NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — Wow, four years ago, when the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus first began taking hold on New Bedford and the SouthCoast, things were pretty wild.

On March 11, 20204 we hit the fourth anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a “global pandemic.”

WBSM published its first COVID-19 story on January 27, 2020, as Southcoast Health prepared its staff to deal with the virus. By early March, New Bedford Public Schools were still open, while Old Rochester Regional was asking students and staff who had just returned from a school trip to Italy to stay home.

In fact, the New Bedford Half Marathon was the only thing that had really been canceled to that point.

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Taking a look back at some of the other stories WBSM published in regards to the virus back in March 2020, one stood out above the others.

Here we were so early in the pandemic, at a time when we had more questions than answers and many were concerned about just how serious this virus was, and we had someone trying to perpetrate a hoax right out of the gate.

We never found out who, but someone altered a legitimate WBSM story on the coronavirus and New Bedford Public Schools.

Then-Superintendent Thomas Anderson had released a statement saying his administration was “monitoring” the COVID-19 situation.

READ MORE: New Bedford Superintendent Releases Statement Regarding Coronavirus

However, someone doctored a screenshot of the story to make it read that it was “confirmed that there was once case of the COVID-19 virus in a student at Newbedford Highschool.” That screenshot was then disseminated all over social media.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

Grammatical errors aside, at that time there was no truth to their being a student at New Bedford High School that has tested positive for the coronavirus. Of course, we know that it didn’t take long before COVID cases were popping up all over the SouthCoast.

READ MORE: No, We Didn't Report a New Bedford Student Has the Coronavirus

We’ve come a long way over the past four years, but unfortunately, fake news and fake screenshots are still far too common.

READ MORE: WBSM's Complete Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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