Twitter on Sunday removed what it called a “misleading” tweet posted by a top coronavirus adviser to President Donald Trump who questioned the effectiveness of masks to combat the pandemic.
Dr. Scott Atlas, a White House adviser who’s pushed back against the guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other health experts, on Saturday tweeted, “Masks work? NO.”
Twitter said the post violated a policy on misleading information on COVID-19.
The White House had no immediate comment.
The CDC Director last month praised mask-wearing, and the University of Washington forecasts widespread mask use could save thousands of lives.
But the clash over coronavirus messaging comes as the Trump administration appears unwilling to press for stern mitigation efforts.
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gotlieb characterized the U.S. response as essentially, weather the storm.
“And if you look at the White House strategy, they’ve come out against universal masking. They’ve come out against testing asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic people. They say testing should be reserved just to the vulnerable. They want businesses and schools reopened, as we all do, and they’re against targeted mitigation like closing restaurants. So it begs the question, what is the strategy? And I think the strategy is just to endure the spread until we get to that vaccine.”
Meanwhile the pandemic is surging to alarming levels across the United States.
According to a Reuters analysis the U.S. reported nearly 70,000 new cases on Friday. Total U.S. cases surpassed 8 million last week.
And the worst may yet be ahead.
“We have two or three very hard months ahead of us. I think this is probably going to be the hardest phase of this pandemic. The good news is that we have a lot- a lot of medical treatments and better medical care so we’re going to do a better job of preserving life. The bad news is I think we’re going to end up infecting a lot more people.”
Despite data showing otherwise, Trump has said repeatedly in recent weeks that the country is “rounding the corner” on the coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, Trump again attributed the latest surge in coronavirus cases to more testing, but health experts cite increases in hospitalizations and the rates at which people are testing positive for the virus to show cases are indeed rising.