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Haiti: Rumor mill, Wikipedia declared Aristide dead while he recovers from COVID

Rumors of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s demise reached a new level of exaggeration Monday when a death date — June 27, 2021 — appeared on the former president’s Wikipedia biography page. As the fake news swirled around the internet and WhatsApp, Aristide told Le Nouvelliste he is recovering from COVID-19, and has been at a Cuba hospital because the virus aggravated other illnesses for which he is being treated.

“I tested negative for COVID-19 since last Friday, I’m getting better day by day,” Aristide said. 

It was first reported that Aristide caught the virus on June 20. Speculation about him suffering from other illnesses, such as Hepatitis B and eye problems, also got traction on social media and WhatsApp. 

On Sunday, the speculation around Aristide’s condition reached a climax when an unidentified man sent around a WhatsApp voice message saying Aristide died of COVID-19 around 1:00 a.m. The Wikipedia page about Aristide then updated, showing his death date as June 27.

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