New York Post’s use of old India gas leak picture causes confusion

10 May 2021
What was claimed

A picture showing people unwell on the streets of India shows the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our verdict

This image was used in an article written by the New York Post about the Covid-19 pandemic. But it actually comes from a video taken in 2020 after a gas leak in Visakhapatnam, India.

We have been asked by readers to fact check claims that media outlets are re-using images from a gas leak in India to illustrate a story on the Covid-19 death toll.

Posts on social media show a screenshot of a New York Post article with the headline “COVID surge ‘swallowing’ people in India, footage shows people dead in streets”, which contains a picture of a young woman leant over an older woman lying in a street. This is posted next to screenshots from other media organisations describing a gas leak in India in 2020, showing what is clearly a slightly different view of the same scene.

The pictures of this scene are from footage following a gas leak in Visakhapatnam, India in May 2020. It does not depict scenes related to the current Covid-19 crisis in India in 2021.

The New York Post has since removed the video that was featured in the screenshot from the article, with a correction note that says: “An earlier version of this story included an Eyepress video provided by Reuters, which incorrectly identified gas leak victims as COVID-19 victims.” It has also changed the headline to remove mention of bodies in the streets.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as true because the image was taken after a gas leak, and the New York Post incorrectly used the image to illustrate a story about the Covid-19 crisis.

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