Fact Check: New York City Is NOT Set To Undergo Citywide Quarantine

Fact Check

  • by: Wayne Drash

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: New York City Is NOT Set To Undergo Citywide Quarantine

Will New York City begin a citywide quarantine? No, that's not true: That is false information tweeted by a self-proclaimed "patriotic American" backed up by no facts. In fact, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a plea for people spreading the rumor to "PLEASE STOP NOW!"

The tweet at issue was posted by The Real Patriotic American, Harold Owens @HOwensUSA (archived here) on March 12, 2020, and read:

New York City will begin a city wide quarantine starting tonight, sources close to the situation tell me. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor De Blasio will be making an announcement shortly.

Users on Twitter saw this:

The false claim continued to proliferate on Twitter more than 24 hours after it was posted. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week did announce a ban on public gatherings of more than 500 people, which went into effect at 5 p.m. ET Friday, March 13, 2020. The move was part of a series of drastic measures aimed at curbing the coronavirus outbreak in the city of more than 8 million people and across the state. New York City Major Bill de Blasio also declared a state of emergency.

Mayor de Blasio became so upset with the Twitter rumors that he posted his own tweet:

NO, there is NO TRUTH to rumors about Manhattan being quarantined. Whoever is spreading this misinformation, PLEASE STOP NOW!

The state had reported a total of 421 coronovirus cases, including 96 confirmed new cases on Friday, according to Cuomo. "My guess is there are thousands and thousands of cases walking around the state of New York," the governor told reporters. With the state in desperate need of more testing capabilities, the governor said the state will soon be able to test about 6,000 people a day - up from 3,000.

The city of New Rochelle, just north of the Big Apple, is at the epicenter of the state's outbreak - where a one-mile radius "containment zone" began to be enforced Thursday, March 12, 2020, with the National Guard unloading pallets of food to be delivered to holed-up residents. There have been 158 cases in the area, with many of the patients connected to a synagogue within the containment zone. Authorities are hoping that, by limiting contact of people in the area, it will stop the spread of the virus before it becomes more widespread.

The governor announced a new drive-through testing facility in New Rochelle to speed up the process in the hard-hit area.

President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency over the pandemic, making $50 billion in emergency funding available to fight coronavirus.


  • 2020-03-14T20:41:57Z 2020-03-14T20:41:57Z
    Updated Saturday, March 14, 2020: adding NYC mayor tweet

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Wayne Drash

Wayne Drash, a staff writer and fact-checker for Lead Stories, is a former senior producer and writer for CNN’s Health team, telling narratives about life and the unfolding drama of the world we live on. He specialized in covering complex major issues, such as health insurance, the opioid epidemic and Big Pharma.


Read more about or contact Wayne Drash

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