A viral claim declaring that Ghislaine Maxwell, the close associate of American sex offender Jeffery Epstein, has tested positive for COVID-19 is found to be fake. Following her arrest, Maxwell is currently lodged in a New Hampshire jail.
The fake claim made by a satire website has gone viral on social media sites. A photoshopped picture of BBC with the report about Maxwell testing positive for coronavirus is also being circulated widely on social media platforms.
The Truth Behind the Fake Claim
In its report published on July 3, the Brown Valley Observer posted an article claiming that Maxwell has tested positive for COVID-19 in the New Hampshire jail. The website based its claim on the report from the Department of Justice.
"An official report from the United States Department of Justice indicates that socialite and alleged Jeffrey Epstein co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell has tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in New Hampshire while awaiting extradition to New York," reported the article.
"Once she was in custody and began to relax, officials noticed that she was displaying symptoms related to coronavirus including watery eyes, cough, and mucus. She stood to be tested regardless of symptoms while in custody, but her symptoms and the profile of this particular case caused local officials to speed up the testing practice," the website quoted the release from the US Department of Justice.
To make the claim sound even more authentic, the website went on to state that it is a developing story and subject to updates or editing as new information becomes available.
Soon the claim was shared on social media platforms including Twitter. However, the claims made by the outlet, which categorizes its articles as being humorous or satirical in nature, were found to be fake.
Photoshopped Screenshot of BBC Circulating Online
Apart from the article published in the Brown Valley Observer, a photoshopped screenshot of BBC stating that Maxwell has been moved to intensive care in hospital after her COVID-19 symptoms worsened, is also being circulated widely.
The photoshopped screenshot which states 'Whoops You Published This One Too Soon' bears a wrong dateline.
"I can't believe Ghislaine Maxwell is going to die of COVID-19 in 2-14 days," tweeted a user.
"Can't believe how many people think Ghislaine Maxwell will be suicided. Guys, if she dies in custody, it'll be listed as COVID-19 death," wrote a another.