Conspiracy claim linking COVID-19 reports with the number 322 is nonsense

The volume of media coverage and the number of government units around the world provide ample opportunities for cases or deaths to sum to any number.

June 22, 2020
Category: Fact-Checking

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Some people can’t resist a good conspiracy.

Turns out, many also can’t resist one that’s exceptionally easy to disprove.

An array of Facebook posts recently surfaced singling out the number 322 and a purported connection to COVID-19. In a social media landscape rife with claims about manufactured COVID case and death tallies, and conspiracies related to vaccines, 5G cell towers and whatever else, the clear implication is there’s something nefarious going on.

“Nothing to see here except synchronized cases all over the world,” said one post from June 15.

“Google 322 Covid! Why is 322 a magic number!?!” screamed another post from the same day. “How is it that an additional 322 cases of Covid have been reported in Massachusetts, South Korea, Philippines, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Equador, Thailand, Oklahoma, China, Colorado, Armenia, Oman (Middle East), Onondaga (NY), Kerala (India), Simerset (NJ), Kentucky, Wyoming, Borders (UK), Amritsar (India), Thane (India), Camden County (NJ), Iraq, Khaleej (Dubai), and Dakota County (Nebraska)!”

That post was accompanied by 17 different photos noting the number 322 in headlines dating back to March.

The comments on the various posts offer a smorgasbord of explanations. Some noted the “Skull and Bones” secret society at Yale University is also called “Order 322.” Others noted the numbers add up to seven, or that terrorist attacks in London and Brussels occurred on March 22 (3/22).

You can actually find this supposed connection to COVID-19 with just about any number in the low three-digit range.

Click here to read the full fact-check.

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Alex Mahadevan is a senior multimedia reporter at MediaWise. He can be reached at amahadevan@poynter.org or on Twitter at @AlexMahadevan. Follow MediaWise on TikTok.

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