COVID-19 Twitter Feed Spring Cleaning


By Malia Mackey— 


Spring is often a time for new beginnings—and usually a time for spring cleaning. While we are battling the persistent pollen flurry and balancing that last can of soup in the pantry, there’s likely something else collecting clutter—your Twitter feed.  


In the age of coronavirus, when everyone wants to add their two cents and shout into the Twitter void, deciding which tweets are worth your time can be exhausting. Parsing through retweets can be like a treasure hunt for well balanced, accurate information—the kind we need to communicate about the rapidly developing pandemic in informed and relevant ways. It’s easy to go with the most attention-grabbing headlines or those that reflect the reality you’d like to come to fruition


Coming from my formal training in infectious disease research under the incredible Dr. Gary Whittaker of Cornell University and Dr. Lisa Frenkel of Seattle Children’s Research, combined with my informal Twitter crash course, courtesy of FOMO and curiosity, I compiled a list of people I consider worth your time and feed space to follow. Just because someone is a doctor doesn’t make them qualified to speak with authority on COVID-19 


With these Twitter giants assuming varying levels of virus knowledge baselines, I suggest this basic NYT article on SARS-CoV-2 biology, courtesy of Carl Zimmer (@carlzimmer) and graphics by Jonathan Corum (@13ptin preparation for your path to cutting through the Twitter nonsense 


This list by no means is exhaustive, but you can find my current coronavirus Twitter influencers list here, and see other experts I trust.   


Helen Branswellsenior writer for infectious diseases for STAT news 


If you don’t follow her already, this is your first stop. She points to credible resources, running the gamut from the latest on antivirals and testing technology to mental health and rural spread concerns. Her experience writing for STAT and quick pickup of fresh articles makes her feed a great one-stop-shop. She distills articles to a tweet with laser focus.   




Dr. Trevor BedfordBedford Lab, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division and the Computational Biology Program, Fred Hutch 


I can’t choose which thread is my favorite because he has so many excellent ones. His own lab has a page dedicated to his tweets by topic and is a great resource for commentaryIf you want to stick with the easily digestible topline information, his feed may not be for you. For those willing to bear with 10+ part threads, Trevor breaks down crucial future endeavors like test, trace, and isolate, as well as controversial articles in multipart explanations supported by external articles and his own expertise.  




Dr. Eric Topol, Founder and Director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, and Professor of Molecular Medicine 


Eric is the king of curation and happens to be followed by everyone else on this list. While he is a cardiologist, personally doing little to no writing on coronavirus, he brings the most cutting-edge research to feeds. He does so by providing the topline of the chosen study, authors, publication source, and screenshot of relevant figures all in his allotted 280 characters. His tweets tend to be geared towards those with some background in academic journal article decoding and are incredibly informative.  




Mike Baker, New York Times correspondent 


Located in the Pacific Northwest, where COVID-19 first landed, he’s now reporting full time on coronavirus—except when he’s reporting on the “murder hornets” that we’re just doing our best to ignore right now. Mike’s reporting is far more layperson-focused, as he includes a heavy dose of reporting on the pandemic’s macro-level impacts including protest coverage, mask shortages, and the dire needs of hospitals.   




Dr. Angela Rasmussen, Columbia University virologist and Forbes contributor 


Dr. Rasmussen’s feed is a great resource for more lively coverage, with commentary informed by her own expertise in virology. She refuses to pull punches when it comes to irresponsible reporting, and decision-making by lawmakers.  




Dr. Ross MacDonald, Chief Medical Officer, Correctional Health Services NYC, Chief Physician of Rikers Island 


As the least prolific tweeter of the bunch, his role certainly brings an important perspective by amplifying articles relevant to prison populations and bringing attention to people he disagrees with. With an abundance of commentary on how COVID endangers inmates in packed prisons, he demystifies some of the work happening behind prison walls.  




Bonus listening 

Trying to break from the screen and want to just plug in and listen? Here are two podcast bonuses:  


NPR’s Coronavirus Daily 

Every weekday afternoon, NPR brings you coronavirus updates in 10 minutes, with host Kelly McEvers. This is a great screen-free quick fix if you want the nofrills version of what’s new every day in this rapidly developing pandemic 


The Daily 

Hosted by NYT’s Barbaro (@mikiebarb), this podcast brings in the voices of decisionmakers, coronavirus experts, workers on the frontlines, and people like all of us impacted by the pandemicWhile not as concise as NPR’s daily version, you’ll get sucked into these daily 30-40 minute episodes as they add a more human touch to their storytelling. Thankfully, they recognize how fatigue-inducing the constant barrage of full-time COVID can be and bring in “A Bit of Relief” episode once a week to soothe the system before plunging it back into our frantic reality.  


Have any additions? Send them my way to my Twitter (@malia_mackey), or my email: malia [at] minervastrategies [dot] com 

About The Author

Minerva Strategies

Minerva Strategies

The Minerva team has decades of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and values-driven companies. Minerva also partners with experts—trusted designers, web developers, global communications professionals, and others—who share our excitement for creating positive social change. Through these partnerships, we can build a team that is tailored to your needs. Learn more about who we are or what we do.