No, a physician’s selfie doesn’t present a ‘faux hospital’ in Nevada.
In the latest example of misinformation on social media about the coronavirus ricochet, a doctor’s selfie in Nevada was used to spread false claims that downplay the severity of the pandemic.
In the picture posted on Twitter on Sunday, doctor Jacob Keeperman is standing at the Renown Regional Medical Center alternative care location in Reno, Nevada. In the background there are empty hospital beds covered with plastic in a free parking lot. The photo was taken on November 12, the day the website opened so patients hadn’t arrived, Renown Health said.
“I want to thank all of the incredible staff who are fighting the good fight to help everyone suffering from COVID-19,” wrote Dr. Keeperman, the medical director of the Renown Transfer and Operations Center. “With 5 deaths in the past 32 hours, everyone has trouble keeping their heads up. Be strong.”
His photo was then used by the @Networkinvegas account to falsely claim it depicts a “fake hospital” that “has never seen a single patient.”
On Tuesday, President Trump brought this lie to a wider audience and tweeted the post @Networkinvegas with the comment: “Fake election results in Nevada too!” Twitter referred to the president’s tweet, stating that the election fraud allegation was “controversial”.
In fact, the Reno alternative care facility has cared for a total of 219 Covid patients in the three weeks it was open. Across Nevada, hospital stays have risen 43 percent in the past 14 days, with deaths rising 55 percent, according to a New York Times database.
Dr. Keeperman said in an interview on Wednesday that he was “sad and disappointed” to see the attacks surrounding his post on social media. “I sent this tweet to recognize and thank all of our healthcare teammates who are often not recognized,” he said. “My greatest wish is that I never have to tell another family that their loved one is not coming home.”
He has been endorsed by local, state and national leaders, health workers and many in the public – but has also received some “less-than-tasty messages,” he said. “I’ve decided to ignore this and keep hope.”
In response to the president’s tweet, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, said, “His consistent misleading rhetoric about Covid-19 is dangerous and reckless, and today’s implication that Renown’s alternative care facility is a ‘fake hospital’ belongs to The worst examples we’ve ever seen. “
Dr. Addressing those who claim the pandemic is some kind of joke, Keeperman said in an interview: “Covid is real. I hope you don’t get sick, but if you do we will be here to take care of you. And we will have a bed for you and do our best. And then you will know how real it is. “