Artificial intelligence

Fact check: COVID-19 is short for ‘coronavirus disease 2019’

Published 7:03 p.m. ET Dec. 30, 2020 | Updated 7:04 p.m. ET Dec. 30, 2020


The World Health Organization says the world is close to seeing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic but warned that inequalities in distributing a vaccine and other therapeutics could have deep economic and social consequences. (Dec. 4) AP Domestic

The claim: COVID-19 stands for Certificate of Vaccine ID Chip Artificial Intelligence

A breakdown of the official name for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, reveals sinister implications, according to a Dec. 26 Instagram post.

“COVID-19: C = Certificate, O = Of, V = Vaccine, ID = the mandatory I.D. chip Which is planned to. accompany the vaccine, 1= (A is first letter), 9= I is the 9th letter 19 stands for A.I. (Artificial Intelligence),” the poster, who is unidentified, explains.

“Oh! So that’s what it stands for!” reads the caption from user, parlertakes.

Parlertakes reposted the claim to Instagram from Parler, a conservative-leaning social media platform. The account “looks at Parler so you don’t have to,” according to its profile page.

USA TODAY reached out to parlertakes for comment.

More: Fact Check: Acronym ‘COVID-19’ has nothing to do with vaccination certificates or AI

What does COVID-19 really mean?

The World Health Organization assigned the name COVID-19 to the coronavirus on Feb. 11, according to a statement.

“We now have a name for the #2019nCoV disease: COVID-19. I’ll spell it: C-O-V-I-D hyphen one nine – COVID-19,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said according to a Feb. 11 tweet.

The name was released months before the first vaccine against COVID-19 became available in November, according to USA TODAY.

Per the WHO’s statement, “COVID-19” was designed to be straightforward and unbiased.

“Following best practices, the name of the disease was chosen to avoid inaccuracy and stigma and therefore did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people,” the WHO explained.

Detailed information on how COVID-19 was chosen is also available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV,’ the CDC explains in a Sept. 1 fact sheet.

More: Fact check: Bill Gates is not planning to microchip the world through a COVID-19 vaccine

There is no proof that COVID-19 was a coded acronym for microchipping or artificial intelligence. Claims of injecting microchips into vaccine recipients are false, according to USA TODAY.

Other social media posts assigning alternate meanings to COVID-19 appeared on Facebook in March and in August. Both were debunked by USA TODAY and PolitiFact.

Our ruling: False

We rate this claim FALSE, based on our research. COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 19, not “Certification of Vaccine ID chip.” The name of the virus has nothing to do with artificial intelligence or microchipping, as the claim states.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.


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“Oh! So that’s what it stands for!” reads the caption from user, parlertakes.


Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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