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Fact Check-COVID-19 patient had virus, not a crisis actor

A resurfaced BBC interview with a man who was admitted to hospital in July 2021 with COVID-19 has been used to falsely claim online that he is a “crisis actor”. This is not true. The man provided Reuters evidence of his positive test at Kings College Hospital, while the BBC said they had been introduced to their interview subject by the hospital’s clinical team.

A clip viewed more than 1.5 million times on social media features individuals watching a BBC interview with COVID-19 patient Henry Dyne from his hospital bed (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here).

In the full July 2021 interview (here), Dyne told BBC reporters: “Before the ambulance arrived it was terrifying because you didn’t know when your last breath was going to be...

“Get the vaccine, honestly get the vaccine. I put it off for no real reason other than probably laziness.”

Dyne's interview was also featured in a BBC News review of the year, screened on Dec. 22 (here).

After searching for the man online, the individuals in the viral social media clip find Dyne’s Instagram profile which states he is an “1x Academy Award Winning Crisis Actor”.

One of the individuals in the video says: “It’s almost like he’s been paid to pretend he’s got COVID and he’s on the telly!”

A user sharing the clip wrote (here “Wow so a covid patient in hospital called Henry Dyne on the BBC news is a crisis actor on Instagram wow!!! Fake news - BBC!!!”

However, 29-year-old Dyne is a director in IT sales and told Reuters that he said he was an award-winning crisis actor as a joke in response to the earlier false claims made about him online.

“None of it’s true. They’re jumping to the strangest conclusions,” he said.

Dyne explained that he became ill with COVID-19 in July 2021, suffering hallucinations, high fever and breathing problems. Feeling “horrendous” one morning, he said he called an ambulance and was admitted to intensive care for “five or six days”.

He explained: “The nurse or a doctor came in and said the BBC are here, would you like to do an interview?

“I thought I’m quite young, relatively fit and I nearly died, I guess it would be good for me to go on record and say I was unvaccinated. Not that I was an anti-vaxxer but I was just a little bit hesitant to jump in first. I thought it was only going to get older people. So I said yes and the rest is history.”

Documents shared with Reuters show proof of Dyne’s positive test result at King’s College Hospital. This includes a screenshot of an email exchange with the hospital itself and a photo of a medical record, all sent over by Dyne.

The BBC also confirmed to Reuters that Dyne was a genuine patient at the hospital. The broadcaster said he was introduced to them by the facility’s clinical team.

According to Dyne, claims that “spiralled” online since July had prompted him to add “Academy Award Winning Crisis Actor” to his Instagram profile.

“I saw a lot of things online saying ‘he’s an actor, won awards’ or something so I was like that would be bloody brilliant, I’ll put than in my bio, clearly sarcastic,” he told Reuters.

“I don’t know if people know that you can’t get an Academy Award for being a crisis actor.”

VERDICT

False. Henry Dyne was admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in July 2021. He claimed to be a crisis actor as a joke.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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