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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke November 17, 2021

Misinformation about Astroworld death toll spreads on social media

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  • As of Nov. 17, 10 people were reported dead. About 300 more were injured. 

Houston police and fire officials continue to review footage from Travis Scott’s Astroworld music festival, where a crowd surge left hundreds injured and, as of Nov. 14, 10 people dead. 

Nine-year-old Ezra Blount became the latest — and youngest — person to die from injuries sustained in the crush at the Nov. 5 festival, the Houston Chronicle reported. About 300 were treated at the festival site that day, and 13 people were hospitalized.  

And yet an unfounded claim about the media covering up the true death toll continues to spread on social media. 

"There are several accounts that claim the local news in #Houston is LYING," reads a screenshot of one such tweet. "It’s not just ‘8’ it’s close to hundreds." 

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.)

Before Blount and another victim, Bharti Shahani, died on Nov. 10, the death toll was eight according to news reports and local officials.  

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On Nov. 6, the day after the festival chaos, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issued a press release extending his condolences "to the families of the eight people who died."

In another press release, on Nov. 9, Turner again said "eight people died" and "hundreds more were injured."

A spokesperson for Turner said on Nov. 17 that "the mayor’s office is aware of 10 deaths as a result of the Astroworld Festival" and referred PolitiFact to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, which conducts autopsies for the county. 

The institute also told PolitiFact that 10 people died.

We’ve checked a few other false posts related to Astroworld, including that Live Nation packed 50,000 people into a venue that only had capacity for 20,000 and that the tragedy was related to COVID-19 vaccines. Both claims were wrong, and so is this one.  

Hundreds were injured, but there’s nothing to support the claim that "close to hundreds" of people died. The New York Times published profiles of the 10 people whose deaths were confirmed in connection with the festival. 

We rate this claim False.


Our Sources

Facebook post, Nov. 8, 2021

CNN, Houston’s police chief spoke with Travis Scott about safety before a deadly crowd surge left 8 people dead at Astroworld Festival, Nov. 9, 2021

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner press release, Nov. 6, 2021

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner press release, Nov. 9, 2021

The New York Times, Astroworld victims include high schoolers and college students, Nov. 15, 2021 

USA Today, Fact check: False claim that ‘hundreds’ died in the Astroworld Festival tragedy, Nov. 12, 2021

Email interview with Mary Benton, communications director for Jouston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Nov. 17, 2021

Email interview with Michele Arnold, public information officer, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, Nov. 17, 2021


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Misinformation about Astroworld death toll spreads on social media

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