The Slatest

Trump Claims He’s Now “Immune” to COVID-19, but Twitter Flags This as Misleading

President Donald Trump gestures to the press as he arrives at the White House wearing a face mask upon his return from Walter Reed Medical Center, on October 5, 2020.
President Donald Trump gestures to the press as he arrives at the White House wearing a face mask upon his return from Walter Reed Medical Center, on October 5, 2020. NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images

President Donald Trump declared he is free of Covid on Sunday and went as far as to claim he now has “immunity” from the virus, a claim many experts in his own government would likely dispute. Trump started off making a qualified immunity claim during an interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday morning but then later made an outright declaration of immunity. “It looks like I’m immune for, I don’t know, maybe a long time, maybe a short time,” Trump said. “It could be a lifetime. Nobody really knows, but I’m immune.” He later doubled down that claim with a tweet: “A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!” Twitter flagged the tweet, saying it violated its rules “about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.” It didn’t remove the post, claiming it “may be in the public’s interest” for it to remain accessible.

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During the interview with Bartiromo, Trump said he “beat this crazy, horrible China virus” and implied that it gave him an advantage over his opponent in the presidential campaign. “I even feel good by the fact that, you know, the word ‘immunity’ means something,” he added. “Having really a protective glow means something. I think it’s very important to have that. To have that is a very important thing.” Even though Trump received the kind of treatment that doctors say is reserved for the severest cases of COVID-19, the president characterized it as “standard” and “pretty much routine” except for the “miracle” antibody treatment that he claims he probably didn’t need anyway. “Again, I think I would’ve been fine,” Trump said.  “You know, I’m in good health. I think I would’ve been fine. And people have to realize that, and once you do recover, you’re immune, so now you have a president who doesn’t have to hide in a basement like his opponent. You have a president who is immune, which I think is a very important thing, frankly.”

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Experts largely agree that having the coronavirus confers some sort of immunity for the virus, “but how much and for how long are big unanswered questions,” the Associated Press reported last week. There is some suggestion that reinfection is unlikely for three months, but the Centers for Disease Control has said that isn’t a strict rule. The CDC point blank said that even though people can continue to test positive for up to three months after diagnosis and not be infectious to others “does not imply a person is immune to reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the 3 months following infection.” It is true though that reinfections so far seem rare.

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