Since 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has touched the lives of us all. For many of us, it has been a nightmare for one reason or another. Unfortunately, while things have improved since the early days of the pandemic, the end appears no closer than it did two years ago. One reason for that is those among us who don’t seem to be taking Covid as seriously as they should be, including:
- Lying to avoid following mask and vaccine mandates.
- Lying about having Covid to avoid work.
- Lying about being vaccinated to gain access to events and venues.
- Keeping a positive Covid diagnosis from co-workers, friends, and family to avoid being left out of a gathering.
Acts such as those listed above are clearly morally wrong, but in some cases, they may also be illegal.
Legal Consequences of Lying About Covid
Lying about Covid-19 has become so widespread that some have begun lying about Covid exposure just to get out of dinner plans. While lies such as that might seem harmless, it’s their role in normalizing people lying about their Covid status that makes them dangerous. Still, lying about being exposed to Covid to get out of meeting up with friends or family is usually not illegal.
The legal consequences of lying about Covid generally come into play if lying about Covid results in someone getting sick or suffering monetary damages. Although, even if someone gets sick or suffers a financial loss because someone else lied about their Covid status, there are several other factors involved in deciding whether the lie was illegal, including when the lie happened, what aspect of the person’s Covid status the lie was about, who was lied to, and whether the lies put the health/lives of others at risk.
Here are a few common Covid lies and the legal consequences for telling them:
- Lying to your employer about your Covid or vaccination status – At this point in the pandemic, many employers are on the lookout for employees who lie about having Covid or provide them with fake vaccine cards/falsified Covid test results. If a person lies about having Covid or being exposed to Covid to avoid coming into work, their employer may be able to fire them. In addition, fake vaccine cards are illegal, and if an employee provides their employer with one, they could face serious legal fallout. According to Forbes, a man in Atlanta got in trouble with the FBI after faking Covid exposure and a positive Covid diagnosis. Apparently, the man first lied about his mother being exposed to Covid and then he said he was exposed when he went to check on her. After that, he told his employer that he and his mother had tested positive for Covid. The company asked him for proof of his diagnosis. He provided them with a letter that was supposedly from the hospital. The letter said he had been admitted to the hospital and excused him from work. However, when his employer called the hospital to confirm his positive test, they said they did not conduct Covid tests there, which eventually led to his lie unraveling. The FBI became involved, and the man was eventually charged with wire fraud for faking the letter.
- Providing a public venue or public event organizers with a fake vaccine card or falsified Covid test results – A good example of this would be if someone is tired of being cooped up after all the lockdowns, shutdowns, and quarantining and just wants to have a night out at their favorite restaurant or at a concert. Now let’s say their favorite restaurant or the concert venue requires visitors to show their vaccine cards and/or a negative Covid test to enter. However, the person in this example hasn’t gotten vaccinated and has no plans to do so, or they suspect they have contracted Covid. At this point, most people would cancel their plans and stay home, or get tested for Covid if they suspect they have it. However, this person decides to use a fake vaccine card and/or provide falsified Covid test results to get into the concert or restaurant. Unfortunately for them, their lies are discovered. That lands them in big legal trouble, including facing a possible FBI investigation/arrest, fines, and potential jail time.
- Lying to your friends and/or family about your vaccine or Covid status before gathering in person – In December, National Public Radio (NPR) published a story about a Covid outbreak that happened after a family had several family members over for Thanksgiving. One of the family members who attended the Thanksgiving gathering, an unvaccinated 11-year-old girl, was diagnosed with Covid a few days later. Every member of the host family got Covid because of the exposure, including both parents (who were both vaccinated), their 8-year-old son (who was vaccinated), and their 2-year-old daughter (unvaccinated). Thankfully, it wasn’t the case in this situation. However, what if the reason that everyone got Covid was because a family member knew they had Covid, didn’t tell anyone they had Covid, came to Thanksgiving anyway, and ended up being the one who gave everyone Covid? How would their family feel about that if they found out? Would they be so upset that they would want to pursue legal action? Could they pursue legal action? The answer is maybe, but only under very specific circumstances.
Under What Circumstances Can I Sue Someone for Giving Me Covid?
Depending on the laws of your state, even if a person’s lies regarding their Covid status aren’t illegal, you may be able to pursue a civil claim against them if their actions were reckless and led to you or someone you love getting Covid. The laws regarding Covid-19, personal injury, and civil lawsuits are complicated. The best way to know whether you have a solid case is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your situation.
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