Social media giants Facebook and Twitter have blocked a post from President Donald Trump on Tuesday falsely claiming COVID-19 is less deadly than the flu. Facebook has removed the post, while Twitter has added a message saying it broke the rules on “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”
“We remove incorrect information about the severity of COVID-19,” a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters.
Trump, who is currently recovering from the virus, posted the controversial tweet early in the day.
“Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!” Trump tweeted.
According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control, 22,000 deaths were linked to the flu during the 2019 to 2020 influenza season.
Trump admitted to Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward in February that he had been intentionally downplaying COVID-19 on purpose. The recordings of the conversation were released in September and used as source material for Woodward’s latest book, “Rage.”
In the interview with Woodward, Trump said COVID-19 is “more deadly than even your strenuous flus” but admitted to downplaying the virus in order to not cause a panic.
Trump is currently at the White House, after spending several days at Walter Reed Military Hospital to receive treatment for the virus. First lady Melania Trump, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and three Republican senators are the latest political figures to contract COVID-19.
Coronavirus cases continue to rise across the United States. As of Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET, there are nearly 7.5 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with the domestic death toll over 210,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.