FACT CHECK: Viral Image Falsely Claims The Novel Coronavirus Is ‘Simply The Common Cold’

Matt Noel | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook more than 3,300 times claims the novel coronavirus is “simply the common cold.”

“The Democrats are using it to promote fear,” reads the caption. “The Chinese are using it to control protestors and all along, it’s simply the common cold.”

Verdict: False

The novel coronavirus is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans before December. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stated it is distinct from human coronaviruses that cause the common cold.

Fact Check:

The novel coronavirus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. It has since spread to over 143 countries and territories and has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

A viral image falsely alleged in a post that the novel coronavirus is “simply the common cold,” despite the CDC saying it is a distinct new strain. (RELATED: Did The WHO Make A Coronavirus Infographic Warning Against Unprotected Sex With Animals?)

“A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified,” states the CDC website. “The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illnesses, like the common cold.”

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Four common human coronavirus strains – 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 – usually cause “mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold,” according to the CDC.

The disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is distinct from and can be much more severe than the common cold. It can cause fever, cough, shortness of breath and, in more severe cases, pneumonia, kidney failure and death, the WHO website states.

People who are older or have pre-existing medical conditions appear to develop the more serious symptoms more often than others, according to the WHO.

Matt Noel

Fact Check Reporter
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