WHO Deletes Misleading Tweet That Spread Paranoia About COVID-19 Reinfection

"The thread caused some concern & we would like to clarify."


This weekend the World Health Organization (WHO) had to delete a misleading tweet about the coronavirus. Unfortunately, several media outlets had already cited it, spreading unwarranted fear about the likelihood of secondary COVID-19 infections.

On Friday, the WHO published a scientific brief on "immunity passports"—the idea that governments should grant special documents to citizens who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies, allowing them to move about freely. The WHO warned that this is premature, since "no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans."

The WHO is correct that scientists have not determined the degree of immunity enjoyed by COVID-19 survivors. But the tweet version of the brief was missing important context, and it said only this: "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from #COVID19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection."

That's technically true: There's no evidence of immunity. But that's because COVID-19 is new and the matter hasn't been conclusively studied yet. Scientists have good reason to expect COVID-19 survivors to have some immunity to the virus, though they're unsure how strong it will be or how long it will last.

"When they say 'no evidence' they mean something like 'no definitive proof, yet,'" wrote statistician Nate Silver in response to the WHO tweet. "But the average person is going to read it as 'there's no immunity to coronavirus,' which is likely false and not a good summation of the evidence."

Indeed, Bloomberg News reported this story with the headline "WHO Warns You May Catch Coronavirus More Than Once." Here's how the article started:

Catching Covid-19 once may not protect you from getting it again, according to the World Health Organization, a finding that could jeopardize efforts to allow people to return to work after recovering from the virus.

That's just wrong. There is no "finding" to speak of here, just an absence of definitive proof that antibodies confer a degree of immunity. Many readers undoubtedly would come away from these statements with a level of anxiety—You can get it again! We're doomed!—that isn't merited.

The WHO ultimately conceded that its declarations about immunity passports were overly pessimistic and deleted the tweet in question.

From parroting the Chinese communist government's lies about COVID-19 to wrongly warning people against wearing masks, the WHO has badly mishandled its communications about the pandemic. The organization really needs to get its act together.

NEXT: Star Wars' Identity Crisis

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  1. Why not just say they lied?

    1. And go against the statist, everyone panic narrative? Surely you just. NYC is under attack from a deadly virus so we must all bow down in subservience and solidarity in this time of little death.

    2. Because if the common sense principle of not assuming malice where incompetence will do.

      1. Right but they lied. The REASON they lied is irrelevant.

        1. Not to that lying POS.

      2. Of course, given the facts, claims of incompetence on this matter don’t even pass the laugh factor. These people know the facts and choose to say other things.

    3. They didn’t. They reported the case as of today….””There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from #COVID19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”

      That’s technically true: There’s no evidence of immunity. But that’s because COVID-19 is new and the matter hasn’t been conclusively studied yet. Scientists have good reason to expect COVID-19 survivors to have some immunity to the virus, though they’re unsure how strong it will be or how long it will last.”

      The article itself confirms that the WHO message was true and it serves to remind people that an immunity passport has no scientific support at this point. The smear is on, part of the Trump projection of guilt onto WHO, which includes many US doctors and researchers. Here is what the current head of the CDC has said about WHO: ”
      Dr. Robert R. Redfield

      Replying to @CDCDirector
      CDC has deployed experienced #Ebola experts to DRC and the World Health Organization to provide guidance on coordination of outbreak response, laboratory testing, disease contact tracing, infection control, and health communication.

      10:50 AM – Aug 10, 2018

      Trump needs scapegoats to blame for his criminal incompetence and so he has chosen WHO, which is needed now more than ever.

      1. You mean the same WHO that parroted PRC idiocy about the virus not being transmittable from person to person?

  2. Let’s try this again

    Twitter has suspended the account of a Colorado biotech company which is working with Cedars-Sinai to test and develop a potential coronavirus treatment using UV light inserted into the lungs – the same week as Homeland Security’s head of Science and Technology, Bill Bryan, suggested that UV light could have a significant affect on viruses such as COVID-19.

    UPDATE: @Twitter just suspended the account of the publicly traded biotech company AYTU BioScience that created a novel COVID-19 treatment approach utilizing UV light in the lungs that @realDonaldTrump was talking about.

