sarcastic copypasta used to make jokes about how nature is healing due to social distancing measures.

We Are The Virus

Part of a series on COVID-19 Pandemic. [View Related Entries]

Updated Apr 20, 2020 at 09:24AM EDT by Adam.

Added Mar 27, 2020 at 01:24PM EDT by Adam.

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We Are The Virus refers to a catchphrase associated with environmentalists which argues that the environment's improvement during the period of social distancing brought on by the Coronavirus outbreak proves that humanity is "the virus" and the Coronavirus is earth's "vaccine" or "cure." After several tweets making this point spread on Twitter, others parodied them by posting pictures of garbage or photoshopped images and humorously suggested the same thing.


The wave of self-quarantining that came as a result of the social distancing practices employed by multiple cities and states across the globe led to some positive unintended consequences for the environment. For example, air quality improved[1] in China and the United States. Others claimed that canals in Venice were cleaner, though this was false. Canals in Venice were clearer and it was possible to see more wildlife there due to decreased boat traffic, but they were not cleaner. While there were some short-term positive environmental impacts due to social distancing, the idea that earth was "healing" was not true.

On March 17th, 2020, Twitter user @ThomasSchulz[2] tweeted:

Wow… Earth is recovering
- Air pollution is slowing down
- Water pollution is clearing up
- Natural wildlife returning home
Coronavirus is Earth’s vaccine
We’re the virus.

While others had tweeted similar sentiments, this tweet spread widely, gaining over 70,000 retweets and 290,000 likes (shown below).

Tom @ThomasSchulz Wow... Earth is recovering - Air pollution is slowing down - Water pollution is clearing up - Natural wildlife returning home Coronavirus is Earth's vaccine We're the virus 11:25 AM · Mar 17, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone


The trend was mocked by YouTuber Justin Whang, who wrote, "People saying shit like 'woah dude what if like coronavirus is the cure we are the real virus' should cure themselves"[8] (shown below).

Justin Whang @JustinWhang People saying s--- like "woah dude what if like coronavirus is the cure we are the real virus" should cure themselves. 4:30 PM · Mar 18, 2020 · Twitter for Android

People began parodying the sentiment a week later. For example, Twitter user @hortonhearseusa_[3] posted photoshops featuring exotic animals appearing in unusual places, gaining over 3,500 retweets and 17,000 likes (shown below, left). Twitter user @zenzor1[4] tweeted a picture of an extinct Liopleurodon swimming in Australia, gaining over 70 retweets and 240 likes (shown below, right).

Alex Horton @hortonhearsa_ Just been for a walk around Hartlepool and took these photos. Look closely. The wildlife is starting to return. The Earth is starting to heal. Maybe WE are the virus 77327 0142 2807L ww. SICILIANO'S EXPR НННЫ xen @xenzor1 The effects of recent events and reduced traffic on the Yarra is so much that Liopleurodons have actually come back from the Late Jurassic period to swim. Stunning. #Melbourne

Others posted pictures of trash in the wild, such as washed up bikes and scooters, as though they were animals. For example, Twitter user @hamishtaylor[5] posted washed up bikes, gaining over 700 retweets and 3,900 likes (shown below, left). User @taladorei[6] made a similar joke showing lime green scooters, gaining over 77,000 retweets and 425,000 likes (shown below, right). Jokes were covered by Junkee.[7]

Hamish Taylor @HamishTaylor31 With the lockdown causing a drop in pollution, the world is beginning to heal. Obikes have returned to the Yarra 2:10 AM · Mar 26, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone ronnie mcdonnie @taladorei with everyone on lockdown, the lime scooters are finally returning to the river. nature is healing, we are the virus.

Various Examples

Garrett/GGTTW @GifDadsPad Garretts I wanted to go to the bathroom and found this. Nature claims its place. We are the virus, the earth is healing @SamStride93 We've been told to stay in since Monday and if you look closely you can see the wildlife has started to return to Hemel. The earth is healing. Maybe WE are the virus alam LELES MARKS& SPENCER Stephen Curry @lebraughnjayyms with humans on lockdown the world is thriving and creatures are returning to their habitats. nature is healing, we are the virus. ahmed with an e @alexlockheart with everyone on lockdown, the cakes are finally returning to the ocean. nature is healing, we are the virus. COVEKI Токсичен1 @Covek1 Nature is healing, we are the virus! 7:35 AM · Mar 27, 2020 · Twitter Web App

Search Interest

External References

[1] USA Today – Fact check COVID-19 crisis has not created decreased long-term human environmental impact

[2] Twitter – ThomasSchulz

[3] Twitter – @hortonmeade_

[4] Twitter – xenzor1

[5] Twitter – hamishtaylor31

[6] Twitter – Taladorei

[7] Junkee – "People Are Dunking On Eco-Fascists Who Think We Are The Virus And Coronavirus Is The Cure

[8] Twitter – @justinWhang

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