Facts Matter: How a note about medical workers' struggles was turned into a lie about a COVID-19 hoax

  • A construction worker walks past beds readied for use if needed in a Renown Hospital parking structure in Reno, Nevada. The alternative care site opened last month as COVID-19 cases surged. A photo of the once empty site was used to claim COVID-19 is a hoax, a claim retweeted Dec. 1 by President Donald Trump.

    A construction worker walks past beds readied for use if needed in a Renown Hospital parking structure in Reno, Nevada. The alternative care site opened last month as COVID-19 cases surged. A photo of the once empty site was used to claim COVID-19 is a hoax, a claim retweeted Dec. 1 by President Donald Trump. Andy Barron/The Reno Gazette-Journal via Associated Press/April 14

 
 
Updated 12/5/2020 3:35 PM

A selfie taken by a Nevada doctor showing an alternative care facility before it opened has been reposted by social media users falsely claiming the empty site is proof the coronavirus is a hoax, according to The Associated Press.

"No patients, folded up beds, wrapped up equipment that's never been used!" one Twitter user wrote. "They spent millions on this scam and never seen a single patient in this fake hospital!"

 

But the Reno, Nevada, care site, set up in the Renown Regional Medical Center's parking garage, has treated 243 coronavirus patients since it was opened last month, hospital officials told the AP. The alternate space, which can accommodate more than 1,400 patients, is planned for a potential overflow of COVID-19 patients who don't require long-term care.

Dr. Jacob Keeperman, who works at the hospital, posted the selfie on Twitter Nov. 29, showing the site before any patients had arrived. His message disputed the idea that the virus is a hoax.

"I want to thank all the incredible staff who are Fighting the Good Fight to help all those suffering from COVID-19," Keeperman wrote. "With 5 deaths in the last 32 hours, everyone is struggling to keep their head up."

President Donald Trump retweeted the false claim of a scam, along with the comment, "Fake election results in Nevada, also!"

Nevada saw a surge in coronavirus cases last month with a record-high 1,590 people hospitalized on Dec. 1, the AP said.

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Legal restrictions set for poll watchers

President Donald Trump has continually claimed he won the presidential election that has been called for President-elect Joe Biden.

During a Nov. 25 call into a news conference, Trump said poll watchers were not allowed to do their jobs.

"We have poll watcher affidavits piled up to the ceiling," he said. "The poll watchers weren't allowed to watch. They were, in many cases, whisked out of the room, not only in pens that were 20, 30, 40, 60, 100 feet away where you couldn't even see."

Affidavits submitted as evidence are not established as fact until a judge or jury decides that, according to The Washington Post. And nearly all the affidavits from poll watchers presented by Trump's campaign were dismissed by judges because they failed to show serious fraud.

Many affidavits merely contained complaints about rude behavior or unpleasant looks from poll workers or other watchers.

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled Nov. 17 that a waist-high barrier was legally set up 15-18 feet from election workers, which allowed poll watchers "to observe the board conducting its activities as prescribed under the Election Code."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

CNN didn't flip on election call

A recent Facebook post includes a video that supposedly shows news network CNN reversing a Nov. 7 report that Joe Biden won the presidential election.

"Watch the same CNN that projected Biden a winner the same CNN is now saying that Trump will win!" the post reads.

CNN, along with other networks, called the election for Biden on Nov. 7, according to PolitiFact.com. And there has been no reversal of that call.

The video clip accompanying the false information is actually from Sept. 27, more than a month before Election Day. CNN host Fareed Zakaria was explaining how President Trump could win reelection without winning the popular vote.

"The Constitution calls for states to choose the presidential electors who in turn gather to vote for the president," Zakaria said. He went on to explain "how Trump could lose and still win."

PolitiFact notes nothing on CNN's website suggests doubt about Biden's victory.

Recent headlines include, "Arizona certifies Biden's victory," "Georgia Republican officials reject Trump's calls to overturn election results" and "Biden picks up votes in Milwaukee County after Trump-requested recount."

Fake news about reindeer

It's the Christmas season, so, of course, the internet is filling up with false information about reindeer.

A recent meme claims reindeer are the only mammals that can see ultraviolet, or UV, light.

Not true, according to Snopes.com. This is an example of social media users posting "fun memes with purported wintry arctic facts."

In 2011, researchers found that arctic reindeers' visual range extended into ultraviolet light, Snopes said. UV light would normally damage the eyes of mammals. They concluded that reindeer had evolved protection against UV light to provide a visual advantage in the arctic winter.

However, 20 years earlier, scientists had determined that rodents could see UV light. This was the first mammal discovered with this capability. Therefore, reindeer are not the only mammal with the ability to see UV light.

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