Factcheck: Did a Guardian journalist report false COVID-19 figures in Egypt?
MISLEADING: DO NOT SHARE
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Since the article’s release, Ms Michaelson’s press accreditation has been revoked, and she has been asked to leave the country by Egyptian immigration control.