YouTube has deleted a video in which Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and a handful of medical experts questioned the effectiveness of having children wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The video, which was removed on Wednesday, was of a recent roundtable discussion DeSantis moderated on the global response to the pandemic. DeSantis was joined by Oxford epidemiologist Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Harvard professor Dr. Martin Kulldorff, and Dr. Scott Atlas and Dr. Jay Bhattacharya from Stanford University. The clip was posted by the American Institute for Economic Research, and a transcript of the discussion can be found on the group’s website by clicking here.
A YouTube rep confirmed to TheWrap on Thursday the video was removed due to multiple instances where the doctors said children didn’t need to wear masks. This position, a YouTube rep said, violated the Google-owned video site’s “COVID-19 medical misinformation” policies, which you can find here.
“YouTube has clear policies around COVID-19 medical misinformation to support the health and safety of our users,” a rep said in a statement. “We removed AIER’s video because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We allow videos that otherwise violate our policies to remain on the platform if they contain sufficient educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic context. Our policies apply to everyone, and focus on content regardless of the speaker or channel.”
Here are a few exchanges that caught the attention of YouTube’s censors:
- DeSantis at one point in the video asked if it was necessary for kids to wear masks in school. Dr. Kulldorff in response said “children should not wear face masks, no. They don’t need it for their own protection and they don’t need it for protecting other people, either.”
- Dr. Bhattacharya said it is “developmentally inappropriate” for children to wear masks and that it “just doesn’t help on the disease spread.” He added: “I think it’s absolutely not the right thing to do… if we went back a year, a lot of experts would say that wearing masks for the general public is not evidence-based.”
- Dr. Atlas later said “there’s no scientific rationale or logic to have children wear masks in schools.”
A rep for Gov. DeSantis did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The World Health Organization’s guidance on masks says children 5 and under don’t need to wear masks; children between the ages of 6 and 11, the WHO said, should wear masks when they’re in areas of “widespread transmission,” and kids 12 and up “should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults,” like when they’re within 1 meter of the person they’re talking to and indoors.