Viral video claims Indians are sick with Covid-19 but are actually victims of gas leak

On French Twitter, people are talking about “PsyOps” – which they say is deliberate attempts to dramatize the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. It all started with a tweet with images of sick people in India. On social media, people claimed that the images showed Covid-19 victims. However, it turns out that this is not the real story.

The whole “PsyOps” Twitter trend started with a tweet posted April 26 with people in India infected with Covid-19. The author of the tweet, writing in French, claimed that the footage exaggerated the effects of the pandemic and that it was broadcast on Indian television to scare people into adhering to various containment methods such as lockdown and mask-wear. The author called it a “psychological destabilization operation” or “PsyOps”.

This video was picked up and shared widely on Twitter, with over 110,000 views. Everyone seemed to have a different opinion about what was going on in the video.

“The fact that several people got sick at the same time and in the same place proves that it is not the virus. It’s more like the 5G electromagnetic phenomenon or something, ”one user suggested.

So what’s the real story behind the alarming scenes in the video?

Hundreds of people poisoned

To find out the origin of this footage, our team performed a reverse image search using InVID (click here to learn how). On both Google and Yandex, we found numerous instances where this video was previously posted online. As it turns out, the video is a compilation of excerpts from footage filmed during an industrial disaster in India in 2020.

On the night of May 6, 2020, there was a toxic gas leak at a factory of LG Polymers, the Indian branch of LG Chemicals, South Korea, outside the industrial port city of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh state. In all, 13 people died and more than 1,000 were injured.

People living in villages near the factory were asleep when the leak occurred, and some inhaled the gas in their sleep. Hundreds of people poisoned by the gas were hospitalized in Visakhapatnam. In the photos taken that day, men, women and children affected by the gas see some collapsing on the sidewalk, others on the street.

In the days following the leak, media outlets in India and Korea continued to share images of the disaster. Both French and English-language media also reported on the incident.

A mistake from an American media outlet

One media outlets falsely linking images of the gas leak to the pandemic was the New York Post. They published an article on April 26 entitled “COVID Wave Swallowing People in India, Footage Shows People Dead in the Street”.

Some people on social media picked up the mistake and used it to illustrate their theory that international media outlets are exaggerating the Covid-19 situation in India.

“The fact that they have to recycle old images of people dying says a lot about the real situation in India,” wrote a Facebook user. “It’s another example of media outlets lying to you,” said a tweet.

‘New York Post Caught Hypnotizing India’s Dead With Fake News’

The New York Post was caught helping the dead in India with fake news. The first image in this post is from a gas leak in India, May 2020.

This post was shared by Andy Howlett on Wednesday April 28, 2021 © Observers

This post was shared by Andy Howlett on Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A few hours after the article was posted, the New York Post extracted the video from the article and changed the title to “The wave of COVID is swallowing people in India like a monster.”

The paper says in a note at the bottom of the page that they had previously used images from Reuters News Agency falsely identifying victims of a gas leak as victims of Covid-19.

The New York Post isn’t the only media outlet to fall into it. On April 23, 2021, a Sri Lankan television channel broadcast images of a woman collapsing from the gas leak, claiming that she was sick with Covid-19.

Moreover, it is not the first time that videos of this gas leak have been exploited. In late May 2020, the video was circulating on Indian, Chinese and Iranian social media networks … with people claiming the footage showed people collapsing after being stung by a deadly flying insect.

India overwhelmed by the pandemic

While it is true that this video does not show people in India succumbing to Covid-19, the country is facing a terrifying wave of positive cases. The country’s hospitals are facing acute oxygen deficiency, which is necessary to treat patients with respiratory distress.

The country has recently hit the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths, and crematoriums are overwhelmed by the bodies that pile up every day.

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