By COLlive reporter
A screenshot of what appears to be a message from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, caused panic in the Jewish community.
“It has come to our attention that the Jewish holiday of Passover has many people from across the United States gather at “programs” to celebrate,” the tweet dated March 11, 2020, read, referring to the thousands of Jewish people who celebrate the Pesach holiday in hotels.
Known as “Pesach Programs,” these gatherings for the duration of the 8-day holiday are hosted by travel and catering companies at various price levels, which includes kosher-certified catering, programming and events for all ages.
“We are recommending that all such “programs” be cancelled to allow time for those affected to make other plans,” the message concluded, referring to the recent outbreak of coronavirus.
The message was being shared on Wednesday via WhatsApp, causing concern to the many who planned and booked their Pesach stays in hotels around the country.
A quick check on the Twitter account of the CDC shows no such message posted by them about Pesach or any Jewish programs.
A press officer at the CDC told COLlive.com he was not aware that such a tweet has been circulating in the Jewish community. “This message is not from CDC – it is fraudulent,” he said.
The CDC official referred the public to their website that outlines community actions and guidance for things like large events, depending on the level of community risk.
Their website recommends to “Cancel large gatherings (e.g., >250 people, though threshold is at the discretion of the community) or move to smaller groupings. For organizations that serve high-risk populations, cancel gatherings of more than 10 people.”
COLlive.com has received a few inquiries asking about the notice’s authenticity. “There’s enough craziness and panic going on,” one of them commented. “I don’t know why someone would purposely do such a cruel thing. Playing with people’s lives isn’t a joke.”
Older adults & people with a severe chronic medical condition: Prepare in advance for the possibility of a #COVID19 outbreak in your community. Take extra measures to put distance between yourself & other people to reduce your risk of being exposed. https://t.co/juMv7K6bdZ pic.twitter.com/Z1ZXIrGAjW
— CDC (@CDCgov) March 11, 2020