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- A blog post mischaracterizes a bill that was filed more than two years ago to falsely claim that Democrats are trying to put Americans in quarantine camps.
A May 17 blog post on Alex Jones’ conspiracy-oriented website, Infowars, sounds the alarm on what it describes as planned quarantine camps in the United States.
"BREAKING," the post’s title says. "Democrats introduce bill to put Americans in quarantine camps."
But if you read further, it becomes clear that this "breaking news" is actually more than two years old, and it mischaracterizes the nature of a bill that was introduced in 2020.
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The post cites legislation filed by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., H.R. 6666, also known as the TRACE Act. That’s short for the COVID-19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everyone Act.
The bill was filed on May 1, 2020, and was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce the same day. Democrats, who control the U.S. House, have taken no action on the bill since.
What’s more, the bill doesn’t arrange for Americans to be placed in quarantine camps.
According to a summary of the bill, written by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, it authorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to award grants for testing, contact tracing monitoring and other activities to address COVID-19.
The bill itself mentions quarantine once, saying that the Health and Human Services secretary may award grants "to eligible entities to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19, to trace and monitor contacts of infected individuals, and to support the quarantine of such contacts" through mobile health units and "as necessary, testing individuals and providing individuals with services related to testing and quarantine at their residences."
Back in 2020, Rush told Reuters that contact tracing would be voluntary. At the time, there were false claims that the bill allowed strangers to enter someone’s house, test them for COVID-19 and take their family members into quarantine.
"Contact tracing is not a new idea and is regarded by the CDC as a ‘key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19,’" Rush said in 2020. "My bill, the COVID-19 TRACE Act, is about appropriately and safely using this time-tested principle to better assist the communities that are the most impacted by the coronavirus — namely the African-American community — through voluntary testing and door-to-door outreach."
The claim that Democrats recently introduced a bill to put Americans in "quarantine camps" is a gross mischaracterization of the 2020 proposal.
We rate this post Pants on Fire.
Blog post, May 17, 2022
H.R. 6666, filed May 1, 2022
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