Twitter has deleted a tweet from White House public health expert Scott Atlas asserting that general mask-wearing does not slow or stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Atlas tweeted out an article from the American Institute for Economic Research on Saturday that argued that face masks should be restricted to narrow circumstances, such as “when visiting an at-risk elderly person or in a controlled health care setting such as a hospital or nursing home.” The article, written by Roger Koops, also questioned if widespread mask use may lead to increased spread of the virus, not less.
“Masks work? NO,” Atlas said in a now-deleted tweet sharing Koops’ article. Twitter confirmed to CNN that the platform removed Atlas’ tweet.
Atlas joined President Trump’s coronavirus task force in mid-August to advise the president on the federal government’s response to the pandemic. Atlas is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and served as head neuroradiology professor at Stanford University Medical Center from 1998 until 2012.
Koops has a doctoral degree in chemistry and worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry for over 25 years. In an email to The Federalist, Atlas defended his decision to share Koops’ analysis:
In the deleted tweet, I cited the following evidence against general population masks:
1) Cases exploded even with mandates: Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade County, Hawaii, Alabama, the Philippines, Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Israel.
2) Dr. Carl Heneghan, University of Oxford, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and editor in chief of British Medical Journal Evidence-Based Medicine: ‘It would appear that despite two decades of pandemic preparedness, there is considerable uncertainty as to the value of wearing masks.’
3) The WHO: ‘The widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence and there are potential benefits and harms to consider.’ (http://bitly.ws/afUm)
4) The CDC: ‘Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.’ (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article).
I also cited an article giving detailed explanation of the reasons why masks might not prevent spread: https://t.co/1hRFHsxe59
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mask-wearing “in public settings around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others. Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others.”
Twitter’s censorship of a White House public health expert comes on the heels of its decision to censor articles from the New York Post reporting on emails alleged to have come from Hunter Biden’s laptop showing details of his foreign business dealings in Ukraine and China. While questions have arisen over the emails’ veracity, neither former Vice President Joe Biden nor his son have claimed that the emails are fabricated.
Twitter has since backed off of its complete censorship of the articles, opting instead to flag the articles with warnings that the information contained in them may be false. The platform’s censorship sparked calls from GOP lawmakers, such as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), for the company to be investigated by the Federal Election Commission for potentially violating campaign finance law.