Accurate information is key to making decisions that protect you, your family, and your community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. If you learn something brand new from a friend, social media, or elsewhere, you should always check its accuracy against a trusted source, like the L.A. County Department of Public Health or the CDC. For additional information please visit our FAQ
Myth: I need a letter stating I work for an essential business or LAPD can cite me.
This is false. LAPD is not issuing citations to individual Angelenos who are not in compliance with the Safer at Home order, but working with individuals, communities, families, and businesses to help them become compliant. Only non-essential businesses that continue to operate in violation of the order may be referred to the City Attorney’s office for misdemeanor charges.
Myth: I can’t spread the coronavirus if I’m not symptomatic.
This is false. While the CDC believes people are typically most contagious when they are most symptomatic, recent studies suggest that many people with coronavirus are asymptomatic and can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms, or even if they never show symptoms at all. Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Myth: Only older people and people with underlying conditions can contract the coronavirus.
This is false. While older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are generally at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, any person can become sick from COVID-19 and symptoms can range from mild to severe regardless of age or medical conditions. COVID-19 has claimed the lives of at least 759 people under the age of 50 in the United States.
Myth: COVID-19 is caused by 5G cell towers.
This is false. An internet conspiracy theory suggests that 5G wireless technology is linked to the spread of COVID-19. This claim is baseless and unsubstantiated. COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory illness that can spread from person to person and is caused by a novel coronavirus.
It is critical to stick to trusted sources for accurate information about COVID-19, such as the Centers for Disease Control, the L.A. Department of Public Health, the City of L.A.’s Coronavirus website, and the NotifyLA mass notification system.
Myth: Only the nasal swab COVID-19 test is accurate. The oral swabs do not work.
This is false. While current medical literature suggests that a naso-pharygneal swab performed by a trained healthcare professional may be more sensitive to detect the COVID-19 virus, oral testing swabs have been approved by the FDA. Both types of COVID-19 tests have produced false negatives.
If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, it is important to assume that you are carrying the virus and isolate yourself at home. The L.A. County Department of Public Health website has detailed information on home isolation in a dozen languages here. (See "What You Should Know"; "What if I'm Sick").
If you remain symptomatic and are concerned about a false negative from a prior test, you should request another test through your primary care physician.
Myth: There are products I can buy to learn if I have COVID-19, and to treat or cure it if I do.
This is false. There are no commercially available in-home tests for COVID-19 that consumers can purchase. L.A. County residents can schedule an appointment for free testing, whether or not they have symptoms, here.
At this time, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to avoid illness is by limiting your exposure to the virus by keeping distance from others, washing your hands often, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily. For more information, see the Centers for Disease (CDC) website.
FOOD AND SUPPLIES
Myth: Tap water in Los Angeles is not safe to drink during the COVID-19 crisis.
This is false. The water from your tap continues to be of the highest quality and is 100 percent safe to drink. COVID-19 poses no threat to L.A.’s public drinking water supply and there is no need to use bottled water. LADWP’s treatment processes are specifically designed to protect the public from all viruses and harmful bacteria. The use of LADWP water in handwashing is safe as an effective means of removing germs, in combination with the use of soap and proper handwashing measures.
Myth: Price gouging is permitted during the COVID-19 crisis.
This is false. It is unlawful for any food items or goods, medical supplies, or services to be sold at more than 10 percent higher than what they were selling for before the City of Los Angeles declared a public health emergency on March 4, 2020. You can report price gouging, alleged scams, false advertising or other consumer-related issues tied to coronavirus to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office.
Myth: A new stay-at-home order is being announced today.
We are carefully monitoring the data. At this stage, we are not yet closing any additional activities or businesses.
Right now, our COVID-19 threat level is at orange. This means the virus is a danger to each of us and continues to spread throughout the community at alarming levels. In order to stay safe, we need to only leave home for essential activities and assume that the virus is everywhere.
Here’s why: over the last few weeks, we have made significant changes in Los Angeles. The Governor announced new closures. Bars, indoor dining and worship services, gyms and fitness centers, museums, and more have been temporarily closed. Angelenos have renewed their vigilance and worked to limit gatherings.