    This is ridiculous!

    — Mike Coudrey (@MichaelCoudrey) April 26, 2020
    The suspension of Aytu BioScience’s account comes shortly after YouTube removed a video demonstrating the technology (which can be seen below on Vimeo).

    1. Well yeah, it’s another Trump treatment.

    2. Rule number one of twitter… dont embarrass the media. They are our greatest generation

    3. Did you also see google play deleted the episode of larry king from 1993 that may embarrass Biden.

      1. That’s frightening.

      2. Youtube is also pulling some really scary evil shit. Go see Boyce’s latest.

        These fuckers are in cahoots somehow with the establishment. I don’t know what the heck is going on but whatever it is, it’s not a muffin bake sale to raise money for free speech.

        Motherfucken enemies of the people. All of them.

        1. Is it too late or too early to killem?

      3. I didn’t. Can you provide a link to something? I don’t know what search terms to use here.

        1. I don’t know what search terms to use here.

          Apparently my very first try was a lucky guess.

    4. If this is what Trump was referring to, why did he say he was being sarcastic?

      1. Hi Jeff you dishonest fuck.

        Trump was being sarcastic when he mentioned injections, as evidenced by the fact he shortly after (yes, at the same event) explicitly stated “It wouldn’t be through injection. We’re talking about through almost a cleaning, sterilization of an area.” A part of the transcript our heroic media “Resistance” choose not to divulge.

        Of course, you already knew that, but you’re not going to earn your fifty cents being honest now, are you.

        1. Whether Donald Trump was being sarcastic or serious when he mentioned injections, he was not being funny or responsible. Anybody who spouts off stuff like that, especially when we’re in the midst of a severe and deadly pandemic, has no business being a leader.

    5. This page on the AYTU website seems to describe the study as using UV light in the colon, not the lungs:

      1. And testing destruction of bacteria, not virii, in the colon.

    6. My bad. I didn’t see the “Read More” link in the zerohedge article.

  3. All the more reason to defund them. On top of being a captive of China’s communist leadership, lying to the world about the nature of the Wuhan coronavirus….The WHO can’t communicate worth a shit.

    Good riddance.

    1. Don’t blame it on the World Health Organization, for chrissakes. Blame it on Donald Trump and his Administration for spreading dangerous garbage, and for his too-little/too-late response to the Covid-19 pandemic.


    An archived episode of CNN’s “Larry King Live” featuring a call from an anonymous caller later identified as the mother of Biden accuser Tara Reid appears to have been scrubbed from the Google Play catalog.

    The August 11, 1993 broadcast is conspicuously missing from the catalog in between the August 10 and August 12 episodes, according to a screenshot taken by Twitter user @absinthol, who writes “CNN removed the August 11th, 1993 Larry King Episode from Google Play, the episode featuring a call from Tara Reade’s mother.”

    1. That’s not really how the internet works. It’s already out there. You’d think that Google and CNN would know this.

      1. They’re making it as hard to share as they can.
        You can expect Facebook and twitter to cooperate in stamping out “illicit” copies as well.

    2. I believe they call that the memory hole.

      1. An attempted memory hole. The horse is already out of the barn.

      2. Biden wants the right to be forgotten, or for you to forget someone else or something….you know, the thing!

    3. Nm above, guess you did lol.

  5. thank you for all.

  6. The organization really needs to get its act together.

    That’ an understatement.

    Get the U.S. OUT of the United Nations!

    As the John Birch Society billboards used to say when I was a child.

    1. Drive down the right stretch of highway, and they still do.

      1. It shouldn’t have the “the” in there.

      2. I haven’t checked lately, but at least as of a few years ago, there was an old, faded, overgrown “Impeach Earl Warren” billboard down near a little town near me. (You can probably find the spot on the SPLC hate group map, it’s the home of the local KKK chapter which is some old guy, his drunkard son and one of his beer-drinking buddies who’s probably an undercover FBI informant. There used to be a second old guy in the group but his wife shot him and killed him one day when she got sick of his coming home drunk and smacking her around. I’m not sure there was ever even a police investigation of the incident other than the questioning her as to what took her so damn long.)

