FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims A Lysol Product Label Proves The Coronavirus Isn’t A ‘New Virus’

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 1,200 times claims that information labels on Lysol disinfectant prove the novel coronavirus isn’t a “new virus.”

Verdict: False

The label saying Lysol is effective against “human coronavirus” is not a specific reference to the novel 2019 coronavirus that emerged late last year. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to Middle East respiratory syndrome.

Fact Check:

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread, so have false claims that companies knew about the new coronavirus before the outbreak.

“This is a can of Lysol from 2016 that was used in a corporate training film,” claims one such post. “You can see that it states that this product prevents the spread of Human Coronavirus. That’s odd because we were told on January 5, 2020 that this is a ‘new virus’ from China.”

The pictured “Human Coronavirus” label, however, isn’t a specific reference to the novel 2019 coronavirus. The post appears to confuse the generic “human coronavirus” term with the novel 2019 virus that had not been previously identified in humans prior to it emerging in China in December.

Per the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Human coronaviruses, of which there are seven that can infect people, were first identified in the 60s, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cleaning brands, including Lysol, can put the pictured label on certain products because they have previously proven effective against other strains of coronavirus – not because they knew about the virus before the outbreak started. (RELATED: Does A Bill Gates-Funded Research Institute Own The Patent For Coronavirus?)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows disinfectant makers to apply for approval to claim their products are effective against new viruses through its Emerging Viral Pathogen program if data shows their products are “effective against harder-to-kill viruses.” Through that process, Lysol and other cleaning product companies received approval to note their products are “qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2,” the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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