Coronavirus Social: Politician-Free Pressers, COVID Cache, Doc's Diary

Liz Neporent

March 25, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.  

On Twitter, there is a growing chorus of users asking for the federal Coronavirus Taskforce press briefing to be given by doctors only, an effort to organize scientific material about the disease, and a daily diary from a physician fighting a COVID-19 infection. Read on for details. 

A Call for "Doc Only" Press Conferences

Twitter users are weighing in on the daily briefing to the press by the Federal government's Coronavirus Response Taskforce, which often starts with remarks from the president and vice president before they pass the microphone over to the medical professionals. Let's get straight to the science, many of them propose.

The hashtag #DoctorsOnlyPressConferences was started by left-leaning pot-stirrer Scott Dworkin, who no doubt has an agenda of his own to push. The tag has been trending all day with most tweeters who have chimed in sharing Dworkin's disdain for the politicians at the podium. 

However, their main point seems to be that they simply prefer getting unfiltered facts about the government's coronavirus efforts directly from Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Deborah Birx, MD, head of the taskforce, among other experts. 

Physician Tweeter Sorts Out the Coronavirus Science

WIth clinical information about COVID-19 morphing at such a blinding pace, how are clinicians supposed to keep up with the latest thinking? 

Shashin J. Shah, MD, a physician, researcher, and assistant professor at the University of California at San Francisco did the medical world a huge favor by taking a deep dive into the COVID literature, scanning more than 1300 PubMed articles to put together a core group of papers for clinicians and medical educators. He's helpfully pinned a link to the list at the top of his Twitter feed.

Shah has organized the publications into sections such as infectious disease and immunology, radiology, and even ethics. He's been updating continually based on the feedback from the hundreds of suggestions that have been tweeted at him. His effort showcases the power of #FOAMed, shorthand for "Free Open Access Medical Education," a good hashtag to follow for anyone looking to filter the noisy coronavirus Twitter conversation down to clinicians and scientists. 

Doc Documents His Own Brush With Coronavirus

Healthcare workers who treat patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus up their risk of exposure. Many are getting sick themselves. Some really ill physicians have been documenting their journey through the coronavirus infection on Twitter, including Yale Tung Chen, MD, an emergency room doctor at Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid, Spain.

Chen has been posting live updates about his condition on Twitter for more than 2 weeks, complete with descriptions of his symptoms and a daily scan of his lungs that he takes through Butterfly's smartphone-connected ultrasound device. It’s a unique perspective by someone who is both a physician and a patient. Though his symptoms have been relatively mild, including a cough, diarrhea, and congestion, he says the hardest part for him is being a father of two and having to quarantine away from his family.

Liz Neporent is Medscape's executive editor of social media and community. She has previously worked at ABC News National as well as other major news outlets. She's based in New York City and can be reached at or @lizzyfit on Twitter.

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