Did the CDC warn people that eating morchella, the true morel mushrooms, increases your chance of contracting the coronavirus by 200%? No, that's not true: That is a prank being played by a self-proclaimed lover of the mushroom.
The claim originated from a Facebook post (archived here) where it was published by a user on the "Wild Edibles Missouri" Facebook page on March 13, 2020. It began:
CDC warns that Morchella, the true Morel mushroom, could increase your chances of contracting Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) by 200%
Users on social media saw this:
The "Wild Edibles Missouri" page has more than 17,000 members. A search of the CDC site for "morchella" turns up no results. A morchella is the most-prized wild mushroom in the world, cherished by gourmet cooks and mushroom lovers alike.
The user who published the post made clear in the comment thread that he was joking. Some didn't see the need for a crass prank when people are dying. "Sorry I suppose humor is helpful to deal with stress but I'm not ready to joke about this virus yet," one user said.
To date, the CDC has reported more than 3,400 cases of coronavirus in the United States, including at least 68 deaths.