A LETTER being circulated on social media and through email about a 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV) outbreak in the city of Carson, California has been deemed fake, local officials warned on Thursday, January 30. 

The letter — which is purporting to be from an official with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and bears the logo of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization — contains false information and has been determined to be a hoax, according to Carson Sheriff’s Station Public Information Officer Jennifer Atenza.

“There is no immediate threat to the general public, no special precautions are required, and people should not be excluded from activities based on their race, country of origin, or recent travel if they do not have symptoms of respiratory illness,” a statement from the sheriff’s department said.

The LA County Department of Public Health advises the public that all up-to-date and accurate information and updates will be distributed through their official channels in the form of a press release and will be available on their website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov. 

“Everyone is watching with great concern how the coronavirus is wreaking havoc in China and other parts of the world, with some cases having been reported in the United States. My thoughts and prayers are with those stricken with this illness. But it is criminal that a racist perpetrator is trying to instigate division in Carson’s multi-cultural diversity by falsely disseminating fabricated news of a coronavirus outbreak in Carson’s Asian community.  There is absolutely no truth whatsoever to anything in the social media reports regarding the coronavirus being in Carson – nothing, zilch, nada,” said Carson Mayor Albert Robles in a statement.

Robles added, “Our residents and businesses should rest assured that we are in regular communication with the CDC and County Public Health Department and will notify our community immediately upon any showing of the coronavirus in Carson.”

The hoax came as the World Health Organization declared a global public health emergency following China’s confirmation that the virus has now claimed at least 171 lives with more than 7,700 currently infected, as of press time. Five confirmed cases have been reported in the United States, including two in Southern California.  (AJPress)

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