ryerson coronavirus

Ryerson University responds to allegations of coronavirus outbreak on campus

Many students at Toronto's Ryerson University are fearing the worst as images that seem to confirm multiple cases of coronovirus at the school are circulating on social media.

Screengrabs of what appears to be a Ryerson Community Safety and Security alert about an outbreak of the illness on campus have been making their rounds on Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook.

"2 students attending Ryerson university have been admitted into Toronto General Hospital and have been tested positive for Coronavirus," the photo of the webpage reads, going on to say the students were on campus two days per week from January 6 to January 23, and that the university is "investigating all locations the students have been to."

News of the rumoured cases spread like, well, a virus, panicking many students and Toronto residents in general.

Fortunately, some were quick to point out the grammatical and capitalization errors in the alleged post, calling its veracity into question.

Ryerson confirmed yesterday evening that the screengrabs were indeed fake, and that there are currently no known cases of the novel virus at the institution. In a tweet, the university linked to its actual Safety and Security page, which has no such posts.

The images are suspected to have been created using the "inspect element" browser feature that allows users to temporarily edit the HTML source code of webpages.

Obviously, select individuals were looking to terrify fellow students — and they aren't the only ones. McMaster University in Hamilton and Durham College in Oshawa have also been facing false reports of coronavirus outbreaks that originated on social media.

There was also speculation that a retail employee at Markham shopping centre CF Markville may have been infected, which the mall refuted in a written statement.

Health officials continue to reassure the public that the risk to Canadians is currently low, but residents are still finding cause for alarm.

The death toll from the coronavirus in China is now at least 106, with more than 4,500 cases confirmed globally. Two people in Toronto have been confirmed to be afflicted, with 19 others in Ontario under investigation. These numbers pale in comparison to annual deaths from the average flu, which is also often caused by a type of coronavirus.

Lead photo by

Ryerson


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