Twitter on Sunday removed a tweet from one of President Donald Trump’s top Covid-19 advisers falsely claiming masks don’t work to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The tweet no longer appeared on the site as of Sunday morning, replaced with a note saying “This Tweet is no longer available” and a link to Twitter’s rules and policies explaining why the company removes or limits certain posts.
The tweet in question, posted on Saturday by Dr. Scott Atlas, read, “Masks work? NO: LA, Miami, Hawaii, Alabama, France, Phlippnes, UK, Spain, Israel. WHO:”widesprd use not supported” + many harms; Heneghan/Oxf CEBM:”despite decades, considerble uncertainty re value”; CDC rvw May:”no sig red’n in inflnz transm’n”; learn why.”
In a followup tweet posted later Saturday, Atlas wrote: “That means the right policy is @realDonaldTrump guideline: use masks for their intended purpose — when close to others, especially hi risk. Otherwise, social distance. No widespread mandates.”
Later Sunday, Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services and coordinator of the Trump administration’s testing response, tweeted “#Masks work? YES!”
“And even though cases/hospitalizations are increasing, we can control #COVID19 by wearing masks when we can’t distance, avoiding crowds especially indoors, good hygiene, and smart testing of contacts and to identify/isolate those asymptomatic but infectious,” he added.
Trump has leaned on Atlas in recent months over the advice of other advisers like National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. A neuroradiologist who is not an expert in infectious diseases, Atlas, who gained attention after making a number of appearances on Fox News, has more aggressively pushed for reopening sectors of the economy and is regularly seen at the White House without wearing a mask.
Last month, an NBC News reporter overheard Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, telling a colleague in a phone call that Atlas is arming Trump with misleading data.
“Everything he says is false,” Redfield said during a phone call made publicly on a commercial airline.
As the election nears, Twitter has taken a more aggressive approach limiting and removing misinformation, especially relating to coronavirus or voting. The website has slapped a warning label on several problematic Trump tweets in recent months.
The president, who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month, attended a crowded church service in Nevada on Sunday. He and his aides did not wear masks at the ceremony, which was held indoors with over 200 people in attendance, many of whom also forwent face-coverings.