A Guardian journalist reported false statistics of Egypt’s COVID-19 death toll.


Misleading, the study the journalist referred to claimed it was likely that Egypt had a large number of unreported cases.


A YouTube video claims that The Guardian journalist, Ruth Michaelson, incorrectly reported that Egypt’s coronavirus statistics were far higher than the government official figures. The video claims the article is typically representative of a western media who regularly create false news stories in Africa. It argues that the study which Ms Michaelson used as the basis for her article, was distributed by a publication which tends to favour the western narrative – and was therefore incorrect.

This is misleading. Ms Michaelson took data from a study published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal. It is a highly regarded publication, recognised by academics and governments around the world. This particular study was carried out by researchers at the University of Toronto. The study had analysed flight records, traveller data and infection rates to estimate that Egypt could have had 19,310 coronavirus cases by early March.  The study concludes that Egypt ‘probably’ has a large burden of COVID-19 cases which are unreported. The Egyptian Government’s official count at the time period covered by the data was that three people were infected.

Since the article’s release, Ms Michaelson’s press accreditation has been revoked, and she has been asked to leave the country by Egyptian immigration control.


The Lancet Infectious Diseases, ‘Estimation of the COVID-19 burden in Egypt through exported case detection’

The Guardian, ‘Egypt: rate of coronavirus cases ‘likely to be higher than figures suggest”

Origins of Claim


‘She [Ms Michaelson] published a very damaging report on Egypt’s coronavirus response. This is the first time we are seeing foreign journalists sitting like sitting ducks. So, basically what happened was Egyptian authorities have forced Ruth Michaelson out of Egypt. She was working for the Guardian and she is the only British reporter living and working in Egypt. They ordered her to leave the country after she reported on a scientific study that Egypt was likely to have many more coronavirus cases than it was reporting. She had reported on research from an infectious disease specialist from the University of Toronto, all the way from Canada talking about what was happening in Egypt! Madness! Total insanity! 

‘They had used public health data, news stories and some travel details that pointed to Egypt having a higher number of coronavirus cases than reported by the government. We have seen a lot of government’s across Africa wising up and there is a lot of government control over the information and numbers that are being released. Guys are being told, ‘don’t spread fake news’, even if its true news it will be termed fake news. Finally, our African governments are understanding the importance of controlling your own narrative and making sure they are not being dictated by the West. We have been seeing lots of articles in the western media saying coronavirus could blow up in Africa. No, it won’t! They are just negative, negative, negative, curse, curse, curse.

The study which this Ruth character had quoted had been accepted for publication by Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal which is one of the biggest publications. But, the sad thing about these publications is that they tend to favour western researchers and so it is very, very hard for a lot of our African researchers to get their articles published. It is just another wing of the New World Order and their press to spread bad news.’