With community members on edge as increasing novel coronavirus infections are reported across the globe, L.A. County health officials are warning against false information.
A signed letter circulating online and in Carson, topped with logos of local and federal health organizations, alleges that the city is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak.
But the letter is fake.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health on Thursday assured community members that there is no threat to the public and urged people to look for accurate information on its website and verified social media accounts.
Though one case of the viral coronavirus strain was confirmed in each L.A. and Orange counties, there is currently no evidence of person-to-person transmission in the state, according to health officials.
The new respiratory illness has infected almost 10,000 people globally and killed over 200 in China in just two months, prompting the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a global emergency.
Six cases were reported in the U.S.— most involving patients who traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. The U.S. advised against all travel to the country.
As the outbreak made headlines, false reports of infections quickly circulated.
California State University, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California have both warned of false reports of coronavirus infections and assured people that there were no cases on their campuses.
Major retailers across the U.S. are selling out of basic surgical masks as fears of infection grew, CNN reported. But health experts said there’s no need to wear surgical masks and that there’s no evidence that they help prevent infection.
L.A. County officials assured community members that the appropriate systems are in place to support screening and testing for those who are exposed and that no special precautions are required.
“People should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they don’t have symptoms of the respiratory illness,” L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a news release.
Symptoms of the viral coronavirus illness include fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
A fake letter circulating on Facebook, and through emails, claims that the City of Carson is experiencing a coronavirus outbreak, and that is FALSE. This letter is a hoax. For updated information on the coronavirus, please follow @lapublichealth or visit: https://t.co/MSy0OnJ8YE pic.twitter.com/q4EVGcfM9v
— Hilda Solis (@HildaSolis) January 31, 2020
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) January 31, 2020