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When Elon Musk tweeted Thursday that "kids are essentially immune" from COVID-19, it seemed a pretty clear cut violation of a new coronavirus misinformation policy Twitter had put in place the day before. That statement was literally the example the platform cited to describe what would not be allowed under the new rules, but the company nonetheless decided not to remove the tweet from the Tesla founder.

Why it matters: People have already heard mixed messages about the virus, including dismissive comments from Musk himself, and misinformation can only worsen the pandemic.

Here's what Twitter said to explain what kinds of messages its new rules forbid:

Denial of established scientific facts about transmission during the incubation period or transmission guidance from global and local health authorities, such as “COVID-19 does not infect children because we haven’t seen any cases of children being sick.”
— Twitter

Here's what Musk tweeted:

Kids are essentially immune, but elderly with existing conditions are vulnerable. Family gatherings with close contact between kids & grandparents probably most risky.
— Elon Musk

What they're saying: Twitter says it concluded Musk's tweet wasn't "definitive.""

We reviewed the Tweets, and they don't violate our rules at this time. Please continue to share anything you think we should take a closer look at — we'll continue to rely on trusted partners, such as health authorities, to flag content that is harmful."
— Twitter, in a statement to Axios

The medical community, meanwhile, has been clear that kids can catch the disease and transmit it, even if they are less likely to show symptoms or become seriously ill themselves.

"Children may play a major role in community-based viral transmission," a pair of pediatricians wrote in a note accompanying the largest-yet study of the role of children and COVID-19, which was published this week in Pediatrics.

Flashback: Musk has been downplaying the threat of the virus for some time, tweeting on March 6 that "the coronavirus panic is dumb," and has made other comments since suggesting the virus worries were overblown.

  • He has also been in the news for offering to make ventilators in Tesla plants, but he tweeted Thursday that "We’re working on ventilators, even though I think there will not be a shortage by the time we can make enough to matter."

Meanwhile: Just as Twitter was allowing Musk's comments to stand, Facebook was webcasting CEO Mark Zuckerberg's interview with Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Go deeper

Updated 42 mins ago - Health

GOP Rep. Clay Higgins says he has COVID for second time

Rep. Clay Higgins during a 2019 House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) Sunday evening that he and his wife have contracted COVID-19 for a second time and "this episode is far more challenging."

Driving the news: "Becca and I had COVID before, early on, in January 2020, before the world really knew what it was," he wrote in a Facebook post, confirming his son also has the coronavirus — which he described as a "biological attack weaponized virus."

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Team USA softball defeats Japan 2-1 in preview of gold medal match

Japan's Yamato Fujita held Team USA without a hit for the first five innings. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Despite failing to get a hit for the first five innings, the U.S. women's Olympic softball team managed to tie Japan in the sixth inning and win 2-1 in the seventh, thanks to a walk-off home run from Kelsey Stewart.

Why it matters: The same two teams, which were undefeated headed into Monday's game, will meet in the gold medal match scheduled for Tuesday evening Tokyo time.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

📺: The Olympic events to watch today; Olympics opening ceremony ratings plunge

🏊: Athlete spotlight — Katie Ledecky adds to Games career medals haul; Caeleb Dressel leads Team USA to gold.

🏀: U.S. Men's basketball suffers first Olympic loss since 2004

🤖: The robot Olympics

🚨: Heat wave brings scorching temperatures to Tokyo Olympics

🎤: Meet the new faces of NBC's Olympics coverage

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage