Stand up for facts and support PolitiFact.
Now is your chance to go on the record as supporting trusted, factual information by joining PolitiFact’s Truth Squad. Contributions or gifts to PolitiFact, which is part of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Poynter Institute, are tax deductible.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
The photo in the post is of Vitor Rafael Bastos Godinho, a 14-year-old Portuguese boy who died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
He is correctly identified in all the stories that use the image.
Amid a pandemic that is believed to affect elderly people most severely, the deaths of several young people from COVID-19 around the world have drawn special attention — and generated misinformation.
A post on Facebook falsely claims that different media outlets misused a boy’s image to report that he died from the coronavirus three times in three different countries.
The post shares a collage of screenshots of various news reports that appear to include the same image. The text above reads: "Child dies in 3 countries of corona virus."
The photo depicts Vitor Rafael Bastos Godinho, a 14-year-old Portuguese boy who died at the end of March after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The Portuguese newspaper Record wrote about his death.
The Daily Express, another U.K. outlet in the collage, wrote about a 12-year-old girl who died from COVID-19 in Belgium. That story includes Godinho’s photo, but not in connection with the girl. It includes his photo in a reference to another young person who died from the virus and correctly identifies him in the caption.
Lastly, an article by the U.K.’s Daily Record that appears in the Facebook post didn’t use Godinho’s photo at all.
That March 31 story covered the death of a 13-year-old boy, Ismail Mohaemd Abdulwahab, from the U.K. There is no photo of any child in the article.
It’s unclear where the screenshot combining Godinho’s photo and Abdulwahab’s name originated. We couldn’t find its source.
Godinho’s photo does turn up in image searches on the Abdulwahab story headline, but they link to accurate reports about Godinho’s death.
All the articles referenced in the post correctly identify the boy in the photo and did not misuse his image. We rate this Facebook post Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, April 14, 2020
FactCheck.org, Media Didn’t Misuse Boy’s Photo in Deaths of Three COVID-19 Victims, May 5, 2020
The Record, Vítor Godinho was a futsal player and was 14 years old: he died today with coronavirus, March 29, 2020
New York Post, 14-year-old Portuguese boy becomes Europe’s youngest coronavirus victim, March 30, 2020
Daily Mail, Pictured: Portuguese schoolboy, 14, who had psoriasis becomes 'youngest' person to die of coronavirus in Europe, March 29, 2020
Daily Express, Europe's youngest coronavirus victim: 12-year old girl dies– doctor admits experts shocked, March31, 2020
Daily Record, Schoolboy, 13, with no health conditions becomes UK's youngest coronavirus victim, March 31, 2020
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.