Fake COVID rumour engulfs Aussie stars
A bizarre rumour that Australian acting royalty is behind the northern beaches outbreak has been quashed.
Baseless suggestions began surfacing online that Bryan Brown and his wife Rachel Ward inadvertently led to the surge in COVID cases after a personal training class at their home.
Ward took to social media on Monday night to scotch the rumours saying she hadn't been to the US for five years and was last in Sydney before the outbreak.
Anytime Fitness Avalon said online claims one of its trainers had headed to the couple's Whale Beach home was "in no way correct" and to "stop playing the blame game victimising innocent individuals and businesses".
The rumour mill in the northern beaches, nicknamed the "insular peninsula," has been in overdrive since the outbreak which now counts 83 confirmed cases.
The first two people to be identified as having the virus were a couple in their 60s and 70s. The pair were widely ridiculed after claims they had not isolated between their test and their positive result. Then there is the mystery behind who brought the virus to the well-to-do region.
None of these people have been identified and that's left gossip to fill in the gaps.
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant today appeared to let slip the person at the centre of the cluster was female referring to a "her" as being the individual who had the strain, thought to be from the US. That strain later ended up in the Sydney beachside suburb of Avalon.
However, the NSW Government has been at pains to say they are unsure how the strain could have jumped from hotel quarantine to the northern beaches.
Nevertheless, some have speculated that woman could have been Ward.
A false rumour began doing the rounds that stated Brown and Ward were allowed to bypass hotel quarantine and instead were told to isolate home after an international trip.
A visit by a personal trainer then led to the virus circulating around the ritzy region, it was said.
On Monday afternoon, Channel 9 reporter Damien Ryan said the rumour was flatly denied.
"There is a lot of chatter that Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward were somehow behind the Avalon cluster," he said in a tweet.
"I spoke to the actor and he insists he hasn't been overseas since last year."
Rosie, the couple's daughter, told the Daily Mail the couple got tested but that was because of the outbreak.
"They both got tested because they were in Avalon - they're negative."
Ward herself took to Instagram later on Monday to set the record straight. She posted a picture of her holding a wallaby.
"I haven't been to US for over fiver years; I don't have a personal trainer; I've been in mid north coast for past 10 days; I don't have Covid.
"Pick on another witch."
Anytime Fitness Avalon put a post of their Facebook page titled "clarification of the rumour".
"We are in no way affiliated with Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward and none of our trainers have been in contact with either person," the firm said.
"It has been bought to our attention that there is a rumour circulating that one of our personal trainers had visited Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward at their home, leading to a spread of infection. This is in no way correct."
New South Wales has so far recorded 83 cases from the northern beaches cluster with 15 new infections in the last 24 hours.
Originally published as Fake COVID rumour engulfs Aussie stars