The Twitter account for the right-wing site The Federalist was suspended briefly on Wednesday for linking to its article that suggested readers voluntarily infect themselves with the coronavirus. The headline for the article read: “How Medical ‘Chickenpox Parties’ Could Turn the Tide of the Wuhan Virus.”
(The virus referenced in that headline is technically referred to as the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, though some have insisted on branding it the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus” in spite of protest from health experts and China’s authorities.)
A Twitter spokesperson told TheWrap Thursday, “The account was temporarily locked and was required to delete the Tweet for violating the Twitter Rules regarding COVID-19.”
The Federalist article in question urges readers, “It is time to think outside the box and seriously consider a third, somewhat unconventional alternative: controlled voluntary infection (CVI).”
The piece, by Douglas Perednia, goes on, “CVI involves allowing people at low risk for severe complications to deliberately contract COVID-19 in a socially and medically responsible way so they become immune to the disease.”
The goal of infecting people, per Perednia’s suggestion, is promoting “herd immunity” so Americans can get back to work and boost the economy. That thinking — that quarantine can’t continue and Americans must return to work, possibly risking infection — has been heralded by the lieutenant governor of Texas and President Donald Trump himself, while criticized by the likes of MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough.
In its rules regarding information about the coronavirus, Twitter stated it is working in “close coordination with trusted partners, including public health authorities and governments” and will require accounts to remove tweets with a “description of treatments or protective measures which are not immediately harmful but are known to be ineffective” or “description of harmful treatments or protection measures which are known to be ineffective,” among others.
A representative for the Federalist — which has over 230,000 Twitter followers — did not immediately return a request for comment.
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