A security report circulated online on Monday afternoon, claiming two Ryerson students had contracted coronavirus
A post claiming that two Ryerson students had tested positive for coronavirus was confirmed to be fake by the school this week.
The post, which circulated on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp on Monday afternoon, showed what appeared to be a Ryerson security incident page reporting a “Virus Outbreak.” The post said two Ryerson students had been admitted to Toronto General Hospital and tested positive for the virus. The post also claimed that the incident was reported on Jan. 23.
Shortly after the post spread online, Ryerson University released an official update on its Twitter account acknowledging the falsity of the post and confirming that there are no cases of coronavirus at Ryerson.
On Tuesday morning, the school put out another tweet confirming that there are still no cases of coronavirus on campus. However, the school did not issue any other updates to students other than through Twitter and its website. Usually, for security incidents, Ryerson sends out a mass email to students.
Ryerson University declined to comment on this issue.
Brooke Gouveia, a second-year psychology student, said she believed the report when her friend sent it to her on Instagram.
“A bunch of my friends were texting me in my group chat being like, ‘Oh my God, is this real?’” Gouveia said. “And then I was freaking out, I even texted my mom telling her [about this].”
Gouveia said she can’t imagine why someone might want to create fake posts about coronavirus outbreaks.
“I don’t know if they thought it was funny or wanted to cause chaos maybe; beats me.”
Roy Vandenberg, a third-year graphic communications management student, said he saw through the post immediately.
“I just went to the official Ryerson website and looked at the security incidents and it was clearly edited,” he said. “The timestamps of the latest security incident matched exactly, so right then and there I was like,‘Yup, that’s fake.’”
Gouveia said she was surprised that the school updated students through Twitter and did not send out a mass email.
“If they just sent out an email just to clarify, everyone could have had some peace and calmness last night and just been able to relax a little bit.”
While there is no case of coronavirus at Ryerson confirmed, Toronto has had two confirmed cases so far. In the meantime, Ryerson encourages students and faculty to reduce their exposure to illnesses by washing their hands regularly, covering their mouths when sneezing or coughing, avoiding sharing items and staying home if they feel sick.