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Twitter fact-check disappears from Elon Musk post linking Bronny James cardiac arrest to COVID vaccine

A Twitter message fact-checking Elon Musk after he raised the prospect that the COVID vaccine may have played a role in USC basketball standout Bronny James suffering cardiac arrest appeared and then quickly disappeared from the rebranded site — prompting speculation that the owner of the platform had it deleted.

James, an 18-year-old college freshman and the son of NBA superstar LeBron James, was rushed to the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest during a basketball workout in Los Angeles on Monday. He was treated and listed in stable condition on Wednesday.

“We cannot ascribe everything to the vaccine, but, by the same token, we cannot ascribe nothing,” Musk said. “Myocarditis is a known side-effect. The only question is whether it is rare or common.”

Musk’s post was quickly labeled with a message via the “Twitter Community Notes” feature, which cited articles from the Yale School of Medicine and CBS News on the subject. The billionaire rebranded Twitter as X this week.

“Studies show that the risk of myocarditis is significantly higher after an actual Covid infection than with the vaccine,” the fact-check said. “Among adolescent boys, the risk of myocarditis following a Covid infection was approximately twice that of the risk following the second vaccine dose.”

Elon Musk drew scrutiny for linking Bronny James’ cardiac arrest to the COVID vaccine.
AFP via Getty Images

By Tuesday evening, the Community note was no longer shown below Musk’s post on the platform formerly known as Twitter, though an archived version was still visible on the Wayback Machine.

Forbes published an article asserting that Twitter had “deleted” the fact-check, while the Daily Beast said it had been “removed” by the company. The Daily Dot followed with a similar post claiming that Musk “appears to remove Community Note fact-checking his tweet” on Wednesday morning.

For now, it’s unclear if the post was deleted by Musk or X staffers.

Musk fact check
An archived version of the fact check is still visible on the Wayback Machine.

The “Community Notes” feature operates on a polling system, with participants voting on whether they find a particular note helpful for understanding the broader context behind a tweet.

The “Community Notes Guide” still visible on Twitter’s website says notes can appear and then disappear based on shifts in user ratings.

“Note statuses are updated as new ratings come in, so notes may show on Twitter and then disappear,” the guide says. “Statuses are locked after 2 weeks.”

Bronny James
Bronny James was listed in stable condition as of Tuesday.

Musk has yet to clarify the matter. The Post has reached out to the company formerly known as Twitter for comment on the situation.

Musk has faced intense scrutiny over his comments on the vaccine, with journalist Bob Costas among those who criticized him for commenting on James’ condition.

There is no evidence linking James’ cardiac arrest incident to the vaccine.

Bronny James
Bronny James is a freshman at USC.
Getty Images

Myocarditis is a rare inflammation of the heart muscle that has been reported in cases involving adolescents and young adult males who were administered the mRNA vaccine against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to CDC data, there were 635 cases of myocarditis diagnosed out of the 54.8 million doses of the mRNA vaccine given to children between the ages of 5 and 17 as of May 2022.

The CDC’s website notes that myocarditis and pericarditis, an inflammation of the heart’s outer lining, “have rarely been reported” and that the risks of COVID-19 “far outweigh the potential risks” of getting the vaccine.

James showed signs of improvement as of early Wednesday and his parents, LeBron James and wife Savannah, were said to be “relieved,” according to TMZ. LeBron had earlier been photographed entering the hospital where his son was being treated.

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