  7. Meanwhile news outlets, including FoxNews, have dropped the Coronavirus stats graphics that had been permanently displayed on screen for weeks…

    1. Now, *that* is “flattening the curve”!

    2. The Hopkins death chart is gone off the main page on Fox – I think it’s being removed because the component is crashing mobile browsers.

      The “grim milestone” or “sobering number” (which is whatever number the article’s author deems it to be) counter is still in the sidebar.

      But yeah, the memory hole will come into play soon – when all coverage is just mysteriously dropped like nothing ever happened.

  8. No immunity, super deadly, spreads super easily, kills minorities. Ergo, lockdowns forever, or you’re racist and crazy. Any questions? The wine moms have answers.

    1. No immunity, super deadly, spreads super easily, kills minorities.

      Wait. What are you talking about?

      1. The media narrative.

      2. A Democratic Party nightmare?

        1. You mean dream.
          They’ve been exploiting minorities since the Antebellum and Tammany Hall. Now they farm votes instead of cotton, the modus operandi changed but not the goals.
          Frightened minorities are compliant minorities, who’ll stay on the DNC plantation.

      3. Dance fever?

      4. Marxism of any flavor. (My first thought was “wine moms”, but they don’t kill minorities, they pay minorities to verbally degrade them for their privilege.)

  9. Nice to hear a reasonable statement about likely immunity, and nice to see the WHO deleting its tweet.

    Naturally, in rapid research using a primate called the macaque, COVID-19 reinfection was not observed within in the time frame that was studied.
    Coronavirus Pandemic Update 42: Immunity to COVID-19 and is Reinfection Possible?
    youtube .com/watch?v=q4P91VrfPGw

    It’s not in our interest to fund an international quasi-government group to review data that aren’t there and to create self-serving reports and publicity releases. We get more than enough of that from our domestic government and media.


      1. WTF do you mean macaques? How many goddamn caques have you got? You should see a doctor if you’ve got more than one – that other one might be a vestigial tail.

      2. It’s OK, it’s only 12 monkeys…

      3. Cute little baby monkeys. The horror. Still better than a Wuhan wet market where they’d be tossed into a frying pan alive and basted with soy sauce .

        1. Alive? Probably not. You can’t cook a monkey without dressing it first. At the very least you’d have to skin it.

    1. What’s on first?

      1. Nobody.
        Because sports are canceled.

        1. You mean stamps are canceled. Sports are played,

      2. The news was on first, but then somebody said this. WHO said it?

        1. I don’t know.

    2. Me say that.

  10. Quoting Nate Silver for anything is recipe for disaster.

    The last paragraph being the gem and relevant.

    1. The problem is that poll data analysts are completely fucking useless in a crisis.

      Agreed. I think it extends beyond just poll data, actually. These sorts of “out of left field” events are not really predictable. We can try to estimate their probability (as actuaries do with disasters), but really the only remedy is to be prepared. You won’t see the next black swan coming, otherwise it’s not a black swan.

      1. Kinda.

        The eventuality of a pandemic was nearly absolute, just like the eventuality of a debit crisis. The only question was when.

        This is only out of left field because no one had prepared in the slightest (the concerns me as any biological attack will be devastating. Exactly what benefit we are getting from mass military spending is questionable).

        Alien visitation or discovering a Midas Mill would be more of a black swan event. This was just piss poor planning and response.

  11. The organization really needs to get its act together.

    Since there is no reason to suspect this will happen, I suggest we dump the WHO entirely. There is no reason to bankroll this organization, except to prevent it from being co-opted by a bad actor… something that has already happened. Trump made the right move by withholding funding and I hope he makes it permanent.

  12. “When they say ‘no evidence’ they mean something like ‘no definitive proof, yet,'” wrote statistician Nate Silver in response to the WHO tweet. “But the average person is going to read it as ‘there’s no immunity to coronavirus,’ which is likely false and not a good summation of the evidence.”

    “However, we elites know that ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.'”

    1. They also assume everyone is stupid. Quite insulting.

    2. “Unless we want it to be.”

