FACT CHECK: Are Military Helicopters Spraying Pesticides Around The Country To Combat Coronavirus?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims U.S. military helicopters are spraying pesticides across the country to combat the new coronavirus.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that military helicopters are spraying pesticides to kill the new coronavirus. The hoax has circulated in other countries.

Fact Check:

The image, posted March 23, shows an alert message from the Neighbors app warning users about the U.S. military’s supposed effort to limit the spread of the new coronavirus with pesticides. A map visible in the image suggests that users in San Diego received the alert.

“So you must stay indoors after twelve o’clock at night and remove all clothes which are outside,” instructs the alert. “When you hear the sounds of airplanes at night, it is for you to know that it is related to this matter (COVID-19).”

President Donald Trump outlined on March 22 the federal government’s plan to fund the National Guard’s efforts to combat the new virus in New York, California and Washington, three of the states hit hardest by the new coronavirus.

There is no evidence that the U.S. military is spraying coronavirus-killing pesticides from helicopters, however. The Daily Caller didn’t find any credible reports of an operation like this taking place on March 23 or any other date.

A spokesman for the Pentagon confirmed that the military has no such plans. Similar messages have been debunked by fact-checkers in India and Pakistan, among other countries. (RELATED: Did An MSNBC Reporter Say, ‘I Hope Enough People Die From Coronavirus That It Harms Trump’s Re-Election’?)

Helicopters have been used for aerial pesticide spraying in the past, but that was for controlling the populations of insects that carry diseases, not the diseases themselves.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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