FACT CHECK: Did This Cornell University Professor Say That COVID-19 ‘Does Not Exist’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A post shared on Facebook attributes to Cornell University professor Dr. Robert Oswald a lengthy quote that states in part, “COVID-19 does not exist and is fictitious.”

Verdict: False

The lengthy statement has previously circulated online without being credited to him. Oswald has refuted the attribution.

Fact Check:

The post features a lengthy statement in which Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, allegedly suggests that COVID-19 is a “hoax.” Accompanying the purported quote is a screen grab of Oswald’s faculty profile on Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine website.

“I have a PhD in virology and immunology. I’m a clinical lab scientist and have tested 1500 ‘supposed’ positive Covid 19 samples collected here in S. California,” the Facebook post credits Oswald with saying in part. “When my lab team and I did the testing through Koch’s postulates and observation under a SEM (scanning electron microscope), we found NO Covid in any of the 1500 samples. What we found was that all of the 1500 samples were mostly Influenza A and some were influenza B, but not a single case of Covid, and we did not use the B.S. PCR test.”

While the attribution to Oswald may seem legitimate at first glance, it doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. The quote contains inaccurate biographical information such as saying Oswald has a “PhD in virology and immunology” when, according to his faculty page, he actually has a doctorate in biochemistry. The professor also has a statement on his faculty page that contradicts the message in the Facebook post.

“COVID-19 is real. Any Facebook post that suggests otherwise is a hoax and is not true,” reads the statement on his faculty page. “Wear a mask, practice social distancing, and get the vaccine when it becomes available.” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show Mike Pence Being Vaccinated For COVID-19 With The Cap On The Needle?)

Oswald refuted the attribution in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation, saying, “This is a hoax that has been sent out under various names. None of it is true and I had nothing to do with it.” Indeed, an internet search reveals the message has previously circulated online without attribution to Oswald.

COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus that causes it are real, despite what the Facebook post alleges in its misattributed quote. The novel coronavirus, which has had its genome fully isolated by researchers, has sickened over 19.2 million people and killed over 332,000 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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