A news report released by CBC Edmonton on how an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) operates which featured a mannequin and was later used for other stories aired on the channel was not filmed inside an ICU and is not evidence that the pandemic is a “scam” despite claims made online.
The report, released on October 2, included interviews and a demonstration featuring a mannequin of how an ICU facility differs from other hospital wards. Some of the same footage within the training facility was later aired in another report about COVID-19 projections for Alberta (here).
Some online users shared an image of the news report and claimed that the use of the mannequin was proof that ICU facilities were not busy in Alberta, and that the pandemic was being overstated by the media.
“Another individual who shared the photograph on Twitter said: “It’s called fraud but because it’s media they get a pass Look very closely” (here).
The mannequin was used to demonstrate how equipment in an ICU works and is not proof that the threat of the pandemic has been overstated.
The headline of the article reads: “It’s real. It’s dangerous’: What it’s like in an ICU ward”. The description of the clip reads: “Respiratory therapist Crystal Grette and Christy Raymond, dean of the faculty of nursing at MacEwan University, explain what makes an ICU bed and ward different, and what patients should expect if they end up in one.”
Meanwhile, CBC Edmonton released an update on its website on October 11, clarifying that the segments of the report that featured a mannequin were filmed at a university, not inside an active hospital ICU: “Some of the images in this video are from inside hospitals and as such are identified as being provided by [Alberta Health Service]. The other clinical footage, including video of mannequins in beds, was recorded by CBC Edmonton in September 2021 at training facilities at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and MacEwan University, where students learn using realistic hospital simulations.”
The Facebook video description clearly states that the report is an explainer of how ICU facilities operate: “With so much focus on Alberta’s available ICU beds, we spoke with two experts about what actually MAKES an ICU bed different and what patients can expect when they get moved to an intensive care ward.” (here)
The footage of the mannequin also featured in a news report on October 7 (1:36s) (here).
In a statement to Reuters, a CBC spokesperson said: “On October 1st and 2nd, CBC Edmonton ran two stories describing the realities of being in an ICU ward and the strain on nursing staff. Unable to bring our cameras into a hospital ICU ward, we shot footage at two training facilities which was then used for illustrative purposes. In the October 1 story, which was then posted to our website here (here), it was not clearly identified as training footage and it should have been. We have since clarified that.”
“Regrettably, some of this same footage was used again in a different story about COVID projections for Alberta that aired on October 7th during our 6 and 11 pm newscasts,” they added.
“In this context, the footage was used inappropriately, even for illustrative purposes, and we apologize for the error in judgement,” they said.
Reuters has previously addressed claims regarding a news report in the U.K. where a dummy was used for illustrative purposes (here).
COVID-19 cases and hospitalization figures in Alberta are viewable (here).
Missing context. The use of a mannequin in news reports aired on CBC Edmonton is not proof that the threat of COVID-19 has been overstated. The mannequin was used in the report to demonstrate how an ICU operates, and some footage of the mannequin later featured in news reports aired on October 7. The footage of the mannequin was filmed inside training facilities at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and MacEwan University.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
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