Trump administration debunks 'text message rumors' of a national coronavirus quarantine
As if the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic wasn't scary enough for people following the real, fact-based news, a number of hoaxes and obviously fake stories have been gaining traction in the last few days, causing unnecessary panic and making it hard for US authorities to communicate with the public in a direct and clear way.
Fortunately, at least one official communication channel of the Trump administration took the time early Monday morning to debunk and vehemently deny one particularly vile rumor that spread like wildfire on social media and through text messages over the weekend. As highlighted by the National Security Council, there's absolutely no truth to "national quarantine" or "national lockdown" stories, and instead of trusting such glaring misinformation, you should continue to keep your eyes peeled on the @CDCgov Twitter account.
The latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention merely calls for "social distancing" in "affected communities", which is widely believed to crucially contribute to slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus that's already killed more than 7,000 people worldwide, including 77 in the US. Basically, you're only recommended to avoid crowded places and maintain a healthy distance from others, which is an entirely different thing from a quarantine or lockdown state.
It seems that a number of variations of the text message the NSC is referring to have been circulating in the last 48 hours or so, suggesting a two week "mandatory quarantine for the nation" would be declared "within 48 to 72 hours." While the coronavirus pandemic is indeed threatening to run rampant in the US in the near future, Donald Trump has absolutely no intention of locking down the entire nation.
Were that to happen at any point, you should definitely not expect to hear of it from a friend of a friend of a friend or a random Twitter follower quoting military sources who just got out of a "two hour briefing."
As painful as it sounds, you might want to keep an eye on Trump's own tweets in addition to the official CDC and NSC feeds, and don't rush out to stock up on groceries or household items. That kind of panic buying will only increase the risk of contracting COVID-19 when in fact supermarkets are likely to stay open during a "mandatory quarantine" as well.