Twitter removes tweet shared by Trump with false coronavirus stats

Washington — Twitter on Sunday removed a tweet shared by President Trump that contained false information about coronavirus statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with the company saying it violated its rules.

The tweet was originally posted by Twitter user “Mel Q,” a supporter of the unfounded QAnon conspiracy theory, and retweeted by Mr. Trump on Sunday. The post claimed the CDC “quietly updated the Covid number” to show a small fraction of all deaths — 6% — from the coronavirus were “actually” a result of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The vast majority of deaths, the post claimed, were because of “other serious illnesses.”

The tweet was taken down, and a message from Twitter says it’s “no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules.”

Another tweet from Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the Trump campaign, that promoted the same false claim about the CDC’s statistics and was retweeted by Mr. Trump remains on the site. 

The information removed by Twitter appears to stem from provisional death counts for the coronavirus that was updated August 26 and listed underlying health conditions among those killed by the virus. According to the CDC, “for 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.”

In the United States, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is nearing 6 million, and more than 183,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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