By Peter Andrews*
Facebook and Twitter have taken down the US president’s claims on the insusceptibility of children to Covid-19 – a fact on which the science supports him – proving that Big Tech is increasingly acting in a nakedly political way.
In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Donald Trump declared that “children are almost immune” from coronavirus. The videos posted online have been deleted, but the trimmed audio is available here from CNN, which helpfully titled it “Trump falsely says kids are ‘almost immune’ from Covid-19,” just in case its editorial position was in any way in doubt.
In his own inimitable vernacular, Trump says: “If you look at children, children are almost – and I would almost say definitely – but almost immune from this disease.” He adds, “I don’t know how you feel about it, but they’ve got much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this. And they don’t have a problem, they just don’t have a problem.”
His words may have the cadence of crazed ramblings, but so does everything he says. The question is rather whether or not he’s correct.
By this point, the evidence of your own eyes should be enough to pass judgement on this. But here are a few statistics that stand out from the literature. Only a tiny fraction (0.8 percent) of Covid-19 hospital patients have been under the age of 19. Not a single child aged under 10 anywhere in the world has transmitted the virus to another person, despite a global effort from the World Health Organization to find one. And a large meta study across 26 counties found just seven deaths among children that were ascribed to coronavirus.
Bearing those figures in mind, if Trump meant that “almost all children are immune,” he was right. Similarly, if he meant children as a whole are “almost immune”, it would take considerable mental gymnastics to disagree. And this is if the statistics are taken at face value: the 0.8 percent figure is just as exaggerated as all the other figures, due to asymptomatic cases, and the seven deaths is such a small number it is statistically insignificant. Who knows what went on in those seven cases, and how old the patients were. If they were older teens, they could just as easily have been classed as adults.
What are the censors talking about?
In the CNN segment, Trump’s comments are responded to by an analyst. He says that what Trump said was a lie, because “while it’s true that children tend to be spared from the more severe consequences of this disease, it’s not because they’re not getting infected.” He makes a sound point.
But he should reach for his dictionary and look up the word “immune.” It doesn’t mean “cannot be infected by something”. What nonsense! That would be like saying I’m immune to dengue fever because I’ve never encountered it. To be immune to a disease actually implies infection – if you’re not infected, how could you gain immunity or be shown to be immune? Immunity is the ability to be exposed to a pathogen and not made sick by it, not the ability to physically evade pathogens.
By this man’s ‘analysis,’ if it could be termed such, a human being’s immune system should be located outside the body, like a sort of bubble suit that repels pathogens before they can touch the wearer. If Trump thinks this is what immunity means, then he was indeed trying to ‘misinform’ the American people. But Trump does not think this, because Trump, unlike hordes of his detractors, is not a moron.
Change the record
This is becoming truly boring now. The combined might of the Western world’s entirely liberal-controlled social media companies raining constant slime on the lawfully elected American president. At least it cannot go on beyond November. Either Zuck and Jack and co. will get their way and Joe Biden will be elected, or Trump will win again, and they’ll have to regroup and go back to the drawing board – probably the one marked ‘impeachment.’
Of course, it wouldn’t be long before the slime machines would be powered up once more and turned full blast on Trump, but surely there’d only be a short reprieve for the Big Tech establishment before the White House would wreak its revenge. I hope so – for their sake as much as my own.
*Peter Andrews is a Irish science journalist and writer based in London. He has a background in the life sciences, and graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in genetics.