Credit: Twitter

University chief operating officer tweets “false information” to downplay coronavirus

By Jordan Hunter

 David Duncan tweets that at 50 universities in America no student has died despite high cases. 

David Duncan’s recently deleted tweet claimed that while nearly 70,000 students tested positive for the virus, only three needed hospitalisation and that nobody had died. A recent New York Times investigation found that over 70 deaths could be attributed to universities, many of those being cited were inside of the 50 university list Mr Duncan tweeted. 

Mr Duncan has deleted the tweet and in an interview with The Times claimed he made an “error” as the data “was not fully representative”.  

Many have criticised the tweet as an attempt to downplay the effect of coronavirus on students. Recent studies have shown that even healthy young people are susceptible to long term health effects of catching the virus, including some that can lead to premature death such as myocarditis and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

A similar criticism was levied by former rector Aamer Anwar. In a tweet he claimed that several university students in Manchester had been hospitalised, and that he was glad Mr Duncan had deleted the tweet with the “deeply unhelpful and false chart”.

This comes after the University was accused of negligence and failing to implement safeguards for students in advance of Freshers’ Week. He was criticised by some students directly as he said that he made the decision to allow students to move in based upon a survey, and later admitted that the survey never existed.


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