      1. “wink-wink, nudge-nudge”

        1. Say no more.

          1. No shit! You take his ass, and I’ll take his mouth.

    3. Capital-S Skeptics groups and mbers often use this same propaganda technique. That is, they say, “There’s no evidence for ” when there actually IS some evidence, but they’re “going for the win.” All that could be honestly said is that there’s no proof yet.

  13. But seriously, folks, it would be unreasonable to think the infection wouldn’t produce some immunity, else you’d never get over a case.

    1. Yeah. There appears to be a deliberate effort to spin everything as bad news. If there was no immunity after infection, this would be a very unusual virus. We should not be assuming the worst case when deciding what to do here. The reasonable operating assumption is that being infected does create some lasting immunity.

      1. Suddenly, after millions of years, we face a virus that our bodies cannot handle.
        Only scientists can save us, right after the election.

    2. Also, if that were the case I don’t think any vaccine would be able to work either. So… then what?

  14. Even if you want to ascribe the best of motives, hyper-centralized (what can be more centralized than a literally global organization?) systems are bound to be failures. They are fundamentally rigid and lack skin in the game for their leaders.

    1. Yes. One of the biggest reasons progress has been made on COVID-19 testing, treatments, studies is that no central authority, FDA included, has been able to prevent lots of various decentralized organizations from investigating and problem solving.

  15. When asked to comment on the misleading tweet, the WHO said they Can’t Explain.

    1. Yes but thank goodness the kids are alright.


      1. Whew, I was worried it could lead to a teenage wasteland.

        1. And I’ve been a Pinball Wizard in my ‘Mancave’. 🙂

  16. But what does WHO have to say about Kim Jong-un?

    1. Whatever Beijing tells them to say.

  17. Shun The WHO.


    “How would you respond to the charge that hte Chinese covered this up. They’ve essentially deceived the rest of the world, and as a result, they should be held in some way responsible for this?” asked Zakaria.

    To which Gates responded: “Well, I don’t think that’s a timely thing because it doesn’t affect how we act today. You know, China did a lot of things right. At the beginning, like any country where a virus first shows up, they can look back and say that they missed some things,” Gates said, adding “Some countries did respond very quickly and get their testing in place, and they avoided the incredible economic pain – and it’s sad that even the US that you would have expected to do this well, did it particularly poorly – but it’s not time to talk about that.”

    1. A bunch of the proglydytes over at Patterico’s blog were giving this guy a virtual blowjob, saying how good of a President he’d be.

      These goons are just thirsting to be dominated by a bunch of unaccountable technocrats.

      1. Is a virtual blowjob even possible?

        Asking for a friend.

    1. Beat me to it. But it bears repeating.

    2. Well those docs are toast.
      If recent events are any indication, Google will block their email accounts, Visa will cancel their cards and CNN will dox their families.

    3. The worst part of that interview is the doctors claiming they are being pressured to say all deaths are covid.

  19. This is the real deal about immunity. It’s not “novel”. It’s been around as long as the species. Covid is not immune from our immunity. Our betters are currently attempting to bypass the natural process from which our species has survived for millennia. This is very dangerous shit.

    “I’d like to go over some basic things about how the immune system functions so people have a good understanding. The immune system is built by exposure to antigens: viruses, bacteria. When you’re a little child crawling on the ground, putting stuff in your mouth, viruses and bacteria come in. You form an antigen antibody complex. You form IgG IgM. This is how your immune system is built. You don’t take a small child put them in bubble wrap in a room and say, “go have a healthy immune system.”

    This is immunology, microbiology 101. This is the basis of what we’ve known for years. When you take human beings and you say, “go into your house, clean all your counters—Lysol them down you’re gonna kill 99% of viruses and bacteria; wear a mask; don’t go outside,” what does it do to our immune system? Our immune system is used to touching. We share bacteria. Staphylococcus, streptococcal, bacteria, viruses.

    Sheltering in place decreases your immune system. And then as we all come out of shelter in place with a lower immune system and start trading viruses, bacteria—what do you think is going to happen? Disease is going to spike. And then you’ve got diseases spike—amongst a hospital system with furloughed doctors and nurses. This is not the combination we want to set up for a healthy society. It doesn’t make any sense.”

