Fact Check: A NYC Man With Suspected Coronavirus Did NOT Drop Dead In The Middle Of The Street

Fact Check

  • by: Jessica Ravitz
Fact Check: A NYC Man With Suspected Coronavirus Did NOT Drop Dead In The Middle Of The Street

Did a man wearing a mask - and suspected to have coronavirus - drop dead on a street in Queens, New York? No, that's not true: The story was put out by a site that shares satirical stories and includes as its tagline a disclaimer which reads, "When the lie is more entertaining." Plus, there's this: Of the 142 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York, as of March 9, 2020, there have been no deaths.

The claim appeared in an article (archived here) that was published in the news (and not satire) category by Viral Cocaine on March 5, 2020. It ran with the title "NYC Man Drops Dead In Middle Of Street -- Suspected Coronavirus! [VIDEO]" and opened:

An Asian man wearing a surgical mask passed out yesterday in the middle of a crowded street in Queens. The man was rushed to the hospital, where according to social media reports, he is believed to have died.

Another site, MTO NEWS, which calls itself "The Most Visited African American News Network" also shared the story about the Asian man believed to be dead. Both sites shared links to video footage showing a man on his back on the sidewalk.

That video seems to have been shot and shared on Twitter by @yangzhanqing. This is how it appeared:

The translation from Chinese, as provided by Google, reads:

Flushing, New York, a guy walked and passed out today ... I don't know if it is related to the new coronavirus

The New York Police Department confirmed to Lead Stories that a man fitting the description in the video "lost consciousness" on a sidewalk on March 3, 2020, but said that he was "in stable condition." The full statement read:

On Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 1328 hrs, police officers responded to a 911 call of an aided male in front of 40-13 Main Street within the confines of the 109th Precinct. Upon arrival, officers discovered a 25-year-old male who lost consciousness and hit his head on the sidewalk. EMS responded and the aided male was transported to NY-Presbyterian Hospital in stable condition.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital would not provide any information for this story.

As of March 9, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported 142 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the state. The county breakdown of cases showed no individuals with the diagnosis in Queens County.

We wrote about viralcocaine.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Jessica Ravitz

Jessica Ravitz, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is a former senior writer at CNN Digital. For more than a decade, she wrote longform narratives and profiles on topics ranging from gun violence, sexual assault and suicide to women’s health, spirituality and race.

 

Read more about or contact Jessica Ravitz

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