The phrase “COVID-14” landed on the top trending list of local Twitter because of a video message by Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado where she falsely referred to the viral disease as such.
The city chief addressed her constituents through a Facebook Live on Tuesday afternoon where she gave them updates on the number of COVID-19 cases in Bacoor, as well as measures implemented by the local city government.
In the last part of the video where she was about to sign off, Mercado falsely called COVID-19 as “COVID-14” and urged her constituents to practice the “bayanihan” spirit in light of the pandemic.
Posted by Lani M. Revilla on Tuesday, April 7, 2020
The video was then edited by online users where they included the part in which Mercardo erroneously called it COVID-14. It was also uploaded on Twitter, where it gained traction.
— KING⚡ (@kingsalamat) April 7, 2020
A Filipino Twitter user called it “fake news,” which is prohibited under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.
“I thought there’s a new virus called covid 14 and found out it was just a meme. Fake news is so unnecessary nowadays,” she wrote with a laughing emoji.
The law prohibits anyone from spreading false information about the virus on social media and other platforms.
They are also prohibited from taking advantage of the global health crisis as a means “to prey on public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails or similar acts.”
Mercardo is not the only one who has falsely called the virus another term.
Trump supporter Bill Mitchell, the founder of radio program “YourVoice America,” has referred to COVID-19 as “COVID-14” twice on his official Twitter account.
The number 14 is not related to the virus. It is, however, the required number of days spent for self-quarantine.
A person who was exposed or has traveled from a place with confirmed COVID-19 cases are required to undergo self-quarantine.
Origin of COVID-19
The World Health Organization said that the official name of the viral disease currently afflicting the globe is COVID-19, which is derived from the term “coronavirus” and 2019, the year it was first detected.
It was previously called as 2019-nCoV (which referred to 2019- novel coronavirus) and the Wuhan coronavirus, which is now discouraged to avoid racism towards residents of the Chinese city, Wuhan, that is believed to be the outbreak epicenter.
Meanwhile, the official name of the virus remained to be the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2, according to the Coronavirus Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.
“Because COVID-19 is the name of the disease, not the virus, it is not accurate to write a new virus called COVID-19. Instead: A new virus caused a disease called COVID-19,” the Associated Press said.