On January 26, 2020, media outlets Alia, TV Pirveli, Rezonansi, newsposts, MediaMall, Guria TV and exclusivenews reported that a Chinese nurse, who released a video address, noted that 90,000 people have already been infected by coronavirus in Wuhan, whereas the Chinese government is reluctant to unveil exact figures. The media outlets refer to online media outlet, dailymail as their source, while the latter writes that the unnamed woman issued the warning in a social media video.
In addition, on January 26, 2020, Facebook page VideoDaily reported on alarming statistics of infected people and shared a program prepared by Russian news channel “Только факты” (Facts Only) about coronavirus. According to the program, as of January 24, over one million people have been infected by coronavirus in China, while the death toll has exceeded 100,000. VideoDaily’s post has over 32,000 shares.
The spread video address ascribed to the Chinese nurse, is inauthentic, according to BBC, because the woman in the video cannot be identified. Moreover, her suit and mask do not match the ones worn by medical staff in Hubei. As for the video story shared by VideoDaily, the provided statistics are exaggerated, because in fact, as of February 3, number of infected people does not exceed 18,000. In addition, one of the parts of the video footage includes false subtitles about the Chinese doctor allegedly saying that there are no beds in the hospital and people are dying.
1. Video footage, in which the Chinese nurse is allegedly talking about the alarming situation with coronavirus outbreak is manipulative.
In the spread video including English subtitles, an unidentified person claims that number of coronavirus-infected people is higher than the Chinese government announces and in fact, it reaches 90,000.
According to BBC, the video is inauthentic, because the person speaking in the video does not claim to be either a nurse or a doctor. Moreover, the person is wearing a suit and a mask that makes her identification difficult, however, her suit and mask do not match the ones worn by medical staff in Hubei.
The first photo depicts a doctor from Wuhan and the second photo is a screengrab from the video released on behalf of “the Chinese nurse.”
2. Based on the official data, number of confirmed infections does not exceed 18,000.
According to the video prepared by Russia’s “Только факты” and shared by VideoDaily, the death toll has reached 100,000 and one million people have been infected by coronavirus.
According to the official data, as of February 3, 17,488 people have been infected by coronavirus and death toll has reached 362. The recovery rate has surpassed the death rate as 523 recoveries have been confirmed.
In the video prepared by “Только факты” and shared by VideoDaily on Facebook, the doctor shown at 1:36 minutes is speaking on the phone. “Только факты”’s video does not include any subtitles in this part (1:20); however, according to the subtitles included to the version released by VideoDaily at 1:36, the doctor says that there are a lot of infected people in the hospital, they do not have enough beds and people are dying. In fact, these subtitles have been falsified as the doctor tells an unidentified person on the phone that she wants to meet the New Year at home, but cannot do it, because she has a lot of patients. The doctor feels nervous for this situation, but she does not mention anywhere that there are no beds for patients and many of them are dying.
About “Только факты”
According to “About us” section on YouTube, “Только факты” is an independent news channel for those who are sure that the sphere of interests of Russians is not limited solely to Ukrainian passions and the fight against ISIS.
“We are discussing not only news, but also on our channel you will find videos on the subject of history, alternative history, alternative science, technology of the past and future. Only facts, verified facts! The video is released once a week. The channel does not receive any funding, except for the monetization of YouTube and donations!”
Prepared by Mariam Topchishvili
Regional Network of Media Literacy Lab