Swinney apologises over ‘misleading’ face mask graphic

The deputy first minister has now deleted the tweet containing the image which had remained live for days.

Swinney apologises over ‘misleading’ face mask graphic Gov.scot

Deputy first minister John Swinney has said he is sorry for sharing a graphic about face masks he posted on social media after it became clear it was unverified.

The image, attached to a tweet, which made claims about the effectiveness of wearing a mask in preventing the transmission of coronavirus has since been deleted.

On Monday, Swinney shared it describing it as “a helpful graphic showing why we must use face coverings and keep our distance”.

The UK Statistics Authority confirmed to STV News it had received a letter of complaint about the graphic which included the claim that there is zero chance of two mask wearers six-feet apart catching Covid from each other.

Shortly before 6pm on Wednesday, Swinney said: “I shared an image on Monday to illustrate that masks and distancing can help stop Covid transmission.

“I have now deleted the image as the figures in it were not verified. Sorry for that. But the message is unchanged: masks and distancing remain critical to beating this virus.”

Scottish Conservative health spokeswoman Annie Wells called the graphic “misleading” and wrote to the UK’s national statistician, Sir Ian Diamond, asking for their input about the image.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon defended Swinney’s usage of the graphic at a coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, where she said people “should not lose sight” of the general message he was trying to convey about the importance of wearing a face mask during the pandemic.

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