The Brief: As the Coronavirus (COVID 19) spreads worldwide, so do panic, misinformation, jokes, and memes about it.
Coronavirus memes are reactions to the COVID-19 virus that’s spreading worldwide, causing illness, death, and hits to the global economy. Coronavirus has killed over 2,800 and infected over 83,000 worldwide. The virus has been found in over 50 countries and one case of community-spread COVID-19 has been reported in the United States. The World Health Organization said the risk of COVID-19 spreading and having a global impact is “very high.” The spread of the virus has had negative implications for national and global economies.
There have even been reports that consumers are less likely to buy Corona beer because its name is similar to that of the virus and the international virus simulation video game Plague Inc. has been banned from the Chinese app store.
As with the World War III memes of January 2020, Coronavirus memes both serve as a coping mechanism and as a way to turn a serious situation into a joke. With the spread of memes and other related content online, there are risks that unverified and inaccurate posts may spread misinformation and unwarranted hysteria. Some coronavirus-related memes have been a source of racism and xenophobia against Chinese and Asian people, referencing the virus’s initial outbreak in Wuhan, China.
Social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok have added measures to prevent the spread of misinformation including directing people who search “coronavirus” to information from the CDC and highlighting official content made by public health officials and medical professionals. In spite of these measures, fake news about the virus continues to spread both online and off, by both individuals and, in some cases, government officials.
For better or for worse, Coronavirus (COVID-19) memes with tones ranging from dark humor to complete mockery of the situation to total panic are circulating online.
One of many Plague Inc. memes:
A surprise attack kick meme:
A Surreal Meme Man panik vs. kalm meme:
When white people find out you can’t get the coronavirus from drinking coronas pic.twitter.com/AOUx3YC8Fu
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) February 28, 2020
quick q about coronavirus: is it bad if my literal favorite hobby is taking out my retainer, putting it loose in my pocket or bra, then putting in back, with my full hand, in my mouth
— Megan Amram (@meganamram) February 28, 2020