Fact Check: Those text messages you're getting about a national quarantine are fake

Published: Mar. 29, 2020 at 3:11 PM AKDT
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A text message making false claims about a National Guard mobilization is continuing to make its way around Alaska and the lower 48 even weeks after being debunked, due in part to individuals who receive the message forwarding it to friends and family out of concern, but without exercising scrutiny over the form or content of the message.

One variation of the text message obtained by KTUU Sunday makes erroneous claims about the National Guard being mobilized to enforce a supposed nationwide quarantine and that "within 48 to 72 Hours, the president will evoke (sic) what is called the 'Stafford Act.'"

The text message comes in an attachment with what appears to be National Guard insignia, the presidential seal, and a U.S. flag, giving the appearance of an official source.

But belying the official-looking seals and insignia are grammatical, punctuation and capitalization errors, and a dated reference to the Stafford Act which suggests the same message has continued to circulate for weeks unabated by current events.

President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, at which time he invoked the

which is described by FEMA as "the statutory authority for most Federal disaster response activities especially as they pertain to FEMA and FEMA programs."

According to a Congressional Research Agency report, the Stafford Act provides relief to states, tribes and localities with federal assistance in response to natural and man-made disasters.

According to that report, the Stafford Act was invoked an average of 57.1 times per year between 2000 and 2009, most frequently in response to winter storms and hurricanes.

On Jan. 31, 2019, President Trump

following the Nov. 30, 2018 magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

President Trump's own National Security Council issued a flat denial of rumors of a national quarantine on March 15.