Facing a global pandemic, many people turn to the internet to better understand what to do and how to protect themselves. Unfortunately, in the age of social media, people can come across some incredibly dangerous suggestions. Today, The Federalist, a right-wing publication, shared a tweet that read: “It is time to think outside the box and seriously consider a somewhat unconventional approach to COVID-19: controlled voluntary infection.” The tweet, which linked to an op-ed by Dr. Douglas A. Perednia from the site about “chickenpox parties,” has since been removed by Twitter. Why? Because it violates Twitter’s new safety rules about the virus, as reported by Tech Crunch.
Twitter updated its policies on March 18.
According to Mediaite, a Twitter spokesperson said the Federalist Twitter account was “temporarily locked for violating the Twitter Rules regarding COVID-19.” The account appears to be running as usual at the time of this writing.
There are more than 64,000 coronavirus cases in the United States (and remember our lack of test availability is likely skewing that), more than 400,000 worldwide, and more than 20,000 fatalities in total. The CDC has suggested social distancing; frequent hand-washing; avoiding touching your eyes, mouth, and nose without washing your hands; and limiting any size groups of people in order to combat the virus. What definitely doesn’t involve social distancing? A “pox party”!
According to Vice, the Portland-based author of the piece is a dermatologist who is not currently licensed to practice medicine in the state of Oregon.