This video shows workmen uncovering a bat-infested roof in the US state of Florida in 2011
A video showing scores of bats nesting under tiles of a roof has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook that it shows the cause of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China. The claim is false; the video has circulated online since at least July 2011 and actually shows repairs being made to the roof of a bat-infested house in the city of Miami in the United States.
The video was shared here on Facebook on February 4, 2020. It has been viewed more than 28,000 times.
The three-minute four-second footage shows people lifting tiles off a roof, revealing dozens of bats under them.
Below is a screenshot of the misleading Facebook post:
The post’s caption reads: “The corona virus source is found. It turns out that many roofs in Hubei China are covered with chrysanthemum bats, a type of bat.”
Novel coronavirus, a viral epidemic believed to have emerged from a wildlife market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, has killed at least 630 people and infected 31,000 others in China, as reported here by AFP on February 7, 2020.
The claim is false; the video has circulated online since at least July 2011 and shows repairs being done on the roof of a bat-infested house in Miami, Florida, US.
A reverse image search of keyframes extracted from the video in the misleading post found found this longer video published on the YouTube channel of the US-based roofing company Istueta Roofing on July 5, 2011.
The video is titled: “Bat infestation under tile roof- Roofing Miami, Florida.”
The video description states: “Our crew is in for a surprise when they begin the removal process of our clients' old roof and hundreds of bats come flying out from underneath the tiles. This was unexpected!”
Below are screenshot comparisons of the video in the misleading Facebook post (L) and video on Istueta Roofing’s YouTube page (R):
The same video can also be found on the roofing company’s website here.
During a phone conversation with AFP on February 6, 2020, a co-owner of Istueta Roofing, Ariel Istueta, said the video was taken in the US in 2011.
“This is not from China, this is a video from 2011, when our former project manager Danny Argote went to replace a roof infested with bats in the Pinecrest locality in the suburbs of Miami in Florida,” he said.