Now, we are going to see what the numbers tell us. It takes about three weeks to see whether our actions have lowered our disease transmission rate, increased hospital capacity, and significantly slowed the spread of the virus.
Soon we will see the results. We will evaluate the impacts of our actions. And if we don’t reverse recent trends and see progress, we will be forced to move our threat level to red –– and risk returning to a full stay-at-home order.
We know how to turn things around because we have done it before. And what happens next –– whether we continue to see high rates of infection and illness, or get the virus under control –– is up to us.
If everyone wears masks, avoids gatherings, washes their hands regularly, and keeps their physical distance, we can bend the curve back down and prevent another stay-at-home order.
Myth: I don’t need to wear a face covering in public if I’m not sick.
This is false. All Angelenos –– except young children who are at risk of suffocation and people with certain disabilities –– are required to wear face coverings any time you leave the house. This simple protection will reduce the transmission of the virus and save lives.
Remember that a face covering is not a substitute for other critical measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 — most importantly, staying home, practicing safe physical distancing, washing your hands often, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
The new guidelines on face coverings exempt children under 2 and people with certain disabilities.
You can make your own face covering with a bandana, scarf, or piece of cloth. You can follow instructions available online from trusted sources, like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). You can also find links to local manufacturers selling face coverings at the L.A. Protects website. Face coverings should be washed after each use.
At this time, you should not be purchasing medical grade masks, which are in short supply. It is extremely important that these masks are reserved for those who need them most and have the highest risk of infection, including medical professionals, healthcare workers, public safety workers, and other front line workers.
You can find more information on the City’s guidance here. The L.A. County Department of Public Health and the County of Los Angeles have also information on face coverings on their websites.
Myth: I do not need to wear a mask when I am exercising outside of my home.
This is false. Every Angeleno, except young children who are at risk of suffocation and people with certain disabilities, is required to wear face coverings any time you leave the house. This simple protection will reduce the transmission of the virus and save lives.
Young children who are at risk of suffocation and people with certain disabilities are not required to wear a face covering.
Myth: The Port of Los Angeles is closed during the COVID-19 emergency period.
This is false. The Port of Los Angeles is not closed. All terminals at the Port of Los Angeles are open and operational. Port operations, manufacturing, and distribution are considered critical and essential, as part of America’s supply chain, which must continue. For more information about the Port of Los Angeles during COVID-19, visit the Port’s website.
Myth: If I am called by a contact tracer, they will ask for my immigration status or share information with immigration enforcement.
This is false. Contact tracers are not law enforcement agents and will not ask about your immigration status or social security number, or solicit money. They will only ask who you had contact with so we can prevent more people from getting sick and help you and your contacts better understand how to stay safe and get help. Contact tracers will identify themselves as County workers. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should expect a call from a specialist from L.A. County Public Health.
Contact tracing is a critical tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. If a member of the contract tracing team reaches out, it will appear on your phone as ‘L.A. Public Health.’ Your decision to answer the phone, or call back after you have received a message, could save lives.
Myth: If I test positive for COVID-19, my children will be taken away from me.
This is false. Your testing information will never be used to harm you or your family. The County’s Department of Children and Family Services will not take children away from parents who have tested positive.
We have ramped up testing across the county in order to better track the virus, get ahead of future outbreaks, and help connect people with treatment. That’s what the testing results are for –– to keep you safe, and to keep us all healthy. No matter your immigration status, you should not be scared to get a test. Sign up for a testing appointment now.
Myth: I can be evicted from my home if I am not able to pay my landlord due to COVID-19-related circumstances.
This is false. For the duration of this local emergency period, landlords cannot evict residential and commercial tenants who are unable to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible residential tenants have 12 months following the expiration of the local emergency period to repay any missed rent during the emergency period. Commercial tenants have three months to pay back their rent.
Mayor Garcetti also signed an emergency order to halt any new rent increases on residential units that are subject to the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). If you live in a rent stabilized unit, you will not be subject to any new rent increase for a full year after the emergency period ends.
If you are facing eviction, or if your landlord has questions on the emergency order, please contact the Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) hotline at (866) 557-7368, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, see the Housing and Community Investment Department website.
You can find a fact sheet on residential tenant protections and a form to notify your landlord of inability to pay full rent due to the COVID-19 emergency here.