While the world battles between optimistic news of vaccines rolling out globally and the horror of new strains of the coronavirus being discovered, some people on social media have come out with a ploy to spread panic in these sensitive times.
According to the claim made by some using an edited picture, injecting the COVID-19 vaccine will turn humans into zombies.
A screenshot of a television news bulletin has gone viral on social media, which shows blood splattered around in a decrepit hospital ward. There is a 'CNN' logo in the picture that attempts to legitimize the bizarre headline - "Breaking News: Hospitals on lockdown as first Covid vaccine patients start eating other patients," with a text at the bottom reading "Nancy Pelosi arrested for DUI".
This claim has gone viral on Facebook. Some people are also sharing it on Twitter.
BREAKING NEWS: Hospitals under lockdown as first COVID vaccine patients start eating other patients. Picture Courtesy: CNN #KazoTelevisionNewsPosted by Kazo Television on Thursday, December 17, 2020
This is a spoof photo, with the time stamp reading '4:20 PM' meant to be used as a meme.
Interestingly, the Nancy Pelosi news item surfaced online a while back, which was later found to be a false claim when checked for facts. Having said that, the consequences of fake news of this sort are far-reaching, especially with a lot of pseudoscientific news against vaccinations doing the rounds globally.
The Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) at India Today has deemed the viral image as morphed, with the picture depicting an old incident related to the treatment of gunshot victims in North Philadelphia, US.
Using reverse image search, the team at AFWA found the picture associated to a report dated February 14, 2019, by The New York Times.
For the report covering the treatment of gunshot victims, the caption read: "The trauma bay in the emergency department at Temple University Hospital after resuscitation efforts failed."
The picture has been credited to Eric Curran, a medical student who described the distressing event in his article.
Originally a meme
Researching further, AFWA found that the screenshot was after all not made out of malice, and was indeed supposed to be ironical. The screenshot was discovered on ifunny, a meme website.
Nancy Pelosi fake news
In another fact refuting the veracity of this screenshot, the claim of Nancy Pelosi being arrested for DUI had been debunked by websites like Tampa Bay Times and Politifact a little while after they came out.
Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the US House of Representatives
COVID-19 vaccine side effects
The safety levels of the COVID-19 vaccines have become a recent issue of contention among experts and the public alike. While scientists are not sure about the potential long-term problems caused due to COVID-19 vaccines, some instances of people experiencing adverse events after getting the jab have been recorded globally.COVID-19 complications
In further research about SARS-CoV-2, findings show that it can lead to several neurological complications, including strokes, seizures and movement disorders. "These particular complications of COVID and neurological disorders more generally, are about your ability to interact meaningfully with the world," Dr Pria Anand, an assistant professor of neurology at Boston University was quoted by CNN as saying.
While it is true that there have been some short-term side effects experienced by a few people after getting inoculated, having an anti-vaccine temperament is a pseudoscientific endeavour the world cannot afford at this moment. And while this screenshot was made for the purposes of humour, a joke can easily turn into fake news on social media.