The dramatic televised saga of a doctor’s struggle to overcome coronavirus has ended in embarrassment after the NBC News contributor quietly admitted that there’s no evidence he ever had the virus. Is this the zenith of fake news?
Dr Joseph Fair appeared at least 10 times on NBC and MSNBC over the last two months to share his fight against Covid-19 with the networks’ viewers. His television appearances – including an interview from his hospital bed – fueled panic about the illness. Describing himself as a fit and healthy 42-year-old, Fair claimed in May that he had absorbed the virus through his eyes while on a flight. As it turns out, there is no reason to believe he ever contracted the virus.
The doctor announced earlier this week that his Covid-19 antibody test had returned negative and that his “suspected” illness from the virus remains an “undiagnosed mystery.”
“I had myriad Covid symptoms, was hospitalized in a Covid ward & treated for Covid-related co-morbidities,” he tweeted in his defense.
Incredibly, Fair had been tested numerous times for coronavirus while receiving treatment for the disease. Each test was negative, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to insist he had the virus. NBC appeared similarly unbothered by his negative test results.
On May 14, Today host Hoda Kotb noted the negative tests but dismissed them as inaccurate. “Clearly you have it,” she told Fair. The contradictory results were omitted in his subsequent appearances on NBC and MSNBC.
The Washington Free Beacon created a mash-up of some of his interviews, in which he is presented as someone who is suffering (and later recovering) from coronavirus.
Fair’s misleading battle with Covid-19 has been met with considerable eye-rolling on Twitter.
Media veteran Steve Krakauer described the sordid affair as an “anti-science saga” which left NBC’s viewers with “alarming, false impressions.”
Others labeled Fair’s coronavirus yarn as “comically pathetic” and a tour de force of fake news.
Fair isn’t the only television personality who hasn’t been forthcoming about his alleged Covid-19 experiences. CNN’s Chris Cuomo was caught breaking quarantine after allegedly falling ill with the virus. The network, however, remained curiously silent about his behavior, even as Cuomo lectured Americans about the sacrifices they must make to contain the disease.