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Doctor pushes back against Trump's false claim that hospital overflow in parking garage is 'fake'

Overflow ward set up due to rise in COVID-19 cases
Posted at 10:42 AM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 11:27:44-05

LAS VEGAS — A doctor in Reno is pushing back against President Donald Trump's false claim that his photo of an overflow site set up in his hospital's paring garage that was necessitated by a surge in COVID-19 cases is "fake."

Last week, Dr. Jacob Keeperman, an emergency medicine specialist who works at Renown Hospital in Nevada, posted a selfie that showed him working in the hospital's parking garage. With cases of the coronavirus spiking in the city, the hospital was forced to repurposes the garage into additional hospital space in order to treat patients.

"I want to thank all the incredible staff who are Fighting the Good Fight to help all those suffering from COVID-19," Keeperman wrote. "With 5 deaths in the last 32 hours, everyone is struggling to keep their head-up. Stay strong."

Keeperman's photo went viral and even sparked praise from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak.

"Thank you, @critcare_airems, for providing life-saving care to Nevadans under these incredibly difficult circumstances," Sisokal wrote. "I am thankful every day for the doctors, nurses and other first responders in the State who continue to work selflessly on behalf of all of us."

However, the photo also garnered the attention of conspiracy theorists who claimed without evidence that the photo was staged. Such a tweet caught the attention of Trump, who conflated the conspiracy with baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

"I would be the first one to love for this to all be fake. Unfortunately, it is real," Keeperman said.

Renown Hospital says the COVID-19 overflow site in the parking garage is anything but fake. The facility is currently caring for 42 patients in the garage, and all of them have mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, there were a total of 206 patients with COVID-19 at the hospital.

"I sent that tweet to recognize all my teammates and hardworking people on the frontlines every day," Keeperman said. "It's a really sad state of affairs that something like that can be politicized and polarized."

In response, Sisolak released a blistering official statement condemning Trump's tweet, accusing the President of spreading lies and sowing distrust amid a public health crisis.

Other Nevada leaders quickly chimed in to show their support of Dr. Keeperman and all healthcare workers in the state.

"Please, whatever you believe, protect yourself and protect your family," Keeeperman said.

This story was originally published by Austin Carter on KTNV in Las Vegas.

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