False claim: COVID-19 stands for Certification of Vaccination Identification by Artificial Intelligence​

Social media users have been sharing images online that claim that COVID-19 is an abbreviation for Certificate of Vaccination Identification by Artificial Intelligence ( here , ​ and ). The posts often include a black and white photograph of a soldier and two men while the soldier checks a document.

In one post, the top part of the image breaks down each letter of COVID-19 by the corresponding word and then says, “let this sink in.... Certificate Of Vaccination Identification (COVID).” It explains the number 19 by saying it is a reference to artificial intelligence, or A.I. (the first and ninth letters of the alphabet).

There is no evidence to support this claim. The images do not offer a source or justification. 

A reverse Google image search of the photograph reveals that it was taken in 1941 in Warsaw, Poland, during World War II. An Austrian digital database provides a description of the photograph, reading (in German): "German guard controls Jewish workers at the ghetto entrance." ( here )​

The World Health Organization (WHO) explains on its website how the novel coronavirus was named. ​This virus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease it causes is called COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus ( here )​.

The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) gives viruses their names according to their genetic structure and for the benefit of scientific research. It named the virus as SARS-CoV-2 on February 11, 2020, due to its genetic relation to SARS. 

The term COVID-19 refers to “coronavirus disease 2019" ( here )​.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains on its website: “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”.” ( here. )​


False: COVID-19 is not an abbreviation for Certificate of Vaccination Identification by Artificial Intelligence, it stands for “coronavirus disease 2019”

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work  here  .