In the wake of news about President Donald Trump being diagnosed with the coronavirus, falsehoods and conspiracies began spreading widely.
One of those conspiracies was fueled by a viral tweet falsely claiming that Trump was using a hidden oxygen tank as he boarded Marine One, the helicopter that took him to Walter Reed hospital, on Friday.
The tweet was posted the night before a baffling Saturday morning press conference with the president's doctors that added to the confusion over his condition. It showed a series of low-resolution images and what looked like a manipulated photo of the back of Trump's head. The person who posted it claimed that creases in the president's suit prove he was carrying a hidden oxygen tank.
The conspiracy traveled far. Aside from getting 14,000 retweets and 28,000 likes overnight, people also reposted it to Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. The account that posted the tweet has since been suspended.
Other images of Trump walking to the helicopter don't support the false narrative. A photo taken from the same angle shows no tubes or other oxygen tank equipment on the president's person.
A video of the walk, which is where the screenshots in the Tweet came from, also shows no wires, tubes or equipment of any kind.
The conspiracy about this hidden oxygen tank has only added to the confusion surrounding the president's health. This one series of images being false doesn't mean that the president has never had an oxygen intake as part of his treatment for COVID-19.
On Saturday morning, his doctor dodged questions from reporters, who pointedly asked whether Trump has needed any supplemental oxygen. Dr. Sean Conley said the president wasn't on oxygen "right now," but wouldn't respond to questions asking if he ever was.
“Thursday no oxygen, none at this moment, and yesterday with the team while we were all here he was not on oxygen,” Conley said.
Then, the Associated Press and the New York Times reported that Trump was administered oxygen at the White House on Friday, before going to Walter Reed hospital. While key, those reports do not bolster the claim that Trump was using a hidden oxygen tank while boarding Marine One.
The confusion of the moment has contributed to a garbage fire of misinformation circulating around both sides of the political aisle. Before passing on any online rumors, take the time to find a source and the latest update on the fast-moving news situation. If you've accidentally boosted false information, delete it.
Keep checking our running list of false and misleading information about Trump's diagnosis for more.