Dolls in hospital beds are not “evidence” of faking the pandemic

Illustration (Hospital CLÍNIC -

Original article (in Bosnian) was published on 19/01/2022

Photos showing dolls in hospital beds are manipulatively presented on social media as “proof” that the Covid-19 pandemic was fake.

On December 22, 2021, five photos from various media reports and posts from social networks showing dolls in hospital beds were published on the Facebook profile of Blokirana Suncica. These photos are presented as alleged evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic was fake. The photos are shared with the following text: 

Because the hospitals are full… of whom? That is, – of what?

Raskrinkavanje has found four more Facebook posts in our language in which these and other similar photos are placed in the same context. On December 22, 2021, six photos were published on the profile of Marko Merkas, with a description stating the following:

Give us a bit more pathos and acting, next time put some makeup on the dolls 🤡

By the time this analysis was written, more than 340 Facebook users had shared this post.

What are the facts?

The photos in these Facebook posts are not “evidence” for the Covid-19 pandemic conspiracy theory.

One of the published photos is a screenshot of a post from the Facebook page RTÉ News, which shared an article on intensive care problems in Ireland on December 16, 2021.

Facebook (Blokirana Suncica)

The photo, featured in the article, shows a man in a white coat. He is in the hospital room, and a doll is laid on the bed behind him.

A video report on the same topic was published in the RTÉ’s article. The video also shows a man in a photo posted on Facebook. He is introduced using the following words:

At the Royal College of Surgeons Training Center, one of the country’s top intensive care consultants identifies one key problem: intensive care capacity.

The video features the same man from the photo, Professor Gerard Curley, employed at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).

So, as revealed in the video, Curley made the statement at the college’s training center, and it is not surprising that puppets can be seen behind him, and not real people.

Another photo posted on the Facebook profile of Blokirana Suncica shows men in suits and a woman in a medical uniform standing in a hospital room with dolls lying in beds next to them.

Facebook (Blokirana Suncica)

It is alleged that this photo shows UK government officials visiting an “overcrowded” NHS hospital. The translation of the text from the photo states: “Stop being selfish! Save the doll, damn it! Every piece of silicone and synthetic meat is valuable! Please turn off your TVs and use your innate intelligence”. 

However, the photo does not show UK government officials or any hospital visit. Various incorrect claims that this photo shows Swiss officials visiting a hospital where dolls were on hospital beds, have appeared in other languages. Numerous fact-finding platforms worldwide have already written about them (1, 2).

According to the Associated Press in the analysis from December 19, 2020, the photo shows Swiss officials in the university’s training room for medical staff. The photo shows the Swiss Minister of the Interior and Health Alain Berset visiting the Haute Ecole Arc Santé University in Neuchâtel.

Several photos show the Minister of Health standing in front of a doll in a university classroom that imitates a hospital. Medical puppets are intended for the training of medical technicians.

So, even this photo does not “prove” the alleged faking of the Covid-19 pandemic, but was simply taken in a room where dolls are used to train medical staff.

One of the published photos shows a girl in a nurse’s uniform. She is in a room reminiscent of a hospital room. Behind her, there are several puppets, which are indicated by red arrows.

Facebook (Blokirana Suncica)

Also, two photos were published in which the mentioned dolls were enlarged, so it is clear that they are not real people.

Below the photo is a quote in English: “I am exhausted, we are all, we will experience a burn out before we even qualify”. The photo also shows the logo of the media house RTE News.

This photo originates from the Instagram profile of rtenews. It was published on this profile on December 16, 2021, and refers to a media report that was published on the RTÉ website on the same day. The article talks about the problematic situation of medical technicians during the Covid-19 pandemic. The article also published a video in which several medical workers speak for RTÉ. The girl from the photo shared on Facebook is Chloe Slevin. She is in her third year of medical technician school and was called to work in hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The article and the video do not state in which hospital the video was made. However, the interior and the fact that Slevin is a student indicate that this is probably where medical technicians have their training.

Two additional photos were published on the Facebook profile of Marko Merkas. The first photo, published on January 6, 2022, shows a handless doll lying in a hospital bed while medical workers are standing next to it.

Facebook (Marko Merkas)

The text from the photo states the following: “France: Hospitals are so saturated with the omicron variant that there is not even time to put the arms to the mannequins for the media…” 

As can be concluded from the photo, the handless doll was allegedly part of the French BFM TV report.

Numerous fact-checking platforms worldwide have written about the manipulation of this photo (1, 2, 3). As Reuters explains in an analysis of the facts, from January 10, 2022, it is a photomontage:

The montage was created by combining unrelated screengrabs: the newsclip elements (see blue banner with a text that reads: “Castex tests positive for COVID-19” (translated from French) from BFMTV were extracted from the preview of this video (here) (see the hour indication 22:01 on the top left corner); it originally showed footage of French Prime Minister Jean Castex.

The image of the mannequin can be found in a video from the University Institute of Cardiology and Respirology of Quebec (around timestamp 1:31, ) published on April 23, 2020. It shows a training video of healthcare professionals treating COVID-19 patients at an intensive care unit.

The photo that was published on the Facebook profile of Marko Merkas, on January 7, 2022, also shows a hospital bed with a doll on it and several people standing next to it.

Facebook (Marko Merkas)

On October 12, 2021, the fact-checking platform Demagog from Poland wrote about the manipulative presentation of this and other photos taken at the same event. According to them, the photos were taken in September 2021 at the grand opening of the medical simulation center in Sanok. In this case, too, it is a space used to train medical staff, specifically, a simulation center.

This makes it clear that none of the published photos in any way “prove” the existence of a conspiracy based on the premise that the Covid-19 pandemic is being faked.

According to the World Health Organization, by January 18, 2022, more than 328 million people were infected with Covid-19 disease, while more than 5,500,000 had died.

The average number of new infections reported each day in Bosnia and Herzegovina has risen by more than 1,800 in the last three weeks, according to Reuters’ report from January 19, 2022. More than 13,800 Covid-19-related deaths have been reported in BiH at the time of writing.
Given all the facts, posts suggesting that the mentioned photos of dolls in hospital beds “prove” that the pandemic was fake, are rated as manipulation of facts and conspiracy theory.