Coronavirus Social: Facebook Physician Memorial

Liz Neporent

April 25, 2020

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

While Facebook lit a virtual candle in remembrance of physicians who have died fighting COVID-19, Twitter was on fire over presidential comments about injecting disinfectants as a cure. Elsewhere on social media this week, YouTube tries to eradicate videos pushing fake facts and MDedge Psychiatry held a tweet chat on the impact of coronavirus on mental health

Memorial Page for Physicians

"We should not forget the physicians who have and will die trying to help. If you know of a doctor who has died, please post his or her name, obituary, or story," reads the description for a new COVID-19 Physician's Memorial Facebook page dedicated to remembering doctors who have lost their lives to the coronavirus. 

The page was created at the beginning of April and its nearly 3000 members have already posted hundreds of stories, pictures, and obituaries for physicians who have died from coronavirus. The page is public, but requires admin approval to gain access. 

Medscape's "In Memoriam" has been shared more than 80,000 times on Facebook. It lists more than 200 healthcare workers of all types worldwide who have succumbed to the coronavirus, and continues to add names.

Don't Drink Bleach, Physicians Warn

The terms bleach, Lysol, Windex, and Clorox were all trending worldwide on social media after a recent US Coronavirus Taskforce press conference where President Trump suggested injecting or ingesting disinfectants could be a cure for coronavirus. 

Med Twitter expressed horror and dismay over the comments.

"Please don't drink bleach or isopropyl alcohol to remove #COVID19 from your saliva. Please," emergency medicine physician Dara Kass, MD said in a tweet moments after the conference ended. Her tweet was liked nearly 50,000 times and shared nearly 12,000 times with hundreds more leaving comments expressing everything from concern to shock to amusement over the controversial statements.

"I am reasonably certain you don't need a medical degree to suss this out, but in case you need to hear it from a professional: things that are safe and effective outside the body are not necessarily so inside it. The inside and outside of your body are different in many ways," tweeted pediatrician Daniel Summers, MD.

The medical community's concern may not be so far fetched, as this tweet from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency shows.

"We have received several calls regarding questions about disinfectant use and #COVID19. This is a reminder that under no circumstances should any disinfectant product be administered into the body through injection, ingestion, or any other route," they tweeted from their official account.

The president has since attempted to walk back his remarks, suggesting that he was being sarcastic at the time. 

YouTube Cracks Down on Coronavirus Disinformation

YouTube announced this week that it will remove any coronavirus content that contradicts the World Health Organization (WHO).

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in a CNN interview earlier this week that the video-sharing service will ban any "medical unsubstantiated information in an effort to stamp out misinformation on the platform."

"So people saying, 'Take vitamin C, take turmeric, we'll cure you,' those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy," she told CNN, adding that the company will also delete videos that promote fringe conspiracy theories like those suggesting users can catch COVID-19 from 5G cell service.

YouTube is the latest online provider to announce efforts to stem the tide of bad and dangerous misinformation about the pandemic. Google, YouTube's parent company, revealed it is blocking 18 million scams a day related to the coronavirus pandemic to its Gmail service. Facebook recently added a pop-up alert urging users to visit the WHO website any time they click on false COVID-19 information. The Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp now prevents users from forwarding messages more than four times to help slow the spread of deceptive claims.

MDedge Psychiatry Tweet Chat

The MDedge Psychiatry team hosted a tweet chat on Thursday for professionals to discuss the mental health impacts of COVID-19. The chats covered topics like increased suicide risk, the populations most suceptible to depression, and the effect the pandemic is having on the psyche of the healthcare community.

"As psychiatrists we have our patients to take care of, but we are also in a position to help out other hospital colleagues dealing directly with COVID+ patients and manage their stress and grief. So clinical work can increase," Elizabeth Ryznar, MD, a psychiatrist with Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore said in a tweet.

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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