FULL CLAIM: “Nashville bomber died from COVID-19”
On 25 December 2020, 63-year-old Anthony Quinn Warner exploded a bomb in a recreational vehicle in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, injuring eight people. A few days later, the claim that Warner died from COVID-19 started circulating on social media (examples here, here, and here), receiving hundreds of thousands of interactions on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, according to the social media analytics tool CrowdTangle.
The origin of this claim is a fabricated image made to look like a screenshot of a CNN broadcast that the satire website Genesius Times published under the headline “BREAKING: Nashville Bomber died from COVID-19 shortly after blowing himself up.” Indeed, local authorities confirmed through DNA evidence that Warner perished in the blast, making it obviously impossible that Warner died from anything else afterward. Also, Genesius Times explicitly mentions the satirical tone of its website by self-describing it as “the most reliable source of fake news on the planet.”
In contrast, many social media posts that shared the CNN image or the claim lack the necessary context to identify the claim as fake. Some threads on Twitter also used the story to further push the false narrative that public health authorities are artificially inflating the COVID-19 death toll by attributing other causes of deaths to COVID-19.
In summary, the screengrab of the CNN broadcast claiming that the Nashville bomber died from COVID-19 is false and comes from a satire website that publishes humorous fake news. DNA evidence confirmed that the person responsible for setting off the bomb died in the blast, not from COVID-19.
PolitiFact and Snopes also reviewed this claim and found it “False.”