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Friday, February 23, 2024

‘Do Not Believe the Disinformation Campaigns’: DHS Tamps Down COVID-19 Lockdown Rumors

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf urged Americans to not believe rumors that the Department of Homeland Security is planning a lockdown in response to the coronavirus.

“Hearing a lot about texts from ‘friends at DHS’ or ‘friends with connections at DHS’ that say DHS is planning a national lock down. THIS IS NOT TRUE,” Wolf tweeted Friday. “Do not believe the disinformation campaigns. Please do not pass it along. Use trusted local and federal government sources.”

Wolf also addressed on Fox News today a rumor that the National Guard was going to fan out to major cities to enforce martial law.

“It’s simply not true. What we see is a lot of disinformation campaigns via text, via social media. So we want to make sure that we refute those, we knock those down,” he said. “…But a lot of disinformation is just that, disinformation. So again, we want to make sure that individuals are getting their information from trusted sources, so those are your state and federal officials. And we’re asking them not to spread this type of information around.”

“We have no plans for a national lockdown or a national quarantine. And again, it’s just that, it’s disinformation.”

In response to the rumor mill, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released a mythbusters guide addressing allegations from impending military action to prepper hoarding.

“FEMA does not have military assets. Like all emergencies, response is most successful when it is locally executed, state managed and federally supported,” the agency noted. “Each state’s governor is responsible for response activities in their state, to include establishing curfews, deploying the National Guard if needed and any other restrictions or safety measures they deem necessary for the health and welfare of their citizens.”

On the grocery store mad dashes: “Please only buy what your family needs for a week. It is important to remember that many families may be unable to buy a supply of food and water for weeks in advance. Consumer demand has recently been exceptionally high – especially for grocery, household cleaning, and some healthcare products. Freight flows are not disrupted, but stores need time to restock.”

FEMA also addresses the myth that younger, healthier people don’t need to worry about the coronavirus. “It is an unfortunate rumor that only people over 60 years of age are at risk of getting this disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those at higher risk include older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions. However, symptoms can range from mild to severe with and may have different complications for each individual,” the agency said. “The CDC has a list of COVID-19 symptoms you may experience. Please continue to follow the official information from the CDC.”

Read more at FEMA

COVID-19: What You Need to Know About the Global Coronavirus Outbreak

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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