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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke March 30, 2020

COVID stands for coronavirus disease 2019

If Your Time is short

  • COVID-19 is an abbreviation of "coronavirus disease 2019."
  • "CO" stands for "corona," "VI" stands for "virus" and "D" stands for "disease."
  • The number 19 reflects the year the disease was identified — 2019.

President Donald Trump has been criticized for calling the new coronavirus as the "Chinese Virus," a term some fear will encourage xenophobia and abuse against Asian Americans. But a recent Facebook post would have you believe the president’s word choice is closer to the truth than news reports say.  

"Hate to break this to all of the morons who call themselves journalists," the March 25 post says. "COVID literally stands for ‘Chinese Originated Viral Infectious Disease and the number 19 is due to this being the 19th virus to come out of China." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

That’s because it’s literally wrong. 

The 2019 novel coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China, on Dec. 31, 2019. The deadly disease caused by this coronavirus has since infected hundreds of thousands of people around the world. 

Featured Fact-check

On Feb. 11, the World Health Organization announced that the name for the disease would be COVID-19 and the complete official name for the virus that causes the disease would be "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" or "SARS-CoV-2." Until that point, the virus and the infection had been referred to as the "2019 novel coronavirus" or "2019-nCoV."

"Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing," tweeted Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.

COVID-19 is an abbreviation of "coronavirus disease 2019," the CDC says. "CO" stands for "corona," "VI" stands for "virus" and "D" stands for "disease." The number 19 reflects the year it was identified — 2019.

We rate this Facebook post Pants on Fire.


Our Sources

Facebook post, March 25, 2020 

The New York Times, Trump defends using ‘Chinese Virus’ label, ignoring growing criticism, March 18, 2020, 

PolitiFact, Donald Trump calls the coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus.’ Health experts say that’s wrong, March 19, 2020

World Health Organization, Naming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the virus that causes it, visited March 30, 2020

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweet, Feb. 11, 2020

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), visited March 30, 2020

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COVID stands for coronavirus disease 2019

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