US President Donald Trump has been censored by Twitter for his “misleading” remarks on coronavirus once again, this time for claiming he couldn’t pass on COVID-19 while having immunity to the disease.
On Sunday morning (local time) he declared on the social media site he’d been given the all clear from the White House doctors on Saturday.
“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!! (sic)” Mr Trump wrote as he planned to return to the campaign trail despite continued skepticism over his health.
Twitter, the same week they hid one of Mr Trump’s tweets for incorrect claims flu deaths exceeded those of coronavirus, were quick to slap a warning on his latest remarks.
A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2020
“This tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19,” the social media platform said.
In a memo released on Saturday night by the White House, Dr Sean Conley said Mr Trump met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for safely discontinuing isolation and by “currently recognised standards” he was no longer considered a transmission risk.
The memo did not declare Mr Trump had tested negative for the virus.
President claims to have ‘protective glow’
Speaking on Fox News on Sunday morning, the president said he was in “great shape”.
“I passed the highest test, the highest standards and I'm in great shape. And I have to tell you, I feel fantastically... I even feel good by the fact that the word 'immunity' means something.
“Having really a protective glow means something.”
Yet his claims raised eyebrows once again, with writer Steve Silberman calling his comments “nuts” and “bananas” on Twitter.
But sensitive lab tests — like the polymerase chain reaction test cited in the doctor’s statements — detect virus in swab samples taken from the nose and throat.
Some medical experts had been skeptical Mr Trump could be declared free of the risk of transmitting the virus so early in the course of his illness.
Just 10 days since an initial diagnosis of infection, there was no way to know for certain that someone was no longer contagious, they said.
And while there’s evidence that reinfection is unlikely for at least three months even for those with a mild case of COVID-19, very few diseases leave people completely immune for life.
Antibodies are only one piece of the body’s defences and they naturally wane over time.
“Certainly it’s presumptuous to say it’s a lifetime,” Dr Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist and department chairman at the Yale School of Public Health, said.
Declaration ‘a judgement call’
As to whether Mr Trump could still be contagious, Dr Ko said the White House appeared to be following CDC guidelines for when it is appropriate to end isolation after mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.
Dr Marc Lipsitch, an infectious disease expert at the Harvard School of Public Health, said it was “a judgement call”.
His return to full-fledged rallies will be in Florida on Monday, a comeback that comes with the president facing stubborn deficits in the polls.
The Trump campaign and White House has not indicated any additional safety measures will be taken to prevent the transmission of the virus among those traveling on Air Force One, at the event site or at rallies scheduled for Pennsylvania and Iowa later in the week.
Campaign officials have signalled Mr Trump will be traveling nearly every day for the rest of the campaign and sometimes making more than one stop, an aggressive schedule for a 74-year-old who was hospitalised just days ago.
On Saturday Mr Trump made his first public appearance since returning to the White House after being treated for the coronavirus at a military hospital.
Hundreds of people gathered Saturday afternoon on the South Lawn for a Trump address on his support for law enforcement from a White House balcony.
With bandages visible on his hands, likely from an intravenous injection, Mr Trump spoke for 18 minutes, far less than his normal hour-plus rallies.
He appeared healthy, if perhaps a little hoarse, as he delivered what was, for all intents and purposes, a short version of his campaign speech despite the executive mansion setting.
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