The Coronavirus Collection: History

The spread of COVID-19 across the world led to a renewed interest in pandemics of the past.

10 Articles
  • Published 10 June 2020
10 Articles

The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease across the world in early 2020 led to a renewed interest in pandemics of the past, from the so-called “Spanish Flu” of 1918 to a flu outbreak in the 1960s to the Black Death. Snopes looked to the past.

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.

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.

How Did ‘Spanish Flu’ Get Its Name?

The influenza outbreak of 1918 tops historians' list for deadly pandemics.

Does This Photograph Show Women Wearing ‘Flu Masks’?

Masks were commonly worn during the 1918 "Spanish flu" pandemic, but this photograph doesn't show them.

Does ‘Quarantine’ Originate from the Word ‘Forty’ (Days) in Italian?

A "quarantine" separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Was This Pandemic Poem Written by Kathleen O’Mara in 1919?

A global pandemic did indeed inspire this poem. But that's as far as it goes.

Was This Letter Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in Quarantine?

Apparently all jokes need disclaimers.

Did Woodstock Occur During a Pandemic as Lethal as COVID-19?

Over the span of 18 months, the 1968 influenza pandemic killed approximately 100,000 people in the U.S.

Have Plagues Repeated Exactly Every 100 Years?

The predictive value of cherry-picked data is generally low to insignificant.

Is This a 1918 Quarantine Ad for the Bell Telephone?

We'll say this much: This is a real advertisement from the New York phone company.

Is Corona the Patron Saint of Plagues?

St. Corona was likely martyred sometime in the 170s, but it's doubtful she was the saint of pandemics.