As the US began the COVID-19 vaccination program, conspiracy theories have begun appearing on social platforms. Among them, an image has gone viral claiming that hospitals are going into lockdown after vaccine recipients started eating each other.
Many social media users shared the viral image and called it a "Zombie Apocalypse." It shows a hospital unit with blood and medical equipment scattered across the floor. A user posted the "CNN image" with a text that reads, "BREAKING NEWS: HOSPITALS ON LOCKDOWN AS FIRST COVID VACCINE PATIENTS START EATING OTHER PATIENTS." Below that, a smaller text appears which reads, "Nancy Pelosi arrested for DUI". The screenshot also includes location and time details—Los Angeles, 4.20 PM EST.
UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten was one of those people who shared the viral image on social media. On Instagram, he posted the image with a caption stating, "I told you this was a bad idea."
What Is It Actually?
The image, shared with the edited CNN headlines, was actually published in a New York Times opinion piece dated February 14, 2019. It was taken by a medical student Eric Curran, who was the author of that opinion piece. The original caption of the images reads, "The trauma bay in the emergency department at Temple University Hospital after resuscitation efforts failed."
In the NYT column, the author wrote about witnessing the death of a teenager, who was a victim of gun violence. Curran wrote that he hoped that the images taken by him inside the hospital would "help Americans understand what is happening."
The image was also found on a meme website called iFunny. On that image, someone added the CNN logo and fake headlines to create the meme, which then led to false claims on social media. Curran's image was also found on another website called makememe.org with texts on the photo saying, "After Playing Cards."
No news outlets including CNN have reported hospitals going into lockdown because of violent behavior of COVID-19 vaccine recipients in Los Angeles. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was also not arrested. So, the widely spread claim that CNN reported that hospitals locked down after violent incidents is false.