Michael Lane Brandin Tyler County, Texas man sends Texas community into panic mode after lying about having coronavirus in FB post and the contagion being airborne.
Michael Lane Brandin, 23, of Woodville said in a Facebook post (since removed) that he’d tested positive at Tyler County Hospital on Friday.
‘In a comment on the post, Brandin advised that he was informed by medical professionals in Tyler County that the virus had become airborne,’ police said in a statement.
Brandin’s claim ended up causing panic on phone lines for both the hospital and authorities.
Multiple people contacted the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office about someone in their county having been stricken with the contagious illness.
It was as the COVID-19 pandemic reached new heights last week and states started moves to close down public places as the number of infections and related deaths rapidly increased across the country.
Police got in touch with the man who lives in Woodville, East Texas on Tuesday.
After County Judge Jacques Blanchette issued an arrest warrant, Brandin turned himself to police later that day. He was jailed on $1,000 bond.
He received a class A misdemeanor charge of false alarm or report.
Brandis has since claimed he was conducting a social experiment when he shared a post claiming to have COVID-19.
‘Brandin advised deputies his post was to make a point that you cannot believe everything you view online,’ cops said.
Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin believes the man did it for attention.
‘Knowingly communicating, initiating, or circulating a false report/false alarm of COVID-19 that one *knows is false or baseless*, and that would ordinarily cause action by an official or interrupt the occupation of any place of assembly, can be a criminal offense in the State of Texas,’ The Tyler County District Attorney’s Office posted on Facebook on Monday.
‘Texas Penal Code 42.06 – False alarm or report states a person commits an offense if the person knowingly communicates a report of an emergency that he knows is false or baseless and that would ordinarily cause action by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies.’
Commented a concerned social media user: ‘Thank you for being proactive and making it known that false alarms will be criminally prosecuted. False reports of a local outbreak could not only create panic in our local population, but would force county and city officials to make serious decisions about prevention protocols based on wrong information. Precious health care resources could be wasted and organizations and businesses shut down prematurely.’