February 27, 2020 / 9:54 PM / 19 days ago

Partly false claim: information labels on disinfectants prove that the coronavirus causing the current outbreak is not new.

Multiple videos on Facebook, (examples here and here) make the claim that information labels on Lysol disinfectant products prove that the "human coronavirus" is not a new phenomenon. Other claims in the videos hint at the existence of a possible conspiracy to keep this information from the public.

By "human coronavirus", these videos implicitly refer to the recent global outbreak (Reuters report here)of a particular strain of the human coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, detailed here , which causes the disease known as COVID-19 (the name given to the current outbreak) as explained here .

The videos first show individuals in supermarket aisles browsing cleaning products. They then pick up different Lysol products like sprays and cleaning wipes. The camera zooms in on the text of the information labels that read that the products are effective against “99.9% of viruses and bacteria”, including “germs” behind the “human coronavirus”. 

It is true that the “human coronavirus” is not new. 

According to the CDC (see here), human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. Seven different kinds of human coronaviruses exist, including 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1. Most human coronaviruses cause “mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses”, similar to the common cold. Coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and become new human coronaviruses. The CDC makes clear on its site that the information they provide applies "to common human coronaviruses and should not be confused with coronavirus disease 2019 (formerly referred to as 2019 Novel Coronavirus)", referring to the strain of the virus behind the disease COVID-19. Further explanation, here .

SARS-CoV-2, the new strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, was identified after an investigation into an outbreak late last year in Wuhan, China. Currently, there is no recommended antiviral treatment to combat the disease , according to the CDC (see here). According to the latest report from the World Health Organization, here , dated February 27, 2020, over 82,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide, mostly in China. 

In accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency's Emerging Pathogen Policy (reference here), specific Lysol products have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to the SARS-CoV-2, including previously identified strains of the human coronavirus. 

On its website here Lysol says, “Specific Lysol products have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) on hard, non-porous surfaces.” 

When the videos refer to the “human coronavirus”, they are evidently referring to the new strain of the virus and question why knowledge of its existence has been kept hidden until now. 

In a video in English, a man is heard saying, “How odd is that? They been knowing about this for years and they say they don’t have a cure? Look what it says on the back of this Lysol spray.”

The information label on the Lysol products, however, refers to previously identified strains of the human coronavirus, not the new strain behind the outbreak of the disease COVID-19 that has gained recent global notoriety. 

VERDICT

Partly false: information labels on Lysol disinfectants correctly prove that the human coronavirus is not new, but videos on social media misleadingly suggest that the latest strain was previously known to science.

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