I received from a family member a message saying that someone they know sent them the following text.

please be advised, within 48-72 hours the president will evoke the Stafford Act. Just got off the phone with some of my military friends up in DC who just got out of a two-hour briefing. The president will order a two-week mandatory quarantine for the nation. Stock upon whatever you guys need to make sure you have a two-week supply of everything.

In the message I received it was noted that this information could be false.

I searched on the internet and found that someone had received the exact same message, so it could be some chain message that is just getting passed around.

Is there any evidence that there will be a national quarantine in the US?

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    "please be advised, within 48-72 hours the president will evoke the Stafford Act" - The Stafford Act was invoked on Friday. forbes.com/sites/mattperez/2020/03/13/… The text is likely a chain text to encourage more panic buying. – Chris Rogers Mar 16 at 5:58
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    Quick reasonableness test: is it likely that any military officer (and it would all be officers) would share this sort of info before the official announcement? Very career-limiting move, to say the least. – Tom Zych Mar 16 at 16:25
  • @TomZych Yes, especially since the message says "got off the phone with some of my military friends", implying that there was more than one of them. – plasticinsect Mar 16 at 16:34
  • Since it is now Tuesday, apparently the Stafford Act does not automatically invoke a mandatory quarantine. – PoloHoleSet Mar 17 at 14:37
  • This is now obsolete. The date passed.. – Oddthinking Mar 17 at 14:37

The US National Security Council has made a statement on twitter that this is fake:

Screen shot of NSC tweet

Text of tweet:


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

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    Of course they would say that, even if they were planning a lockdown they wouldn't announce it until it came into force. – gerrit Mar 16 at 17:42
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    @gerrit , I'm not sure that's really true. Government officials will not emit outright false statements; they obfuscate. (Any "ufo nut", for instance, will tel you this :) ) – Fattie Mar 16 at 18:34
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    And indeed: French lockdown, categorically denied until moments ago, is now official. – gerrit Mar 16 at 19:20
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    @gerrit, while you are correct that a French lockdown was just announced, some clarifications need to be made. First of, it didn't go into effect immediately. It starts tomorrow at noon (French time, obviously). Secondly, people are still allowed to go to shops for food, so no need to stock up for two week beforehand (although buying sufficient to last you some time is not a bad idea, as it limits your travel outside your house). – MrZarq Mar 16 at 19:57
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    @MrZarq If/when a US quarantaine happens they're certainly going to to exempt trips to the grocery store from that too, so I agree that it is no excuse for panic buying. – gerrit Mar 16 at 23:34

That Hoax message was debunked by Rolling Stone Magazine (funny enough). It makes clear that the Stafford Act does not grant any (additional) lockdown powers, was already invoked before your message and is quite commonly used to tap into FEMA resources:


The act itself is available on the FEMA website and has a good Wikipedia synopsis.

This does not say anything about the future: state of emergency is declared and might be acted upon.

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  • This answer would be better without the personal opinion – PC Luddite Mar 16 at 18:44
  • I removed it anyway. – eckes Mar 16 at 19:00

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