The claim: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proposed putting high-risk individuals in “camps”
As COVID-19 continues to infect Americans across the country, some are claiming the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has considered extreme measures to stop the spread.
“The CDC actually put together a document to discuss putting high risk people into camps to ‘shield’ low risk people from them,” reads text in an Aug. 11 Instagram post. “No — this is not a joke, and yes, every single person who has made a reference to 1930’s Germany is vindicated.”
The claim comes from conservative commentator Candace Owens, who tweeted it to her 2.8 million followers on Aug. 9.
The CDC document is real, but the posts misinterpret its intent. Several independent fact-checking organizations have debunked Owens’ claim.
The CDC last updated the document during the Trump administration to weigh the pros and cons of one method of protecting high-risk individuals from COVID-19 in humanitarian settings, like refugee camps or among displaced populations. It does not provide recommendations for the general American public.
USA TODAY reached out to Owens and social media users who shared her claims for comment.
Document refers to ‘humanitarian settings’
The CDC document is titled “Operational Considerations for Humanitarian Settings.” It was last updated in July 2020, during the Trump administration.
Though the document references “households” and “neighborhoods,” it doesn’t contain suggestions for isolating the general public.
“This document presents considerations from the perspective of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) for implementing the shielding approach in humanitarian settings as outlined in guidance documents focused on camps, displaced populations and low-resource settings,” the document says.
Within these humanitarian settings, the CDC suggests designating “green zones” for those at “high risk,” limiting contact with those at “low risk.” High-risk individuals are defined as those who carry a greater risk of developing severe disease from the coronavirus.
To “shield” the high-risk population, the CDC suggests three tiers of potential isolation.
At the household level, the document suggests choosing a specific room designated for high-risk individuals. At the neighborhood level, it suggests designating some households within a small camp or area to house high-risk individuals. And at the camp or sector level, it suggests designating community buildings, like schools, as isolation shelters.
The document doesn’t endorse the shielding method. It simply lays out its pros and cons.
USA TODAY reached out to the CDC for comment.
Our rating: False
The claim that the CDC proposed putting high-risk individuals in “camps” is FALSE, based on our research. The claim misinterprets a document from the agency that weighs the pros and cons of one method of protecting high-risk individuals from COVID-19 in humanitarian settings, like refugee camps or among displaced populations. The plan addresses potential ways to group high-risk people within an existing camp or community, not putting members of the general public or any other wider group into camps. .
Our fact check sources:
- @warriorcode.us, Aug. 11, Instagram
- Candace Owens, Aug. 9, Twitter
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 26, 2020, Operational Considerations for Humanitarian Settings
- FactCheck.org, Aug. 13, CDC Document Discusses Strategy To Protect Displaced People From COVID-19
- CNN, Aug. 11, Fact check: Candace Owens falsely claims CDC proposed putting high-risk people in camps during the pandemic