FACT CHECK: Did The Same Person Die From COVID-19 In 2 Different Cities?

Mecca Fowler | Contributor

A viral Instagram post claims a specific man died of COVID-19 in two different cities.


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A post shared by Sam Heath (@samuelheathisalive)

Verdict: False

The man died last year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The articles did not report he died in two different cities; rather, their headlines mentioned different parts of his career.

Fact Check:

The inaccurate claim that a man died of COVID-19 in two different cities resurfaced on Instagram this week after having previously circulated in 2020. (RELATED: Facebook Post Falsely Claims COVID-19 Death And Case Statistics Are ‘Totally Fake’)

In the latest iteration, a video compares headlines from two media outlets, with the headline on the left reading, “69-year-old retired Milwaukee police lieutenant died from COVID-19” and the headline on the right saying, “University of Memphis professor dies from coronavirus, report says.” Both articles feature the same picture of a man, identified as Dr. Lenard Wells, who died in March 2020.

While the articles in the Instagram video are both authentic and refer to Wells, the outlets did not report he died in two different cities. The Fox 6 Milwaukee article reported he passed away in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while the other story said his death occurred in Wisconsin, linking to the Fox 6 Milwaukee article. The headlines of the reports mentioned two different parts of his career.

Wells was both an instructor at the University of Memphis and a retired Milwaukee police lieutenant. He served the Milwaukee Police Department for about 27 years, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He later went on to become a University of Memphis instructor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Fox 13 Memphis reported.

The Milwaukee Police Department and the University of Memphis both made statements commemorating Wells after his passing.

Mecca Fowler