A series of text messages attributed to sources in high places are being forwarded across group chats and causing panic for New Yorkers facing the coronavirus pandemic.
The text messages falsely claim that New York City is going to be shut down over the weekend because of the coronavirus. Some attributed this to former mayor Michael Bloomberg, others to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and others still are claiming they heard it from the NYPD. All are false.
“Lots of new information flying around at a rapid race. It’s important we all do the best we can to limit the flow of inaccurate info. For anyone who has received this message, it is NOT true,” tweeted Freddi Goldstein, the press secretary for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The mayor himself weighed in with a tweet later Thursday.
“NO, there is NO TRUTH to rumors about Manhattan being quarantined. Whoever is spreading this misinformation, PLEASE STOP NOW!” he said.
The NYPD has also said the messages are fake on Twitter.
“Contrary to what it says, there are no plans by the NYPD to shut down roadways and subways,” the organization tweeted.
Rumors about the coronavirus have been rampant online. On Tuesday, an account impersonating the BBC falsely said Daniel Radcliffe contracted the coronavirus.
In response to a question asking whether Radcliffe had tested positive for the virus, the actor’s publicist said, “Not true.”