The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has infected more than 92,300 people since it emerged in China last December. The rapidly spreading virus attacks the respiratory system with flu-like symptoms and has killed at least 3,093 people.
After appearing in China last year, the coronavirus has spread to more than 60 countries, with recent surges in South Korea, Italy and Iran.
The coronavirus’ reach has led many to bizarrely speculate the coronavirus was predicted in 1555 by the French apothecary and writer Michel de Nostredame, or Nostradamus.
Rita Giannini said: “Most of my family live in Italy and it’s quite worrying with what’s happening there with the Coronavirus.
“Most live in Central Italy in a small town of around 10 thousand. I hope is not what Nostradamus meant with what would happen to Italy. Thinking of you today dad.”
Another person said: “465 years ago, French prophet Nostradamus predicted about #Coronavirus”.
But did the French mystic ever warn the planet of an impending plague?
Nostradamus penned most of his supposed prophecies and predictions in his 1555 magnum opus, Les Propheties.
The book contains a series of four-lined poems dubbed quatrains, which Nostradamus’ followers believe are warnings for the future.
In one such quatrain, Nostradamus predicted terrible cataclysms.
The French mystic also wrote of a plague near Capellades in Quatrain 50.
Capellades is a town in the Catalonia region of Spain, found to the northeast of Barcelona.
At least 153 people in Spain have contracted the coronavirus since the disease broke out in December.
Century VIII, Quatrain 50 reads: “The plague around Capellades,
“Another famine is near to Sagunto;
“The knightly bastard of the good old man
“will cause the great one of Tunis to lose his head.”
Is there any evidence to back claims of Nostradamus’ prophetic powers?
Brian Dunning, the author of the Skeptoid podcast, believes Nostradamus’ writings have fallen prey to online conspiracies over the years.
The popular sceptic argued Nostradamus’ quatrains are often misrepresented on purposed and spread online by conspiracy theorists.
He said: “Nostradamus’ writings are exploited in a number of fallacious ways.
“Ambiguous and wrong translations, ‘creative’ interpretations, hoax writings, fictional accounts, and the breaking of non-existent codes within his quatrains all contribute to a vast body of work, all of it wrong, and many times the size of everything Nostradamus ever actually wrote.”