April 30, 2020 / 2:44 PM / 3 months ago

False claim: 1981 Farmers' Almanac predicted the 2020 coronavirus outbreak

Social media users have been sharing an image online that allegedly shows text from the 1981 Farmer’s Almanac, predicting the 2020 coronavirus pandemic ( here ) and ( here ). ​

This claim is false. This page comes from a book called “End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World” by Sylvia Browne, an American author who claimed to be a psychic. The paragraph visible in the photograph in the claim is visible on Google books ( here ). ​The page includes the text, “In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments”.

Reuters has done a similar fact-check that debunks the claim that a 1981 Dean Koontz book predicted the coronavirus, some iterations of which included this page from Browne’s book ( here ). ​The photograph has been recycled into a new false claim. The reason this claim names the year 1981 may be due to the publishing date of Koontz's book.

The Old Farmer's Almanac is a publication that was founded in 1792. It is a periodical that has weather forecasts, moon phases and times, gardening tips, recipes and other articles, boasting to be “North America’s oldest continuously published periodical” ( here ).

The page in the post does not belong to the 1981 edition of the Almanac.

VERDICT

False. The 1981 Farmer’s Almanac did not predict the 2020 coronavirus outbreak. Text shown on social media originates from “End of Days: Predictions and prophecies about the end of the world” by American author Sylvia Browne.

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

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