Fact-checking a strange digital deception that went on at the weekend about UK hospitals trying to create the idea that Covid-19 is not serious or stressing the NHS.


First published in November 2020.


It all started when @Intuitive1966 asked a question about whether hospitals were full. In steps, @madogs93 โ€“ who claims to be a โ€œWard Sisterโ€ in a โ€œ1600 bedderโ€.

Twitter

For those of us who have never heard this expression before (and thatโ€™s all of us), this refers to the number of beds in the hospital.

The tweet, designed to irresponsibly downplay the severity of the pandemic, got 1,600 retweets (i.e. one RT per bed). As many of you have noted, there was also much copypasta with lots of people copy and pasting the tweet content.

Twitter

Many tweeps have raised concerns about whether madogs93 is lying, largely provoked by the odd turn of phrase โ€œ1600 bedderโ€.

Letโ€™s look at some other inconsistencies though...

Firstly, which hospital could @madogs93 be working in? There are only two 1600+ โ€˜beddersโ€™ in the UK; one in Manchester and one in Glasgow.

Hospitals with the most beds. | Interweave Healthcare (Source: NHS)

@madogs93 has previously claimed to live in Scotland, which narrows it down.

Twitter

Also, @madogs93 has previously said she works in Scotland.

Twitter

It must, therefore, be the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow.

Hospitals with the most beds. | Interweave Healthcare (Source: NHS)

Bizarrely, @madogs93 โ€“ who claims to be a pro-Trump psych nurse โ€“ has denied there were any Covid-19 cases in QEUH.

Twitter

On August 30, she said they had NO Covid cases. On September 19, they had virtually NO confirmed cases (so presumably some between August 30 and September 19). Then, on September 22, she said they had NO confirmed Covid cases for the past 3 months.

Twitter

Anyway, glaring inconsistencies aside, it is clearly not true.

Check out this article, for example, about a man meeting his very sick father on the Covid-19 ward at QEUH, in April.

"What it was like to visit my elderly father on a Covid-19 ward โ€“ John McLellan." | The Scotsman

Weird that @madogs93 did not mention too that in October a ward at QEUH was closed down due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

Covid in Scotland: Outbreak in ward at Glasgow hospital. | BBC News

So, either @madogs93 is some influence troll or a woefully inconsistent, uninformed or dodgy nurse at one of the UKโ€™s most Covid-19 free 1600 bedders.

With 1,600 retweets, by predominantly anti-EU and pro-Brexit types, it is clear that this disinfomation appeals the Farage set and, sadly, might give them ammo (however false) to share in their own networks (โ€œI READ THIS STUFF FROM A NURSE ON TWITTER...โ€).

It is clear, from her Twitter account, that @madogs93 dedicated a lot of time trying to underplay the severity of Covid-19 โ€“ which seems odd for a nurse.

Twitter

At the end of the day, the account has since been suspended by Twitter for violating the social mediaโ€™s rules.๐Ÿ”ท

Twitter

Dr Marc Owen Jones, Assistant Professor in Middle East Studies & Digital Humanities, Hamad bin Khalifa University, Doha, Qatar.





[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 2 November 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the authorโ€™s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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