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- There are no credible reports that an Italian doctor was charged with murdering thousands of coronavirus patients.
- The photo illustrating the blog post is from an Indiana newspaper that reported on the arrest of a doctor in 2014 on drug charges.
More than 50,000 people around the world have died from COVID-19, with more than half of all fatalities coming from four European countries, including Italy. In March, Italy surpassed China as the country with the highest death toll. A blog post shared on Facebook claims that thousands of those deaths were intentional.
"Italy arrest (sic) doctor for intentionally killing over 3,000 coronavirus patients," the post’s title says. A photo shows a man in tan scrubs walking in handcuffs and flanked by law enforcement. The story goes on to say that Dr. Sergio Kerr "administered Benadryl, Ditropan and doxepin which are anticholinergic medications which worsen pneumonia."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
That’s because it’s not a real news story.
The photo of the man in the blog post is from the Anderson, Ind., newspaper, the Herald Bulletin, which reported in 2014 on the arrest of a physician charged with several drug offenses.
A doctor accused of murdering more than 3,000 people, not to mention coronavirus patients, would draw wide media attention. And yet searching for information about Dr. Sergio Kerr, we found no such reports.
We rate this blog post Pants on Fire.
The Washington Post, Live updates: Coronavirus death toll passes 50,000 worldwide; U.S. unemployment claims explode, April 2, 2020
The New York Times, Italy, pandemic’s new epicenter, has lessons for the world, March 21, 2020
News NT, Italy arrest doctor for intentionally killing over 3,000 coronavirus patients, visited April 2, 2020
The Herald Bulletin, Former Pendleton physician Jones placed on in-home detention, March 7, 2018
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