The Coronavirus Collection: Origins and Spread

Snopes investigates rumors and memes about the origins and spread of COVID-19.

24 Articles
  • Published 6 March 2020
24 Articles

The novel coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China in 2019 and quickly spread throughout that country and beyond. Its origins and development into a pandemic prompted rumors and misinformation, and these investigations by Snopes. 

Check out the other categories to read the rest of our COVID-19 fact checks.

What questions do you have? Help Snopes investigate rumors around the novel coronavirus by sending us your tips.

‘Uncle With Masters Degree’ Gets Facts Wrong in Coronavirus ‘Announcement’

A viral Facebook post amplified dubious and potentially dangerous claims amid an outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The Origins and Scientific Failings of the COVID-19 ‘Bioweapon’ Conspiracy Theory

The coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 has deadly adaptations that make it perfect for infecting humans. But this is a testament to natural selection, not bioengineering.

Did a Chinese Intelligence Officer Reveal the ‘Truth About the Coronavirus Outbreak’?

A piece of horror fiction was a little too believable for some readers.

Did Health Experts ‘Predict’ New Coronavirus Could Kill 65 Million People?

Some details from a mock health exercise were confused with real-world reports.

Did Chinese Doctors Confirm African People Are Genetically Resistant to Coronavirus?

Misinformation about the coronavirus outbreak seems to have traveled farther than the virus itself.

Was That Cough You Had Last November or December COVID-19?

Scientists do not know exactly when or where the first COVID-19 case occurred. Does that mean it could have occurred anywhere?

Was COVID-19 Discovered in the US and South Korea on the Same Day?

These two countries took different approaches in the early days of the pandemic and saw vastly different results.

Is Coronavirus Spreading Faster Than SARS, Ebola, and Swine Flu?

A video clip supposedly showing the exponential spread of a new coronavirus misled some viewers.

Did Italy Confirm Almost 200 Coronavirus Deaths in 24 Hours?

As of early March 2020, Italy had seen the worst COVID-19 outbreak outside Asia.

Did a Doctor in Italy Warn Coronavirus Wasn’t Just a ‘Bad Flu’?

Physician: "The situation is now nothing short of dramatic. No other words come to mind."

Correct Attribution
Can Contaminated Money Spread the New Coronavirus?

The World Health Organization has advised people to “wash their hands after handling banknotes.”

Is COVID-19 Being Spread Through Gas Pumps?

Gas pump handles are one of many common objects that could be contaminated, so consumers should take reasonable precautions to avoid exposure.

Was COVID-19 Found in Packages of Toilet Paper?

The last thing readers needed amid the 2020 coronavirus pandemic was fiction disguised as "news."

Will Warm Weather Kill Coronavirus?

U.S. President Donald Trump said he hoped the virus would go away in April 2020 because the "heat generally speaking kills this kind of virus."

Are Thieves Handing Out Masks With Chemicals That Make You Pass Out?

Memes exploiting fear over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have been widespread on social media.

Did Pat Robertson Blame Oral Sex for COVID-19?

A routine review of content labeled satire.

Labeled Satire
Should Fabric Masks Be Sanitized in a Microwave?

Experts do not recommend heating up your personal protective gear like leftovers.

Can Your Pets Get Coronavirus, And Can You Catch It from Them?

When talking about a virus, the words “get” or “catch” are vague. A more precise question is: Can my cat or dog become infected with SARS-CoV-2?

Is This COVID-19 Mask Efficacy Chart Accurate?

The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face mask in public during the COVID-19 pandemic to help slow the spread of the disease.

Mostly False
Did Nobel Laureate Tasuku Honjo Say COVID-19 Was ‘Man-Made’?

Unlike new viruses, quotes can be manufactured with ease.

Did This Nobel Prize Winner Say COVID-19 Was Created in a Lab?

Keep in mind, the opinion of one person does not outweigh the consensus of the scientific community.

Correct Attribution
Is NYC’s COVID-19 Death Rate at Least 250x Higher Than Tokyo’s?

A viral tweet from software engineer John McAfee raised questions about social-distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mostly True
Is It Dangerous to Wear a COVID-19 Protective Mask for Too Long?

Prolonged usage of certain masks can cause some health concerns.

Mostly False
Are Vegetarians Safe from COVID-19?

A claim alleges the World Health Organization found that vegetarians are unaffected by COVID-19 because the virus survives in animal fat.