By Mike Murphy
Twitter Inc. on Sunday blocked a post by Dr. Scott Atlas, one of President Donald Trump’s top health advisers, after he claimed face masks were ineffective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
“Masks work? NO” he tweeted Sunday, following by a thread of posts that misrepresented scientific findings on masks.
Twitter (NYS:TWTR) blocked the post citing a violation of its policy against sharing false or harmful information.
Atlas’s tweet also contradicts the official guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends wearing a mask when outside one’s home. There is widespread agreement among health experts that wearing face masks is the simplest and most effective way to curtail the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine is developed.
Atlas, a Stanford radiologist with no background in infectious diseases, joined the White House coronavirus task force in August. He has been a vocal supporter of Trump and opposes lockdowns in favor of pursuing a strategy of herd immunity.
Also Sunday, Dr. Michael Osterholm , an infectious-disease expert, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Atlas’ herd-immunity theory “is the most amazing combination of pixie dust and pseudoscience I’ve ever seen.” Osterholm said herd immunity requires 50%-70% of the population getting infected — far more than Atlas claims — which would likely cause tens of thousands of preventable deaths.
Others have been similarly dismissive of Atlas. Last month, CDC Director Robert Redfield was overheard on a phone call saying of Atlas: “Everything he says is false.”
On Friday, more than 70,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in the U.S., and experts warn of a coming wave of cases as winter arrives. To date, more than 219,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.