Social media users have been sharing images online that claim bill H.R. 6666, introduced by Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush and also known as the COVID-19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act, will allow the government to forcibly enter homes, test and remove family members, including children, to be taken into quarantine.
One post reads: “Nancy Pelosi is trying to pass a law called HR6666 (the irony is stifling) If this passes strangers can come in your house and take (by force if needed) your family members including your children to a quarantined area. Please tell me I’m in a nightmare!!”
H.R. 6666 was introduced by Rush on May 1, 2020 ( here ). The bill will allocate $100 billion for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing by using mobile health units.
The bill says nothing about forced testing, forced entry to people’s houses or the removal of family members to be quarantined. In a statement to Reuters via email, Rush said participation would be voluntary:
“Contact Tracing is not a new idea and is regarded by the CDC as a ‘key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19’ 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.”
Rush added: “Leading health experts have continued to state that increased testing and contact tracing is the only way we will get back to normal and safely reopen our economy, and we must ensure that African Americans and other medically underserved communities are not left behind yet again.”
The bill authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services “to award grants to eligible entities to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID–19, and related activities such as contact tracing, through mobile health units and, as necessary, at individuals’ residences, and for other purposes.” ( here )
Section 2 of the bill says the grants can be given to entities who can provide services including “testing individuals and providing individuals with services related to testing and quarantine at their residences” as necessary. This does not imply that individuals will be forcibly tested or removed into quarantine.
According to the bill, grant recipients can include federally qualified health centers, school-based health clinics, disproportionate share hospitals, academic medical centers, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, or high schools.
Part E of the bill states: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede any Federal privacy or confidentiality requirement.” The bill has nevertheless faced a backlash over privacy concerns from users on social media ( here , here ).
On April 30, Republican Senators said they would introduce a privacy bill to address concerns about contact tracing apps being developed by technology companies. Google and Apple have been working with public health experts and researchers to write apps that people can use to notify those they have come in contact with if they contract COVID-19 ( here ).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says contact tracing is a key strategy for preventing the spread of COVID-19 ( here ).
False. The bill would provide grants for organizations to provide testing and contact-tracing services to help prevent further spread of COVID-19. It does not authorize the government to enter homes, forcibly test for the virus or remove family members to be quarantined.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.