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Photo of ‘Covid-19’ train tanker manipulated

A screenshot with a photo of a train tanker that seems to have “COVID-19” stamped on its side has been widely shared on Facebook and WhatsApp.

The text above the photo reads: “This photo taken in kansas in America in September 2019 something doesn’t add up. LET’S OPEN OUR EYES!”

One Facebook user commented: “#TRUTH SHALL COME OUT ONE DAY.” Another wrote: “THE WORLD NEEDS AN EXPLANATION.”

But does the photo have anything to do with the Covid-19 pandemic?


‘This picture is fake’

A reverse image search leads to photos of similar rail tanker cars owned by the US train company GATX. Looking closer, it’s clear that the photo shows a GATX tanker, with its distinctive vertical yellow lines:

Our fact-checker colleagues at AFP contacted GATX about the “Covid-19” tanker photo.

“GATX is aware of a manipulated image being circulated on the internet, and please note that this picture is a fake,” the company told AFP

COVID stencilled on train ‘would not meet standard’

Associated Press asked Railinc, an organisation that keeps data on the North American railroad industry, if they had a record of a train with “COVID-19” stencilled on the side.

“We have no mark registered in our system that matches to COVID,” Railinc told AP by email. 

“Further, the rules governing registered marks only allow for 2-4 alphanumeric characters. COVID would not meet that standard.” – Taryn Willows


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