Twitter removed a tweet from Rudy Giuliani on Friday that contained several pieces of misinformation related to coronavirus.
The tweet, which quoted another tweet from right-wing personality Charlie Kirk, falsely claimed that the drug hydroxychloroquine, which is used to treat lupus, arthritis, and malaria, has “a 100% effective rate treating COVID-19.” This is not true: Despite Donald Trump’s enthusiasm for the drug, there is still only anecdotal evidence that it can effectively treat coronavirus.
The tweet also alleged that Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer is “the latest Democrat to ban doctors from prescribing the lifesaving drugs hydroxychloroquine and Z-Paks to save senior citizens in the state.” (Trump has specifically touted the combination of hydroxychloroquine and axythromycin — which is sold as Zithromax, or a Z-Pak — as a treatment; again, there is not clinical evidence to support his excitement.)
This is also misleading. Rather, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is warning doctors not to hoard or prescribe hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine inappropriately, which could cause a shortage for people who need them for other conditions.
Many lupus patients, for instance, have no other options for medication, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.
Twitter confirmed via email that Giuliani’s account was temporarily locked for violating the platform’s rules regarding Covid-19 misinformation. Those rules specifically prohibit “content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information,” including “description of treatments or protective measures which … are being shared with the intent to mislead others.”
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