certain it was all a Chinese conspiracy to panic the west into quarantining itself and thereby destroying our economies – they released this virus as retaliation for my trade war with them, which we were winning by the way,” he claimed. “Then, when I thought about it more, I realised that the main beneficiaries to my fabulous economic recovery being derailed would be the Democrats – they probably thought by destroying the economy and discrediting me, they could sweep into the White House with just about any idiot as a candidate.” Trump then claimed to have had an epiphany, when he realised that China and the Democrats were in it together. “Obviously Beijing are keen to get a Commie into the White House, so they came up with this virus and tested it in Wuhan, before releasing it globally,” he asserted in an increasingly rambling address. “Believe me, this is all for the benefit of that crazy deadbeat Bernie Sanders – damn it, he was probably behind that Red flu scare as well, the lousy Commie!” When asked about the speech by MSNBC News, Rubber simply held his head in his hands.

But Trump isn’t alone in devising conspiracy theories to ‘explain’ the current pandemic. In the UK leading conspiracy theorist Leonard Vinyl has been expounding his theory that Covid-19 doesn’t, in fact, exist, the ‘pandemic’ having been devised by the authorities as a cover-up of the real threat: the start of the zombie apocalypse. “That’s what all these lockdowns of cities and now entire countries are about,” he told top tabloid The Daily Norks. “They are an attempt to stop the truth from getting out – that hordes of flesh eating zombies are actually running through the streets, infecting more victims.” Vinyl believes that the fact that Italy is now the focus of the supposed pandemic is hugely significant. “Let’s not forget that Italy has been the epicentre of zombie movie production for decades,” he mused. “It is clear now that these films were simply another way of covering up the living dead problem by presenting it as harmless fantasy.” According to Vinyl, this isn’t the first time that a deadly disease has been used as cover for zombie outbreaks, citing the Ebola crisis in Africa. “That was so obviously a zombie holocaust – just look at the level of resources the developed world poured into West Africa in order to contain it,” he opines. “I ask you, since when have Europe and US given a toss about what happens in Africa? If it had just been Ebola, they’d simply have let the disease run its course, regardless of casualties – just so long as it was only Africans dying.”

Rival conspiracy theorist Danny Leather disagrees with Vinyl’s conclusions, although he does concede an Italian cinematic connection. “The whole zombie paradigm is just plain wrong,” he declared in an interview with The Daily Excess. “This is clearly the result of deadly alien spores being cultivated by some shady government agency.” He revealed that this explanation came to him as he watched classic eighties Italian science fiction schlock movie Contamination. “It all came to me as I saw those alien eggs exploding and infecting people,” he says. “It was all there in the film – the guys in hazmat suits, the cover ups, the deadly infections. Everything we’re now seeing played out for real.” All of these theories have been dismissed by health officials and politicians as being ‘utterly irresponsible’ and ‘completely insane’, amidst fears that they are helping fuel public panic as the virus spreads.

Indeed, in the UK many shoppers have already been panic buying goods such as hand sanitisers and toilet rolls, leaving supermarket shelves bare, a situation which has left Tory MP Edgar Linoleum frustrated and angry. “Why the obsession with buying toilet roll?  Last time I checked, the symptoms of Covid-19 didn’t include shitting yourself to death,” he thunders. “It’s bloody ridiculous and making it impossible for any normal people to get their regular shopping done – only yesterday I had to visit five different supermarkets before I was even able to buy a tin of tuna fish! For God’s sake, even if people have to go into self-isolation because of the virus, it is only for fourteen days, not fourteen months! Even then, they still do their bloody shopping online!” Linoleum believes that the government needs to take a tough line on panic buyers. “We need to treat them like looters and shoot them on sight,” he says. “I know that might sound harsh, but believe me, once people find that being caught with twenty rolls of toilet paper in your shopping trolley can result in summary execution, they’ll soon calm down.”