False: Coronavirus, translated from Latin, means "heart attack virus."

By: Ishita Goel
January 9 2023

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False: Coronavirus, translated from Latin, means


The Verdict False

Coronavirus was named for its appearance after the crown-like formation of spikes found on the surface of the virus. "Corona" is Latin for crown.

Claim ID a494832c


The resurgence of COVID-19 cases in China has not only led to rising concerns worldwide but has also seen the spread of misinformation regarding the pandemic increase. A Facebook user shared a screenshot of the Google Translate web service showing that when translated from Latin to English, the term "coronavirus" means "heart attack virus." In the post, the user noted that the word "corona" has six letters and that the sum of the letters, when assigned numerical values according to their position in the English alphabet, adds to 66. Implying that the word "corona" is related to the number 666, which is believed by some to be the number of the beast, the user tries to cast a shadow of doubt over the origin of the virus' name. In popular beliefs, the number 666 is generally used to signify the devil or evil. By equating "coronavirus" with "heart attack virus," the user implies that the term has "another occult" association and that people should "question everything." However, this translation and interpretation provided by the user are erroneous. 

 In Fact

We found that when the word "corona" is fed into Google Translate, in the same manner as seen in the viral screenshot, with the origin set to Latin, the translation provided for it is "heart wave virus," not "heart attack virus." Logically's research also confirmed that the coronavirus was not named after any of its effects or its nature, and no occult significance is embedded in its naming.

 According to U.K. Research and Innovation (UKRI), an initiative supported by the U.K. government, coronaviruses are a family of viruses responsible for respiratory and intestinal illnesses in humans and animals. In an article published in April 2020, The British Medical Journal (BMJ) noted the first description of human coronavirus was published in 1965. So far, seven coronaviruses have been reported to infect people. While they usually cause mild colds, they were also behind China's severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in the Arabian Peninsula. 

 The UKRI further explains that the name of the virus comes from the "distinctive appearance of their spikes" when viewed under a powerful microscope. These spike proteins surround the surface to resemble a "corona," Latin for "crown." According to World Health Organization (WHO), "Viruses are named based on their genetic structure to facilitate the development of diagnostic tests, vaccines, and medicines." On February 11, 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) named the virus "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)," up till then known as the "2019 novel coronavirus". The reason for this was that the virus, while different in other aspects, is genetically related to the coronavirus that had caused the SARS outbreak. On the same day, the WHO named the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus "COVID-19," short for "coronavirus disease 2019."

 Additionally, a paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the United States National Library of Medicine, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, titled "The Concept of the Crown and Its Potential Role in the Downfall of Coronavirus" in 2020 explains the origins of the term. "Corona," an English word first used in the 1500s, came directly from the Latin word for crown. Corona is derived from the Ancient Greek word κορώνη (korōnè), meaning "garland" or "wreath." The paper also reiterates that coronaviruses are "spherical or variable in shape and composed of an outer layer of lipid covered with a crown of club-shaped peplomers or spikes."

 Any implication that COVID-19 will automatically lead to a heart attack in the infected patient is also misleading. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, "type 1 heart attack, caused by a blood clot blocking one of the heart's arteries, is rare during or after COVID-19 infection." Type 2 heart attacks, caused by increased stress on the heart, are more common in those suffering from acute COVID-19. 

 Any connection between the term "Corona" and the "ominous" number 666 is also incidental and does not signify any "evil" or "occult" origins. The virus has caused severe disease, hospitalizations, and deaths worldwide, but its nature is not indicated by its name. False claims are being made by manipulating the etymology of the word used for the virus.

 The Verdict

The virus responsible for the coronavirus disease is named after its appearance and has no "occult" origins. The word "corona" bears no connection to the Latin word for "heart attack" but is derived from the Latin word for "crown." Therefore, we have marked the claim false.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.

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