FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Brazilian Officials Breaking Into An Empty Hospital That Claimed To Have 5,000 COVID-19 Patients?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows Brazilian lawmakers breaking into an empty hospital that claimed to have 5,000 COVID-19 patients.

Verdict: False

The footage actually shows a Brazilian lawmaker inspecting a field hospital that had failed to open on schedule.

Fact Check:

Since its first case of COVID-19 in late February, Brazil’s government has reported more than 2 million cases and some 77,000 deaths from the disease at press time, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

The video depicts Brazilian lawmaker Filippe Poubel entering the grounds of the São Gonçalo Campaign Hospital in Rio de Janeiro. Poubel and the people accompanying him go through the facility’s gate, appearing angry and yelling at individuals already inside.

“WOW!!! Breaking News,” the caption reads. “Members of Parliament of Brazil break into hospital that claimed to have 5,000 infected & 200 deaths from COVID-19 & CAUGHT THEM RED HANDED NOT ONE PERSON, they have FRAUDED THE WORLD!!”

But, contrary to the post’s claim, the video doesn’t show Brazilian lawmakers as they “break into” the São Gonçalo Campaign Hospital, expecting it to have patients but finding it empty. The field hospital had neither opened nor started accepting patients yet when the footage was taken, according to AFP Fact Check.

The video comes from a Facebook livestream Poubel shared on May 27, expressing his displeasure at the unfinished field hospital. He also posted the footage on YouTube later that day. In the video, Poubel can be heard addressing viewers, saying at the beginning that he has come to inspect the facility because it failed to open the day it was supposed to, according to the YouTube’s English closed-caption subtitles.

Poubel appeared to confirm that the video had been miscaptioned when he retweeted AFP’s Arabic-language fact check article debunking the claim. (RELATED: Does This Video Show People In India Throwing Religious Statues Into A River During The COVID-19 Pandemic?)

The São Gonçalo Campaign Hospital was built to serve COVID-19 patients and had been scheduled to open at the end of April, according to the government-run news organization Agência Brasil. The news agency reported that the field hospital opened on June 18 with 40 of 200 possible beds in operation.

The World Health Organization announced on July 17 that coronavirus cases had reached a plateau in Brazil, one day after the country reached over 2 million positive cases, according to Bloomberg News.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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