Fact check: Posts use 2019 hospital image to make false claims about COVID-19 vaccine

The claim: CNN reported hospitals went on lockdown after COVID-19 vaccine recipients started eating each other 

As Americans across the country started getting vaccinated against COVID-19, social media users shared a viral image claiming that CNN reported hospitals going on lockdown after COVID-19 vaccine recipients started eating one another.  

The widely shared photo shows a hospital unit with blood and medical equipment scattered across the floor along with a text that reads: "BREAKING NEWS: HOSPITALS ON LOCKDOWN AS FIRST COVID VACCINE PATIENTS START EATING OTHER PATIENTS." 

Below the headline reads a smaller text that states, "Nancy Pelosi arrested for DUI," and the top right of the photo has a location of Los Angeles. 

Among those who shared the claim was UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten, who posted the image to Instagram on Dec. 22 with the caption "I told you this was a bad idea." 

USA TODAY reached out the Facebook users and Rutten for comment. 

Fact check:CNN never made – or retracted – Arizona call for Joe Biden

Image is from 2019, news report not authentic

A reverse Google image search of the photo used in the claim reveals that the photo used with the edited CNN headline was published in a New York Times opinion column on Feb. 14, 2019, and was taken by medical student Eric Curran.

"The trauma bay in the emergency department at Temple University Hospital after resuscitation efforts failed," the caption of the image reads. 

In his column, Curran explained his experience of treating gunshot victims in a hospital and said he started taking photos of the room "out of the helplessness and despair" he felt about the "senseless deaths." He wrote that he hoped his images would "help Americans understand what is happening." 

The Google reverse search further revealed that the image originated as a joke on meme website iFunny on Dec. 16 after someone likely added a CNN logo and fake headlines onto Curran's original photo to create the meme, which then led to false claims on social media.

There is also no evidence that hospitals in Los Angeles went into lockdown from violent behavior from COVID-19 vaccine recipients or that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,D-Calif., was arrested for driving under the influence. 

Drew Hamill, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, has told USA TODAY that the House speaker does not drink, and claims targeting Pelosi that try to make her appear intoxicated have been debunked by USA TODAY

The claim that hospitals were locked down after coronavirus vaccine recipients started eating one another has also been fact-checked by AFP and India Today.

Fact check:Nurse who fainted after COVID-19 vaccination is alive and well

Our rating: False

The claim that CNN reported that hospitals locked down after COVID-19 vaccine  recipients started eating one another is FALSE, based on our research. The image used in the claim is from 2019 and was taken at a hospital in Philadelphia after treating victims of gun violence. 

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.