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Madison Czopek
By Madison Czopek March 4, 2020

Coronavirus not linked to upstate New York Chinese restaurant

If Your Time is short

  • The image appears manipulated so that it looks like it is from ABC News.
  • There is no evidence one of those individuals who died from COVID-19 had recently been to Albany, N.Y.

Online disinformation about the coronavirus continues to spread, sometimes more quickly than the disease itself, but the rumors aren’t based in fact. There is no evidence linking a deadly case of coronavirus to a Chinese restaurant in Albany, N.Y. 

At first glance, an image on Facebook appears to be a screenshot of a post by ABC News sharing a story about the coronavirus. Anchored by an image of a Chinese restaurant, the headline of the supposed news storysays, "Man visited Albany, N.Y. days before dying from coronavirus."

"Upstate New York City Chinese restaurant possibly linked to man’s death days before returning home from Washington state," reads text above the story.

There is no evidence for these claims. The image is not a real ABC News post. 

It 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.)

All nine U.S. deaths linked to the illness happened in Washington state, as of March 3, but there is no evidence that any of the individuals who died in Washington had recently traveled to New York.

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On Feb. 28, news reports declared a King County, Wash., man the first person in the U.S. to die from the disease, but it was later discovered some deaths linked to the coronavirus occurred as early as Feb. 26

By March 2, Washington health officials had confirmed six coronavirus deaths in the state, and three more individuals had died by March 3. Seven of the Washington deaths were linked to a nursing home facility, Life Care Center of Kirkland. 

New York has confirmed two cases of coronavirus as of March 3. The first case was a woman in her 30s who had recently traveled to Iran, one of the places the virus has hit hardest. The second case was a 50-year-old man who had recently traveled to Miami, Fla., but not any countries considered central to the outbreak.

No news reports mention any ties to an Albany Chinese restaurant.

There is also no evidence this image is actually a screenshot of an ABC News post. The news organization has not posted this story on its Facebook feed, and no ABC News stories make the same claims as the post.

When comparing this post to actual ABC News Facebook posts, there are a number of differences. The most obvious difference is that the "ABC News" title at the top of a Facebook post typically appears in blue, given that it links to the organization’s main Facebook feed. The post does not match ABC News’ usual font and there are also no other recent Facebook posts from ABC News with an estimated reading time for their articles.

We rate this Facebook post False.


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Coronavirus not linked to upstate New York Chinese restaurant

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