On August 5, 2020, as reported by the Wall St. Journal, Facebook removed a post from Donald Trump that contained a video of an interview he did with Fox News in which he reportedly said that children are "almost immune from this disease." Trump also said COVID-19 “is going to go away,” and that “schools should open” because “this it will go away like things go away.” A Facebook spokesperson explained to the Verge: "This video includes false claims that a group of people is immune from COVID-19 which is a violation of our policies around harmful COVID misinformation."
Twitter temporarily suspended the @TeamTrump campaign account from tweeting because of the same content. "The @TeamTrump Tweet you referenced is in violation of the Twitter Rules on COVID-19 misinformation,” Twitter spokesperson Aly Pavela said in a statement to TechCrunch. “The account owner will be required to remove the Tweet before they can Tweet again.” The Trump campaign resumed tweeting so it appears it complied and removed the tweet.
Neither Facebook nor Twitter provided much explanation of their decisions on their platforms, at least based on our search. They likely interpreted "almost immune from this disease" as misleading because children of every age can be infected by coronavirus and suffer adverse effects, including death (e.g., 6 year old, 9 year old, and 11 year old). In Florida, 23,170 minors tested positive for coronavirus by July 2020, for example. The CDC just published a study on the spread of coronavirus among children at summer camp in Georgia and found extensive infection spread among the children:
These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission. Asymptomatic infection was common and potentially contributed to undetected transmission, as has been previously reported (1–4). This investigation adds to the body of evidence demonstrating that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection (1–3) and, contrary to early reports (5,6), might play an important role in transmission (7,8).
Experts around the world are conducting studies to learn more about how COVID-19 affects children. The Smithsonian Magazine compiles a summary of the some of these studies and is well worth reading. One of the studies from the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine did examine the hypothesis: "Decreased susceptibility could result from immune cross-protection from other coronaviruses9,10,11, or from non-specific protection resulting from recent infection by other respiratory viruses12, which children experience more frequently than adults." But the study noted: "Direct evidence for decreased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 in children has been mixed, but if true could result in lower transmission in the population overall." This inquiry was undertaken because, thus far, children have reported fewer positive tests than adults. According to the Mayo Clinic Staff: "Children of all ages can become ill with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). But most kids who are infected typically don't become as sick as adults and some might not show any symptoms at all." Moreover, a study from researchers in Berlin found that children "carried the same viral load, a signal of infectiousness." The Smithsonian Magazine article underscores that experts believe more data and studies are needed to understand how COVID-19 affects children.
Speaking of the Facebook removal, Courtney Parella, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, said: "The President was stating a fact that children are less susceptible to the coronavirus. Another day, another display of Silicon Valley's flagrant bias against this President, where the rules are only enforced in one direction. Social media companies are not the arbiters of truth."