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Fact Check: Did Italian magazine in 1962 show social distancing followed today amid Coronavirus outbreak?

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Summary

The viral illustrative published in 1962 did not show what the world could look like in 2022 but was published to show how the problem of traffic in cities could be lightened in the future using small, single-seater cars.

In the backdrop of Coronavirus crisis when governments all over the world are stressing over the importance of 'social distancing' to fight against this pandemic, a picture is being widely circulated on social media with a message claiming that an Italian magazine published a story in 1962 showing what the world could look like in 2022. A Twitter user shared the image with a similar message. 

At the time of writing this article, the tweet was reshared over 1000 times. 

The image is viral on Facebook as well. 

This post also received over 1400 reshares. 

In the picture art one can see a group of people traveling privately in a small, enclosed vehicle and maintaining some distance between each other.

The truth behind the claim 

In our investigation we found out that the picture is real and it did appear in a 1962 Italian magazine, however, the context of the photographic art is not what is being claimed. 

The viral picture was published in an Italian weekly newspaper La Domenica del Corriere, which ran from 1899 to 1989. The image appeared on the back cover of the newspaper on 16th December 1962 edition with a caption that can be roughly translated to, “Will we go around cities like this? Here’s how the problem of traffic in cities could be lightened, if not completely solved: tiny single-seater cars that occupy a small area…”

Unlike the viral claim, the creator of this art, great satirical cartoonist Walter Molino, did not specifically mention the photograph is an illustration of the future year 2022. The caption suggests that the photograph actually shows how the problem of traffic in cities could be lightened in the future using small, single-seater cars (singlets) occupying quite less area.

In conclusion, the viral illustrative published in 1962 did not show what the world could look like in 2022 but was published to show how the problem of traffic in cities could be lightened in the future using small, single-seater cars.

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