FACT CHECK: Viral Image Claims To Show Joe Biden Not Wearing A Mask On A Plane During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden not wearing a face mask on an airplane during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook/Screenshot

Facebook/Screenshot

Verdict: False

The photo was actually taken in November 2019, before the novel coronavirus became a global health threat.

Fact Check:

Numerous Facebook users shared the photo of Biden speaking with Remi Yamamoto, his traveling national press secretary, in an attempt to suggest he flouted public health guidelines about wearing masks. Neither Biden nor Yamamoto are wearing a mask in the photo.

One such post remarks, “Joe Biden doesn’t wear a mask on the plane, but he wears one outside… makes sense!” (RELATED: Did Joe Biden Propose Raising The Social Security Retirement Age To 75?)

However, a reverse image search revealed the photo was taken before the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 first emerged in China in late 2019. The photo was published on Vogue in October as part of a profile of Yamamoto with the caption: “Yamamoto and Biden huddle on a flight to South Carolina in November 2019.”

The first confirmed COVID-19 case in the U.S. appeared in January, ABC News reported, and the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommended Americans wear cloth face coverings in public as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus in early April, several months after the photograph of Biden and Yamamoto was taken.

This isn’t the first time social media users have erroneously claimed a photo that predates the COVID-19 pandemic shows U.S. politicians flouting CDC mask guidelines. In October, Facebook users alleged a photo of Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Corey Booker and Sheldon Whitehouse depicted them doing so during Supreme Court Justice Amy Comey Barrett’s confirmation hearing, when the picture was actually taken in 2018.

This fact check is available at IFCN’s 2020 US Elections FactChat #Chatbot on WhatsApp. Click here, for more.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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