FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show Raleigh, North Carolina Beach

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a crowded beach in Raleigh, North Carolina, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Verdict: False

The photo, taken in 2013, shows a beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Fact Check:

As the U.S. and the world continue to experience an increase in coronavirus cases, public health officials have urged people to avoid crowds and abide by social distancing guidelines.

The Facebook post, which features an image of an unnamed beach packed with thousands of people, appears to lament that “Covid is never going away,” claiming the photo shows “the beach today in Raleigh, North Carolina.” It was posted on June 30.

But the image does not show Raleigh. The city, which is located inland, is roughly two hours from the North Carolina coastline. (RELATED: Does This Image Show A Crowded South African Beach During The COVID-19 Lockdown?)

The Daily Caller News Foundation conducted a reverse image search and discovered the original photo on the website Reuters Pictures. The photo, which has been cropped in the Facebook post, shows a beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013, according to the caption.

“Catholic faithful camp out on Copacabana Beach to participate in an all-night vigil before Pope Francis gives mass to those attending World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro, July 27, 2013,” reads the caption. “Pope Francis told Catholic clergy on Saturday to leave their comfort zones and smug surroundings and reach out to serve the poor and needy.”

This is not the first time a picture from the 2013 event in Rio de Janeiro has been erroneously linked to the coronavirus pandemic. In April, Check Your Fact debunked an image that Facebook users claimed to show thousands of people packed onto Florida’s Jacksonville Beach after it reopened in April. It actually showed the same July 2013 event in Rio de Janeiro.

As of press time, there are over 11.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some 540,500 deaths worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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