President Donald Trump, Melania Trump and Chris Christie are among a running list of people who tested positive for COVID-19.
Claim: Former N.J. governor Chris Christie is on a ventilator for COVID-19 treatment.
The minimal information on the condition of hospitalized former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has given rise to speculation on social media that he is seriously ill with COVID-19.
Christie entered Morristown Medical Center on Oct. 3 after testing positive for the virus; he was still there on Oct. 8. When he checked himself in, he said he had mild symptoms. NJ.com reported that Christie and his doctors have been publicly silent about his treatment and condition.
Christie initially reported his hospitalization, writing on Twitter: “In consultation with my doctors, I checked myself into Morristown Medical Center this afternoon. While I am feeling good and only have mild symptoms, due to my history of asthma we decided this is an important precautionary measure.”
News reports also noted that in addition to asthma, Christie is overweight, which could put him at higher risk from the virus.
On Oct. 7, a Twitter user, Jacqueline Anne Thompson, posted a one sentence claim: “Chris Christie is in ICU and reported to be put on a ventilator.” She offered no information to back up the claim nor indicated who had reported it.
The tweet was also copied and posted on Facebook by Okay, Boomer, which describes itself as a personal blog, among many other social media users.
Quick to debunk ventilator claim
Three New Jersey reports shot down the ventilator allegation:
On Oct. 7, Matt Katz, a WNYC reporter who covered Christie for more than five years, tweeted that the former N.J. governor “IS not ON A VENTILATOR.
“This is false info spreading on twitter,” Katz wrote, “I’ve spoken to multiple people who’ve been on the phone with the governor daily after he was admitted to Morristown Medical Center for testing Covid+. They say he’s in good spirits & getting good care.”
The U.S. is currently facing a shortage of ventilators. Here’s how they work and why they are so important in fighting COVID-19.
Tom Moran, a columnist for the Star-Ledger in Newark, wrote that he had spoken with Christie on Oct. 5, and that the former governor “sounded raspy but didn’t cough once during the 10-minute chat.” He added that Christie did not want him to share specific details of his state of health or the treatment.
The Star-Ledger reported on Oct. 7 that Christie was in “good spirits and under good care,” quoting “a source with knowledge of the situation.” According to the unidentified source, “shot down a rumor” that Christie was on a ventilator.
In response to a query from USA TODAY, Nick Ares with Okay, Boomer replied: “So, he’s not on a ventilator? day ruined.” Asked if the page planned to update the blog, Ares said, “I deleted it. But I’ll post it again when that fascist enabler is actually on a ventilator.”
USA TODAY sought a response from Twitter user Jacqueline Anne Thompson but did not get an immediate response.
On her Twitter feed, Thompson posted a note reading: “Apparently I did this out of order and so people are not seeing this unless they scroll down which they’re not doing. The article is not my source it is meant to be a comparison point of what we were told versus what the facts are. My sources are anonymous. 2 are media, 1 is not” The top part of the tweet, identifying the sender, was cut off.
Politifact has rated the ventilator claim as false.
Our ruling: False
There is no evidence supporting the claim that Christie is on a ventilator. We rate this claim as FALSE.
Our fact-check sources:
- Twitter, Jacqueline Anne Thompson, Oct. 7.
- Twitter, Chris Christie, Oct. 3
- Star Ledger, Tom Moran, Oct.5, Updated Oct. 6. “Ex-NJ Gov. Chris Christie speaks from hospital bed after COVID-19 diagnosis, feisty as ever”
- Star-Ledger, Oct. 7, “Ex-N.J. Gov. Chris Christie remains hospitalized for COVID-19”
- Star-Ledger, Oct. 7. “Ex-N.J. Gov. Chris Christie spends 5th day in hospital for COVID-19. Updates on care and his spirits”
- Star-Ledger, Oct. 8, “Chris Christie still hospitalized with COVID-19: Here’s the type of treatments doctors say he may be getting”
- Twitter, Matt Katz, Oct.7
- PolitiFact. Oct. 7, “Chris Christie is in ICU and reported to be put on a ventilator.”
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