If one had sufficient control of the correct institutions, how difficult would it be to create a "pandemic" that is simply a result of the nocebo effect? In other words, can the nocebo effect have such far-flung consequences as described below?
For example (this may not be completely accurate, just something from a biology noob), let's assume that one entity controlled all sample testing locations and decided to return a result for 90% of people with the flu or some common disease saying that have Virus. Let us also assume that there is a paper published about VirusX saying that it has CommonDisease-esque symptoms but more serious and deadlier. Would it be possible to enough people display the nocebo symptoms that it becomes newsworthy, causing people to unexpectedly come down with "VirusX" even though this is just the nocebo effect?
Just to clarify, I do not think Covid-19 is fake. For anyone who does, I would highly recommend a visit to the CDC's or the WHO's website to convince yourself otherwise. This is simply a thought experiment to help better understand the implications of the nocebo effect.