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VERIFY: Houston newspaper did publish 43 pages of obituaries, but it was a quarterly advertising section

Thousands of people have shared online posts that read, "The Houston Chronicle obituary section was 43 pages today. Let that sink in."

HOUSTON — Thousands of people have been sharing social media posts that say the Houston Chronicle’s obituary section was 43 pages over the weekend. Many are linking the death announcements to the rise in local coronavirus cases.

The problem is that conclusion is based on bad information.

To verify the claims, KHOU 11 News reached out to the Houston Chronicle.

“This section has been widely misunderstood,” said Steve Riley, executive editor.

He explained the list of tributes is an advertising section that’s published every quarter. People who buy obituaries during that period can have their loved ones included in the section.

“Its existence, or its size, had nothing to do with the surge in COVID cases or deaths, other than whatever deaths from COVID might be included,” said Riley.

You might be wondering if it is possible the rise in cases is why this summer’s section is so long.

According to the Chron, the last “Tributes” section published in March included 42 pages of obits.                                                                                               

KHOU 11 News can verify the Sunday edition of the Houston Chronicle did include a special section of obituaries. However, social media posts linking the ad section to the rising number of coronavirus cases are false.

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