    1. +1

  20. “The organization really needs to get its act together.”

    And putting itself out of misery.

  21. Canada’s Dr. Theresa Tam has a seat at the 15 member WHO team.

    Apparently there was a vote as to whether they should alert the world about the W00-Han virus. That is, to tell the truth or side with Beijing. Guess who won?

    And my suspicion, based on the rhetoric of both the Trudeau and Tam, she likely voted with Beijing.

    As far as I’m concerned, Tam should resign the second she played politics and got out of her lane. She said the closing of air travel from China would be racist. And here’s the problem. It’s not like the Liberals are at least keeping quiet about their identity politics and the fact it probably made things worse here. Nope. They seem to be doubling down.

    Of course, my calling for her to step down will lead to accusations of being a racist and misogynist.

    So be it. And take Poptart Lasagna with you.

    1. will lead to accusations of being a racist and misogynist

      Let’s be honest Rufus, what accusations aren’t levied against you? For instance, you still haven’t explained why you didn’t come to my erotic scat-themed gala, you homophobic piece of shit.

      1. /Homer scream.

  22. This is simply black and white thinking and not the fault of the WHO. What they said the first time was accurate, as was their later “retraction”. But, their retraction will cause people to conclude that immunity passports make sense. They don’t. Because they have no idea what level of anti-bodies will confer what level of immunity.

    No matter which way you say it, there are going to be tons of people reaching the wrong conclusions from it. Because people are extremely uncomfortable with ambiguity.

  23. “The organization really needs to get its act together.”

    Really, people need to stop listening to such an incompetent organization and I am thankful for Trump’s efforts to stop forcing Americans to finance such hacks.

  24. “WHO Deletes Misleading Tweet That Spread Paranoia About COVID-19 Reinfection”

    I don’t know. You tell us.

  25. How many dependent clauses do we need to understand WHO is nothing other than a worthless bureaucracy?

    1. WHO is worse than worthless, they are dangerous, to your health, and especially your freedom.

  26. It’s worth adding that a lot of people infected and actually “affected” by the virus have suppressed immune systems, so indeed those people “may” be infected again.
    On the other hand, and more importantly,a lot of people (the majority) who were exposed had mild/zero symptoms. Almost certainly their immune systems will only have a stronger arsenal to fight off potential future infections.

  27. The truth is that there is no evidence of immunity for the virus.

    How stupid are people, that sharing the truth is something they can’t handle?

    Trump had asked if scientists could develop an injectable disinfectant. This has led to the media stating that he suggested that people inject themselves with bleach.

    When you are afraid of the truth, the civilized solution is more truth, to develop reality based plans, not less.

    People are scaredy-bigots. Their favourite narratives, become their paradigms. False ones result in wrong decisions.

    Intelligence and rationality requires that these narratives be based on truth. That requires considering arguments that counter our paradigms and using logic and science to scrutinize them for truth. The opposite behaviour of bigotry.

    In civilization, truth must be the objective.

    1. “The truth is that there is no evidence of immunity for the virus.”

      But, in common parlance, that insinuates that the matter has already been studied and no evidence has been found. It’s therefore intentionally misleading, or tin-eared, to phrase it that way. The neutral way to phrase it is to insert a “yet” in there. And also, probably, to change “no evidence” to “little evidence.”

      1. In response to the suggestion of immunity passports “there is no evidence of immunity“ is exactly what was needed to be said.

    2. The truth is that there is no evidence of immunity for the virus.

      You do realize that makes a vaccine practically impossible, right?

      1. Saying that we haven’t witnessed something has no bearing on whether we ever will.

  28. “The organization really needs to get its act together.”

    No, the organization needs to be disbanded.

  29. I was curious a couple days ago… this was the best resource I found, ymmv. Seemed to imply the most likely scenario is at least a year of pretty good immunity (with the strong caveat that we won’t know for sure for a long time).

  30. Sounds like the only misleading happening here was peoples understanding of how science works. Just because something is not confirmed doesn’t mean it’s not true.
    Thanks & Regards
    The Thus

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