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US Fact check: Photo shows doctor hug 'lonely' coronavirus patient on Thanksgiving

06:05  01 december  2020
06:05  01 december  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Photo shows doctor embracing a 'vulnerable,' ' lonely ' COVID-19 patient on Thanksgiving . The doctor is known for offering cheerful words of encouragement. But a hug is something rarely seen. Nakamura was focused on capturing the moment, so he didn't hear the soft words spoken after the

Photo shows doctor embracing a 'vulnerable,' ' lonely ' COVID-19 patient on Thanksgiving . A heartbreaking photo showing the emotional moment a doctor comforted a patient in the coronavirus intensive care unit on Thanksgiving is going viral.

The claim: This photo shows a doctor embracing a patient with COVID-19

a teddy bear wearing a blue hat: Dr. Joseph Varon hugs and comforts a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) during Thanksgiving at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26 in Houston, Texas. © Go Nakamura, Getty Images Dr. Joseph Varon hugs and comforts a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) during Thanksgiving at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26 in Houston, Texas.

People Magazine recently took to Instagram to share a striking photo of a doctor — clad in masks, goggles, face shield, gown, and gloves — embracing a coronavirus patient.

"In a heartbreaking photo, a doctor in full personal protective equipment hugs an elderly patient suffering from the novel coronavirus, serving as a reminder of the human toll and impact of the virus during the holiday season," the caption read. "The photo, taken on Thanksgiving, marked Dr. Joseph Varon’s 252nd straight day of working in the hospital."

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Photo shows doctor embracing a 'vulnerable,' ' lonely ' COVID-19 patient on Thanksgiving . A heartbreaking photo showing the emotional moment a doctor comforted a patient in the coronavirus intensive care unit on Thanksgiving is going viral.

Photo shows doctor embracing a 'vulnerable,' ' lonely ' COVID-19 patient on Thanksgiving . A heartbreaking photo showing the emotional moment a doctor comforted a patient in the coronavirus intensive care unit on Thanksgiving is going viral.

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People Magazine has not responded to a request from USA TODAY for comment.

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Patient was 'vulnerable' and 'lonely' when he received hug from doctor

Photographer Go Nakamura captured the image inside an intensive care unit in Houston on Nov. 26 — Thanksgiving Day.

He told USA TODAY he has visited the ICU at United Memorial Medical Center about 20 times to document "people suffering and dying" as a result of the pandemic.

Nakamura said the patient in the viral photo was clearly feeling "vulnerable" and "lonely" when he received an embrace from Dr. Joseph Varon, the hospital's chief of staff.

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With a ward full of coronavirus patients , Dr . Varon showed the true compassion of health care workers. Dressed in full PPE, the doctor is seen comforting an New estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. may be worse

A photograph showing Dr . Joseph Varon of Houston, Texas, hugging an elderly coronavirus patient who missed his wife on Thanksgiving Day has 'I grabbed him and just held him': Heartbreaking photo shows Houston doctor in full PPE hugging crying COVID patient who missed his wife on

"I am grateful to witness a wonderful moment and I thank all the medical staffs for their hard work even during the holiday season," Nakamura wrote on Facebook.

Just a day before the photo was taken, Varon told CNN's New Day that the pandemic had pushed him to work for 251 days straight.

"It's taking a huge toll, not only on me," he said. "My nurses in the middle of the day, they will start crying, because they are getting so many patients, and it's a never-ending story."

"How have I done it? I don't know. I'm running out of fumes," he added. "I can't get a day off because nobody cares for the patients that I can care for."

Varon also emphasized how critical the next few months will be in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

"If we don't do things right, America is going to see the darkest days in modern American medical history," he said.

More snapshots of Varon, his staff, and his patients are available from Getty Images.

Our rating: True

Based on our research, the claim that this photo shows a doctor embracing a patient with COVID-19 is TRUE. Photographer Go Nakamura captured the image inside an intensive care unit in Houston on Thanksgiving Day. Details about its subject, Dr. Joseph Varon, are also true.

Our fact-check sources:

  • People Magazine, Nov. 29, Instagram post
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 30, Photo shows doctor embracing a 'vulnerable,' 'lonely' COVID-19 patient on Thanksgiving
  • Go Nakamura, Nov. 26, Facebook post
  • New Day, Nov. 25, tweet
  • Getty Images, accessed Nov. 30, Go Nakamura

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Photo shows doctor hug 'lonely' coronavirus patient on Thanksgiving

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