Egypt Denied an Oxygen Failure Killed Covid Patients. We Found That It Did.

EL HUSSEINEYA, Egypt — A cry pierced the night from the balcony of an Egyptian hospital. A nurse was screaming that the patients in the Covid intensive care unit were gasping for air.

Ahmed Nafei, who was standing outside, brushed past a security guard, dashed in and saw that his 62-year-old aunt was dead.

Furious, he whipped out his phone and began filming. It appeared that the hospital had run out of oxygen. Monitors were beeping. A nurse was visibly distressed and cowering in a corner as her colleagues tried to resuscitate a man using a manual ventilator.

At least four patients died.

Mr. Nafei’s 47-second video this month of the chaos at El Husseineya Central Hospital, about two and a half hours northeast of Cairo, went viral on social media.

As outrage grew, the government denied that the hospital had run out of oxygen.

An official statement issued the following day concluded that the four who died had suffered from “complications” and denied that the deaths had “any connection” to an oxygen shortage. Security officers interrogated Mr. Nafei, and officials blamed him for violating rules barring visitation and filming inside hospitals.

A New York Times investigation, however, found otherwise.