The White House debunked rumors circulating through texts about a national quarantine and assured United States citizens that the government has not ordered a national lockdown as a response to the continued spread of the coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
According to a statement issued by the National Security Council (NSC), there is no truth to the text messages that purports that President Donald Trump will be enforcing a national quarantine over a two-week period within the next 72 hours after invoking the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
In a tweet by the NSC they stressed that there is no national lockdown that has been implemented. Also adding that they are monitoring latest guidance posted by the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding COVID-19.
Text message rumors of a national #quarantine are FAKE. There is no national lockdown. @CDCgov has and will continue to post the latest guidance on #COVID19. #coronavirus — NSC (@WHNSC) March 16, 2020
The message circulating claims to have been sent from someone's "friend inside the military," which warned people to stock up on supplies which will suffice for a period of two weeks and told people to forward the messages to their family and friends. The text caused fear in the US which prompted some people to resort to panic buying in order to be prepared if the lockdown is imposed.
As of the moment, there is still no further information if there are criminal investigations that have been launched to track the source of the texts.
Invocation of the Stafford Act
On Friday March 13, President Trump invoked the Stafford Act and declared a national state of emergency due to the unceasing spread of COVID-19. However, the White House emphasized that invocation of the Stafford does not mean that there is a national quarantine implemented.
The Stafford Act which was enacted in 1998 allows the coordination between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state and local governments in the administration of disaster relief aid.
However, one of the government's top infectious disease experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that a two-week national lockdown is still on the cards as Americans still have a long way to go and to change on their behavior before they can truly protect themselves from contracting the virus.
He further added that people need to be more involved and take seriously the calls for social distancing. The CDC has recommended that large gatherings or events that include more than 50 attendees should be canceled in the next couple of weeks to help combat the spread of the virus.
Moreover, the CDC also said that events should only be continued if the organizers are able to adhere to the guidelines set for protecting the vulnerable populations, proper hand hygeine and social distancing. They also advised that if it is possible, the organizers should modify the events to be virtual.
The CDC's recommendation was given in an attempt to mitigate the introduction of the virus into new communities and also to slow down the spread of coronavirus in communities that are already affected.
At present, there are already more than 3,370 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the US and there are already 69 who has dies due to the virus.