The Coronavirus Collection: Origins and Spread

24 Articles

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

  • Published 6 March 2020
Image via CDC/Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin

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...
  • News
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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....
  • News
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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.
  • Fact Check
  • False
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coronavirus
Did Health Experts ‘Predict’ New Coronavirus Could Kill 65 Million People? Some details from a mock health exercise were confused with real-world reports.
  • Fact Check
  • False
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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.
  • Fact Check
  • False
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cough covid
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...
  • News
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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...
  • Fact Check
  • True
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coronavirus graph
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.
  • Fact Check
  • Mixture
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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.
  • Fact Check
  • True
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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."
  • Fact Check
  • Correct Attribution
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Can Contaminated Money Spread the New Coronavirus? The World Health Organization has advised people to “wash their hands after handling banknotes.”
  • News
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Is COVID-19 Being Spread Through Gas Pumps? Gas pump handles are one of many common objects that could be contaminated, so consumers...
  • Fact Check
  • Mixture
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covid 19 found on toilet paper
Was COVID-19 Found in Packages of Toilet Paper? The last thing readers needed amid the 2020 coronavirus pandemic was fiction disguised as "news."
  • Fact Check
  • False
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coronavirus heat trump warm weather COVID-19
Will Warm Weather Kill Coronavirus? U.S. President Donald Trump said he hoped the virus would go away in April 2020...
  • Fact Check
  • Unproven
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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.
  • Fact Check
  • False
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pat robertson
Did Pat Robertson Blame Oral Sex for COVID-19? A routine review of content labeled satire.
  • Fact Check
  • Labeled Satire
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Should Fabric Masks Be Sanitized in a Microwave? Experts do not recommend heating up your personal protective gear like leftovers.
  • Fact Check
  • False
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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...
  • News
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Is This COVID-19 Mask Efficacy Chart Accurate? The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face mask in public during the COVID-19 pandemic to...
  • Fact Check
  • Mostly False
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Tasuku Honjo
Did Nobel Laureate Tasuku Honjo Say COVID-19 Was ‘Man-Made’? Unlike new viruses, quotes can be manufactured with ease.
  • Fact Check
  • False
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luc montagnier covid coronavirus
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...
  • Fact Check
  • Correct Attribution
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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...
  • Fact Check
  • Mostly True
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Is It Dangerous to Wear a COVID-19 Protective Mask for Too Long? Prolonged usage of certain masks can cause some health concerns.
  • Fact Check
  • Mostly False
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Are Vegetarians Safe from COVID-19? A claim alleges the World Health Organization found that vegetarians are unaffected by COVID-19 because...
  • Fact Check
  • False
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