A CNN journalist deleted his tweet and issued an apology after being called out for spreading coronavirus misinformation by critics including former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson.
CNN breaking news editor Kyle Feldscher took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to weigh in on herd immunity, which was referenced by President Trump during the ABC News town hall, though the president mistakenly called it “herd mentality.”
Herd immunity is when a virus can no longer spread easily because enough people are immune to it and lowers the chances of the virus jumping from person to person and reaching those who haven’t been infected yet.
“There are approximately 328.2 million people in the US,” Feldscher began his now-deleted tweet. “To get to the low end of herd immunity, about 60% of the population must catch Covid. That’s about 196,920,000 cases. The current US death rate is about 2.96%”
He concluded, “So that’s 5,836,679 deaths necessary for herd immunity.
Berenson slammed Feldscher for sharing such alarming numbers.
“Fact check: you can’t be this dumb,” Berenson reacted. “Even if the herd immunity estimate of 60% is right (it’s wrong), this CNN doesn’t know the difference between reported cases and actual infections, which are 10x as high. So his estimate is off by a factor of at least 10x (likely much more).”
Berenson explained, “That’s assuming the current reported death number is right (it’s not, it’s high, inflated by six months of lockdown and six weeks of iatrogenic deaths, we just don’t know how many). But that’s just icing on the CNN cake.”
“But hey, we’re only six months into nonstop media coverage of the [coronavirus], how can a blue-check be expected to understand the difference between [case fatality ratio] and [infection fatality ratio]?”
A Twitter user named Zac Bissonnette similarly fact-checked the CNN editor but attempted to explain why the math was “very wrong” via direct message, which Bissonnette later shared.
“This CNN producer Tweeted complete disinformation about covid deaths. I sent him polite messages to let him know, and suggested he reach out to an epidemiologist for help. He responded by blocking me from messaging,” Bissonnette wrote.
The next day, Feldscher took down the tweet.
“I deleted my tweet about herd immunity — the level of immunity needed to interrupt transmission isn’t clear and calculations about infection rates and death rates are more complicated than my simple math implies,” Feldscher wrote.
He added, “I’m really sorry and will do better going forward.”
Berenson commended Feldscher to taking ownership of his tweet but slammed his news organization for allowing “nonstop panic porn” throughout the pandemic.
“I’m glad he deleted the tweet. If only CNN could go back and delete the last six months of nonstop panic porn… But it’s a start,” Berenson told Fox News.
CNN did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Fox News also reached out to Twitter regardings its policies on cracking down on the spread of coronavirus misinformation on its platform.