FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show The FBI Seizing Coronavirus-Infected Face Masks Sent From China?
A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows the FBI seizing coronavirus-infected face masks sent from China.
“FBI Taken back all the face mask from China, tested positive of coranavirus (sic)!” the caption partly reads. “God help your people”
The video shows the FBI seizing masks from a man who was allegedly stockpiling medical-grade masks and other equipment for a price gouging scheme.
In the video, FBI agents can be seen loading boxes into a truck. The words “3000 series N95” are clearly visible printed on boxes at one point. Health care workers widely use N95 medical face masks to protect themselves from the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Multiple Facebook users have shared the video, claiming it depicts FBI agents seizing coronavirus-infected face masks sent from China. That is not what the video shows, however.
The footage actually shows the FBI seizing medical equipment in late March from a New York City man who prosecutors say hoarded the supplies to sell above market value, according to AFP Fact Check. The equipment seized included approximately 192,000 N95 masks, 130,000 surgical masks, bottles of hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray, per the Department of Justice (DOJ) press release.
The man also allegedly coughed in the direction of the FBI agents and told them he had coronavirus. In a statement to ABC News, the man’s attorney said the man “categorically denies” the allegations by the DOJ. (RELATED: Are Thieves Using Face Masks Doused In Chemicals To Rob People?)
Many of the medical-grade masks and gloves seized from the man will go to medical workers in New York and New Jersey, according to The New York Times. The need for personal protective equipment is acute in New York, as it has become an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., with more than 304,000 confirmed cases in the state as of press time.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it would pay “fair market value” to the man, according to The New York Times.