FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A TIME Magazine Cover Dedicated To The WHO’s COVID-19 Response Team?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Twitter allegedly shows a TIME Magazine cover dedicated to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 response team.

Verdict: False

The image is digitally fabricated. A TIME spokesperson confirmed the cover was not created by the magazine.

Fact Check:

The alleged cover, which has received over 100 retweets and 700 likes, depicts a person in a futuristic-themed military suit holding a rifle with the WHO’s logo and the abbreviation “C.R.T.” on their sleeve, likely standing for “COVID Response Team.”

Beneath the word “TIME” written across the top of the image in large, red letters, is a message stating, “Thank You, Frontliners,” while the bottom-right corner reads, “WHO’s COVID Response Team.” A quote appears under the title, stating, “Drastic Times, Drastic Measures.” (RELATED: Were University Of Michigan Football Fans Featured On The Cover Of TIME Magazine?)

The magazine cover is digitally fabricated. The date listed at the top in faint black letters is Dec. 23, 2022, eleven and a half months after the purported cover was shared on Twitter.

Time Magazine has only released three covers thus far in 2022. They can be seen in the publication’s 2022 digital vault, and they feature President Joe Biden, television producer Shonda Rhimes and a red-themed graphic of COVID-19 titled “How COVID ends.” The cover also does not appear in the 2020 or 2021 vaults.

The WHO does not have a “COVID Response Team” listed on its official COVID-19 response page. There is likewise no evidence suggesting the WHO ever used the phrase “drastic times, drastic measures” in response to COVID-19.

The image of the suit stems from a YouTube video uploaded in April 2020 by user Johnson Ting. Ting identifies himself on his channel’s “about” page as an “Art Director, Concept artist, Collectible Designer and educator.” The artist said he created the image of the person as a tribute to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that the workers “are real heroes” in the video description.

“This image is not an authentic TIME cover,” A TIME spokesperson confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact.

TIME previously released a cover dedicated to frontline workers on April 20, 2020, featuring a man in a hazmat suit, gloves and a mask. The other four versions of the cover of this frontline worker edition can be seen in a TIME article, and none of them resemble the fake cover in the Twitter post.

Check Your Fact recently debunked an image from December 2021 that allegedly showed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as TIME’s “Person of the Year.”

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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