Every so often, a new theory pops up on social media about the meaning of "COVID-19," the name given to the disease caused by the coronavirus strain that began spreading in late 2019 and continued into 2021.
Invariably, those theories are pretty outlandish. The latest one emerged in a series of tweets that claimed that “COVID” stands for “Certificate of Vaccination ID,” and that “19” corresponds to the letters “AI,” which stands for “Artificial Intelligence.”
We covered the meaning of COVID-19 in March 2020, when the disease was spreading globally.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) announced “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” as the name of the newly discovered virus on Feb. 11, 2020. As the WHO observed, “This name was chosen because the virus is genetically related to the coronavirus responsible for the SARS outbreak of 2003. While related, the two viruses are different.”
On the same day, the WHO announced “COVID-19” as the name of the new disease caused by that virus. The first part of that name is a shortening of the phrase “coronavirus disease,” and the latter part reflects that the disease was first reported in the year 2019.
Since COVID-19 does not stand for “Certificate of Vaccination ID” and “Artificial Intelligence,” we rate the above claims as “False.”