FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show Joe Biden Violating Social Distancing Guidelines

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden violating social distancing guidelines and not wearing a mask at a recent event.

Verdict: False

The photo comes from July 2019, well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing guidelines were introduced in March 2020.

Fact Check:

In the image, Biden kneels in front of a group of people wearing red shirts. The caption alleges that the photo, purportedly taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, shows Biden violating social distancing and face mask guidelines. It also suggests that the group wears shirts with the “Make America Great Again” slogan from President Donald Trump’s campaign.

“Where are your masks? Looks like you forgot about social distancing? Did you hand out the wrong color tee shirts by mistake? President Trump is RED, you sir in case you forgot or were confused are BLUE,” reads the post. (RELATED: Did Joe Biden Wear A Wire During The First Presidential Debate?)

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact discovered the photo dates back to at least July 2019, about six months before the U.S. reported its first confirmed cases of COVID-19. It appears to be a cropped version of a photo Biden tweeted from the National Education Association’s (NEA) 2019 annual meeting.

Thank you to @NEAToday for a great discussion this afternoon on how we can work together to create #StrongPublicSchools,” Biden tweeted on July 5, 2019. “I can promise you that @DrBiden and I will be the best partners and fiercest advocates in the White House for America’s educators and students. #NEARA19.”

Biden and nine other then-Democratic presidential candidates, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, California Sen. Kamala Harris and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, participated in a forum at the early July 2019 event in Houston, Texas, according to NEA Today. The pictured attendees did not wear “Make America Great Again” shirts, but rather “#RedforEd” shirts advocating for education funding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first issued social distancing recommendations in March 2020, according to Business Insider. In early April of this year, the CDC revised its guidelines to recommend that people should wear cloth face coverings in public settings.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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