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- The image was posted by a self-described parody account.
"Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota has been notified by the National Center for DIsease Control & Public Health, Georgia (NCDC & PH) that they have a patient that has tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)," reads the March 1 post published by an account called Sarasota County. "Doctor’s Hospital takes the safety of their employees and caregivers very seriously and has placed the infected in isolation until they can repair the furnace in the morgue that will be used for treatment. Pictured below is our newest intern, Carlos, wearing our government issued Saint Laurent hazardous materials suit which can be purchased directly from their website or on sale from Alibaba.com with discount code ‘SRQ69’ while supplies last."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed, and Facebook users flagged the post as potentially false news. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The post is false. It’s a bad attempt at a joke that uses real information to heighten fears about the new coronavirus.
A letter Doctors Hospital sent to patients and staff on March 1 says that the hospital "has been notified by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that we have a patient in our facility who presumptively tested positive for COVID-19." There is, of course, no mention of a furnace or a morgue.
The post from the page "Sarasota County" could easily be misinterpreted to be a real update about the situation at Doctors Hospital.
And while the text is a bit odd, you’d have to visit the page’s About section to find that it’s a self-described parody account. Sarasota County’s actual Facebook page is here. But the post on parody account blends factual information with jokes that not everyone is getting, especially as the post is reshared on other Facebook pages.
The "intern" in the photograph appears to actually be a taxi driver in Siberia who donned the protective gear to help make people laugh amid global panic over the coronavirus, the Siberian Times reported.
We rate this Facebook post False.
Facebook post, March 1, 2020
Florida Department of Health, Department of Health, Department of Health announces two presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Florida, March 1, 2020
Sarasota Herald Tribune, Coronavirus: Two Florida residents test ‘presumptively’ positive; DeSantis declares emergency, March 1, 2020
PolitiFact, False news site publishes unproven story about Florida coronavirus patients, March 2, 2020
The Siberian Times, Omsk taxi driver tackles coronavirus in full protective gear and gas mask, Feb. 5, 2020
Post of Asia, Infection-free taxi: Hazmat-suit-wearing cab driver helps passengers to giggle off coronavirus hysteria, Feb. 9, 2020
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