A video has been viewed thousands of times in multiple Chinese social media posts alongside a claim it shows bodies of Covid-19 victims being dumped into a shipping container in the US. The posts circulated online as the US recorded thousands of daily Covid-19 deaths. But the video has been shared in a false context: it actually shows a scene from a fictional American television drama.
The video was published here on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, on January 6, 2022.
It appears to show a truck dumping bodies into a shipping container.
The simplified-Chinese text superimposed on the video translates as: "Jan 6, US reported more than a million cases in a day, with 2590 people died in one day, more than 850K people have died from Covid-19".
In fact, these figures are incorrect. The US recorded 717,289 cases and 2,729 deaths from Covid-19 on January 6, 2022, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data.
As of January 24, it has recorded 868,318 deaths from the disease since the beginning of the pandemic, according to an AFP tally.
The video was titled: "#USCovid-19 US ain’t cool anymore!"
Some social media users appeared to believe the video really shows dead bodies being dumped in the US.
"So scary, and the person standing there wasn't even wearing a mask," one user commented.
Another wrote: "This is typical US -- arrogant."
In fact, the footage was taken from a fictional American drama.
A combination of reverse image and keyword searches on Google found the video was actually taken from US fictional television drama The Stand.
Further investigation found a longer version of the video published on a Chinese-language YouTube channel as a movie review.
The video's title reads: "#Movie review #The Stand #Biochemical lab leak".
"A biochemical lab, that belongs to the US, has leaked. It caused a catastrophe to the human species," the text overlay the video reads.
Screenshot comparison between video in misleading posts (left) and YouTube video (right)