Rumor Review

COVID-19 video taken out of context

body bag video image from Ecuador: Covid-19

This screenshot of a video circulating on social media claims to show body bags piling up in a New York City hospital. Is this claim true?”

NO: The video in this tweet was not shot at a hospital in New York City. YES: It was captured at the Hospital General del Norte de Guayaquil IESS Los Ceibos in Guayaquil, Ecuador. YES: The same video clip has previously been taken out of context to make false claims about conditions in hospitals in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.

Note: The fact check linked above, published by the Spanish fact-checking organization, is a good example of using digital forensics tools and methods to verify the location and other details of a piece of content. This tweet thread by Mark Snoeck, an open source investigator, provides additional evidence that the video was shot at IESS Los Ceibos by comparing interior photos of the hospital (from Google Maps and Flickr) with stills from the video:

hospital image debunked COVID-19

An image from Snoeck’s tweet thread compares two stills from the viral video (far right, top and bottom) with a photo of the interior of the Hospital General del Norte de Guayaquil IESS Los Ceibos in Guayaquil, Ecuador, to match details such as signage, electrical outlets, trim and door. used similar methods in its fact check.


Netanyahu shares Hallmark Channel clip

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent several members of his cabinet a video clip of soldiers dumping bodies in landfills, claiming it was proof that Iran was concealing the number of COVID-19 deaths, Axios reported on April 1. According to the item by Barak Ravid, a diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s Channel 13 News who also writes for Axios, the video had been circulating in Iran and was sent to Netanyahu by his national security advisor, Meir Ben-Shabbat. Netanyahu talked about it during a conference call with his cabinet on March 31, and several people asked to see it, Ravid wrote. The video was actually a clip from a 2007 Hallmark Channel mini-series, Pandemic.” The prime minister’s office told Ravid that the cabinet members who received the video were told that its authenticity had not been confirmed.

False and dangerous mask-wearing advice

COVID-19: false advice on wearing masks

Beware social media posts from unverified accounts providing health advice. This post office guidance on two ways to wear medical masks, depending on whether you are sick or not. Should you trust this advice?

NO: Medical masks are not intended to be worn two different ways — one if you’re sick (and trying to avoid infecting others) and the other if you’re not sick (and trying to avoid being infected). YES: The white side is absorbent; it should always be worn next to your mouth to stop droplets from passing through the mask and into the air. YES: The colored side faces out. YES: A number of graphics circulating on social media make this same false claim.

Note: This is a good example of how serious misinformation can be.