Ipsos MORI isn’t trying to kill you with Covid tests

5 February 2021
What was claimed

The name ‘Ipsos MORI’ is Latin for ‘they die’.

Our verdict

Not really. This is what online translators translate 'Ipsos mori' to, but in reality it is garbled ungrammatical Latin. Ipsos MORI says its name was created from the merger of two companies and doesn’t mean anything.

What was claimed

You are going to die if you get tested for Covid-19.

Our verdict

This is false. There are no reports of anyone dying because of a Covid-19 test. It is important to get tested if you have symptoms.

A number of posts on social media claim that the name of market research company Ipsos MORI translates to ‘they die’ in Latin. A TikTok video being shared widely on Whatsapp warns people this means they will die if they get a Covid-19 test. Other claims on Facebook also warn about the company name. 

Online translators do say that Ipsos MORI translates to ‘they die’ in English (although in fact the literal translation is more garbled and not grammatically correct). 

On its website, Ipsos MORI says its name “doesn’t mean anything” and was formed in 2005 by the merger of Ipsos—a company founded in France in 1975 which took its name from the Latin phrase ‘ipso facto’ (meaning ‘by that very fact’)—and Market and Opinion Research International (MORI), which was founded in the UK in 1969.

Ipsos MORI has been working for the Department for Health and Social Care, along with Imperial College London, on a home testing programme to track levels of Covid-19 infection in the community, including among people who do not have symptoms. Participants were randomly selected and asked to take a Covid-19 test, but taking part is voluntary.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been tested as part of the programme, and so far seven reports detailing the results have been published. Each of the three reports published in October, November and December alone included results from hundreds of thousands of volunteers in England.

Between 13 November and 3 December, over 160,000 volunteers were tested as part of the research. But in the whole of November, just under 48,000 deaths were registered in England, and under 53,000 in December.  If taking a test and taking part in this research killed you, we would expect the death toll to be considerably higher than this. 

More than 71.5 million Covid-19 tests have been conducted across the UK since the pandemic began. There are no reports of tests causing death. If you experience Covid-19 symptoms, or are asked to take a test by a health professional or NHS Test and Trace, you should do so.

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