Texas Teen Arrested After Posting Snapchat Videos Claiming to Have Coronavirus and 'Willfully Spreading' the disease

A teenager in Texas was arrested after she posted a series of videos on social media in which she claimed to be intentionally spreading the new coronavirus, police said.

Lorraine Maradiaga, 18, was charged with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony, for the content she posted on Snapchat, Carrollton Police said in a news release.

On Sunday, police issued an appeal to the public for help in locating Maradiaga, who they said was "claiming to be COVID-19 positive and wilfully spreading it."

Police added that they had "no confirmation tithe Maradiaga is actually a threat to public health," but said they were "taking her social media actions very seriously."

We have identified the woman seen on social media claiming to be COVID-19 positive as 18-year-old Lorraine Maradiaga and are charging her with Terroristic Threat, Texas Penal Code 22.07.

We have not located her yet. Tips: (972) 466-3333 or CrimeTips@CityofCarrollton.com. pic.twitter.com/KySDDXL2RH

— Carrollton TX Police (@CarrolltonTXPD) April 5, 2020

She was taken into custody after she turned herself in on Tuesday, police said. Maradiaga told police she tested negative for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and police said they have no proof she previously tested positive.

She was arraigned and her bond was set at $20,000 and was taken to the Denton County Jail.

As a condition of her bond, Maradiaga will be ordered to quarantine for 21 days after she is released from jail as a precaution, police added. If convicted, Maradiaga faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

News of Maradiaga's arrest was met with a flood of comments on the Carrollton Police Department's Facebook, with several commenters thanking officers for taking action to protect the community.

"Thank you for taking this seriously and hopefully she will learn a lesson," Sarah Riise commented. "Prank or no prank, what she did was not okay. Her family must be so embarrassed."

Vinh Lee added: "My mom freaked out because of this. She's afraid of picking up mail and she refuses to buy food because of people like this. Thank you."

Texas has 8,262 confirmed cases of COVI-19 and 154 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Texas Department of State Health Services. More than 1,200 people were hospitalized in thee state because of the virus as of Tuesday.

Across the U.S., there are almost 400,000 confirmed cases—the most of any country by far—and more than 12,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 22,000 people have recovered.

Lorraine Maradiaga
Lorraine Maradiaga, 18, has been charged with making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony, for the content she posted on Snapchat, Carrollton Police said. Carrollton Police

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.