Stephen King Fake News Twitter Screed About Florida’s COVID-19 Deaths Goes Viral

Author Stephen King reads from his latest book "Ur" with the Kindle 2 electronic reader at a news conference for Monday, Feb. 9, 2009 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan/Twitter

Novelist Stephen King has spread misinformation on Twitter about Florida’s COVID-19 deaths, incorrectly claiming the state had 1,200 deaths in just one day in an apparent confusion between reported deaths and actual deaths that occurred that day.

In a hysterical tweet, Stephen King claimed Florida had 1,200 dead of COVID on Thursday. “Not the total for a week or a month, but ONE SINGLE DAY,” the Pet Cemetery and Misery writer added.

King appears to be referring to reports of the latest CDC figures for Florida, showing an increase of 1,296 deaths on Thursday from the total reported a day earlier. The figure doesn’t represent deaths that occurred Thursday but rather deaths over an undefined period that can go back weeks.

The actual number of COVID-19 deaths in Florida for Thursday remains uncertain but various sites have estimated it at less than ten, though that number could change since deaths can take days or weeks to report.

Author Stephen King in the stands prior to a Boston Red Sox baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Stephen King posted his tweet Friday morning and hadn’t removed or corrected it as of early Friday evening, despite numerous replies telling him that he was incorrect. Twitter hasn’t flagged King’s post as inaccurate or placed any other warning on it.

The false tweet has been liked nearly 60,000 times and has been retweeted or quote-tweeted more than 20,000 times.

The horror novelist has repeatedly attacked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) over his coronavirus policies, which have prioritized vaccinations for the state’s most vulnerable citizens — namely, the elderly — while also preserving individual liberties and freedoms.

In a statement to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, hit back at King’s past attacks.

“I do not understand why the public or reporters would look to fiction writers for insights on infectious disease and environmental issues,” Pushaw said.

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