FACT CHECK: Did The CDC Remove The Words ‘COVID-19 Pandemic’ From Its Website?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) removed the words “COVID-19 Pandemic” from its website and replaced them with “COVID-19 Outbreak.”

Verdict: False

The CDC still has the words “COVID-19 pandemic” on its website. The coronavirus is a pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Fact Check: 

Social media platforms are replete with misinformation about the coronavirus. This particular post attempts to suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t actually a pandemic by claiming the CDC removed the words “COVID-19 Pandemic” and replaced them with “COVID-19 Outbreak” on its website.

A review of the CDC website shows that the words “COVID-19 pandemic” still appear on various pages. For example, one page is titled “Travel During The COVID-19 Pandemic.” Other pages on the website, titled “Forecasting: Background” and “Global COVID-19,” also refer to the coronavirus as the “COVID-19 pandemic.”

The post’s claim appears to stem from confusion about the CDC using both of the phrases on its website’s homepage. The CDC has in some instances described COVID-19 as an outbreak on its homepage since at least February, an archived version of the page shows. (RELATED: Did The CDC Revise Its COVID-19 Death Count To Show That Only 9,210 People ‘Actually Died’ From COVID-19?)

While the CDC does use the words “COVID-19 outbreak” on its website, that doesn’t mean the coronavirus isn’t a pandemic. An outbreak is defined as a “higher-than-expected number of occurrences of disease in a specific location and time,” according to the CDC website. The CDC explains how COVID-19 became a pandemic from the initial outbreak.

“An outbreak is called an epidemic when there is a sudden increase in cases,” reads the CDC website. “As COVID-19 began spreading in Wuhan, China, it became an epidemic. Because the disease then spread across several countries and affected a large number of people, it was classified as a pandemic.”

The WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic in early March and still categorizes it as such at the time of publication.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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