VERIFY: Is a photo showing a COVID-19 swab test real?


WASHINGTON (TEGNA) - A photo popping up on social media showing a test for COVID-19 has a lot of people asking if it's real.

The captions mostly talk about how far back the swab has to go. The photo makes it look like it's going halfway through the person's head.

So is it true?

Our VERIFY team used sources with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, University of California, Davis Health and a reverse image search on Google, which made finding the image pretty straightforward and returned multiple results.

The oldest version of the image showed up on a UC Davis Health website on March 17.

The site said the diagram is a "nasopharyngeal swab test" and it also appears in a video from the CDC.

The sites confirm the nasopharyngeal swabs are a common testing method for viruses and it's the test that has to be done to test for COVID-19.

According to UC Davis Health, the swab is about six inches long and is inserted into the cavity between the nose and mouth. They keep it there for about 15 seconds, while rotating it and then repeat the swab in the other nostril.

It's not a pleasant process to watch or get, but it does collect enough material to test for the virus.

We can VERIFY the photo is real and does show a nasopharyngeal swab test that is currently being used to test for COVID-19.