On Aug. 3, 2021, a video posted to the right-wing video hosting platform Bitchute falsely claimed that a Canadian man, Patrick King, had successfully shown in court that COVID-19 is a "hoax," and as a result, government restrictions intended to slow the spread of the virus had been lifted.
"YUGE!!!" the headline read. "CANADIAN COURT VICTORY PROVES COVID-19 IS A HOAX & ALL RESTRICTIONS HAVE NOW BEEN DROPPED"
King, a resident of the Canadian province of Alberta, told host Stew Peters, an internet personality with a track record of spreading COVID-19 misinformation, that Alberta health minister Dr. Deena Hinshaw failed to show evidence that the COVID-19 virus had been isolated and thus had no grounds to put restrictions in place to stop its spread. He took credit for Alberta's lifting COVID-19-related restrictions.
The story accompanying the video, authored by someone self-identified as Kenan SonOfEnos, further stated:
Patriot Patrick King represented himself in court after being fined $1200 dollars for protesting against the Covid-Hoax, he slew the beast and emerged VICTORIOUS. He issued a subpoena to the Provincial Health Minister for proof that the so-called Covid-19 Virus exists, and they were forced to admit that they had no evidence whatsoever. The virus has never been isolated, and thus the government had no legal grounds to impose any of the punishing restrictions they have inflicted on society. Since this shocking confession came to light, the Province has since rescinded all Covid-Restrictions and now officially treats Covid-19 as nothing more than a mild flu! WE WON
King didn't win but rather had to pay a fine. COVID-19 is not a hoax, and related restrictions meant to slow the spread in Alberta were lifted not because of King's case, but because health experts there said high vaccination rates made severe outcomes from contracting the disease less likely.
Here's a run-down of the claims in this video.
The COVID-19 Virus Hasn't Been Isolated and Is a Hoax?
The COVID-19 pandemic isn't a hoax. More than 4.3 million people worldwide have died as a result of the virus.
The COVID-19 virus has been isolated on numerous occasions and in various countries. In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a virus specimen was first collected from a U.S. patient and delivered to the CDC for study on Jan. 20, 2020.
Were COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted in Alberta Due to King's Case?
No. Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said in a July 28, 2021, news conference that the province was relaxing restrictive measures as of Aug. 16 because the majority of eligible residents have been vaccinated, meaning that it's unlikely that the pandemic will overrun the hospital system.
As of this writing, 66.9% of Albertans have been fully vaccinated.
With so many people protected by vaccines and doses available right now for anyone 12 and over, the threat of this still-dangerous virus is shifting. While COVID-19 cases may rise in the coming weeks and months, a surge in hospitalizations and other severe outcomes is much less likely thanks to vaccines, We need to make sure that Alberta's health system is able to support all patients. That is why we are making changes to bring COVID-19 measures with how we handle other respiratory viruses.
Did Canada Admit It Had "No Evidence" COVID-19 exists?
It did not. We reached out to the Alberta Ministry of Health with questions about King's case, but didn't get a response in time for publication. However, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF), a Canadian legal advocacy organization focused on constitutional rights, posted an explainer about the case, noting the organization had received a "great deal of email" on the subject.
Basically, King conflated the case in which he got a ticket for violating COVID-19 restrictions with his argument against the scientific and public health basis for COVID-19-related health restrictions, JCCF explained, noting, "It is unclear whether Mr. King fully understands the legal process he is involved in."
The government didn't admit it has "no evidence" that COVID-19 exists exists. Instead, it said the evidence requested by King was not relevant to a ticket he received. Here's how JCCF explained what happened in court:
The Government argued the subpoena was technically deficient and the Justice of the Peace had no jurisdiction to issue it. The Government further stated, Mr. King has "no evidence" showing that “the evidence sought from the CMOH is likely to be material” [legal term for meaning relevant and related] to the provincial court ticket received. “It is clear that Mr. King seeks evidence relating to the rationale for orders issued by the CMOH under the Act: he seeks evidence about the ‘Crafting of the statutes’,” stated the Government’s Affidavit. There do not appear to be any critical admissions by Dr. Hinshaw about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and this document has been prepared by the government’s legal team, not Dr. Hinshaw.