Fact Check: COVID-19 is still a pandemic, even if CDC site calls it an 'outbreak'

Brett Kelman

The claim: The CDC removed all uses of 'COVID-19 pandemic' from its website because the virus was never actually a pandemic

A meme shared on Facebook says the coronavirus is not a pandemic. As evidence, it claims the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention removed references to “the COVID-19 pandemic” from its website.

The post includes a screenshot of the CDC mobile homepage, which says at the top, "Coronavirus Disease 2019: CDC is responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak."

The homepage of the mobile website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention refers to the coronavirus as an "outbreak."

One Facebook user posted the meme along with these comments: "Would you look at that. Yet still out there wearing a (mask), still mentally messing up kids, still have insane travel restrictions, still won’t open all business." That post has 280 shares. The user did not respond to a request for comment.

Many who shared this meme included #OpenAmerica in their posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Has the pandemic been downgraded?

This meme can be proved untrue in a few seconds. 

The CDC website still refers to COVID-19 as a pandemic in multiple places. For example, it does so here and here and here and here and here and here and here and also here and here and here.

On Sept. 15, the CDC released guidance for schools on how to make reopening decisions, referring to the "pandemic."

Fact check: Post online misstates Sturgis Rally's coronavirus cases

What is a pandemic?

A pandemic is defined as an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area, such as a continent or the entire globe.

On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. On March 13, a national emergency was declared in the USA related to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

As of Wednesday, the coronavirus had infected more than 31.6 million people in 188 countries and regions, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the virus worldwide. There are very few countries where the virus has not surfaced, including several isolated island nations.

Our ruling: False

We rate this claim as FALSE. The meme is wrong. The COVID-19 outbreak, though often described that way, is still a pandemic and has been since March 11. 

Our fact check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.