The rumor that President Trump will announce a mandatory two-week quarantine for the whole country is going viral and is spreading mostly through text messages. "Please note. Within 48 to 72 hours, the President will invoke the Stafford Act," it says. "Get everything you need to make sure you have everything for two weeks. Please guide Your network. "
The message that is relayed through networks of family and friends usually comes from someone who is closely associated with the White House. The person says they "just finished a two-hour meeting" or recently spoke to friends in DC. In other cases, the CIA is cited as the source.
The White House exposed the rumor in a tweet and said: “SMS rumors about a national quarantine are FAKE. There is no national ban. "
Like most misinformation, the rumor manages to combine grains of truth with lies that fuel people's fears. When Trump declared national emergency due to the novel corona virus, he did so under the Stafford Act, which allowed him to release $ 50 billion in relief supplies.
The government has banned people from high-risk countries from entering the United States. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci also told the Americans to "squat". However, this is only a recommendation, and claims about national quarantine are unfounded. If the president issued a quarantine, the message would come from an official statement, not from the brother of a sister's friend who is said to be in the National Guard.
So far, the federal government has adhered to making recommendations and allowing local governments to set specific guidelines for their communities, such as closing schools, bars, and nightclubs. In a coronavirus briefing on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence urged Americans to be vigilant about good hygiene and asked the advice of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local health professionals.
For its part, the CDC recommended that people with COVID-19 symptoms quarantine themselves, reduce their exposure to other people, and measure their temperature twice a day. They also asked everyone to limit themselves to meetings and events.
Another viral message that looks almost identical to the joke of the Stafford Act says that only California is quarantined. "State borders close due to the number of cases in California," it says. "Companies will close and we will only be able to move on certain things, not sure what."
This also carries a bit of truth. On Sunday, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced that all "non-essential business" in California should be closed. The statement was aimed at bars and nightclubs and does not yet include restaurants that were instead asked to work at half capacity.
There was a similar rumor last week about the New York City subway closure. "A friend just alarmed me that her friend, who works on the NYPD emergency management team, is planning to take containment measures this weekend," it says. "It will look as if the North underground is shut down, the underground service is restricted and only rescue vehicles are on the move."
Mayor Bill de Blasio exposed the myth on Twitter and wrote: “NO, rumors about the quarantine in Manhattan are NOT TRUTH. If you spread this misinformation, please stop immediately! "
NO, rumors about Manhattan quarantine are NOT TRUTH. If you spread this misinformation, please stop immediately!
– Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor), March 12, 2020
Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that bars, gyms, and theaters should close and instruct all restaurants to work only to take away and deliver. The message is based on the exposure of the state that has already closed public schools.
There is an overwhelming amount of news about the novel corona virus, which makes misinformation all the more effective and dangerous. It's easy to cling to rumors that claim to have specific information about what's going to happen and what we should do to prepare. However, these myths also cause panic and cause people to hoard supplies such as hand disinfectants and cleaning agents that are urgently needed by doctors. The best step at the moment is to stick to official channels and beware of information coming through friends' networks, especially when they create strong emotions.