Characterizing the Reaction of Doctors to COVID-19 on Twitter


  • Katie Hsia Tufts Medical Center
  • Edward Kong Harvard Medical School



Social Media, COVID-19, Doctors


With the surge of the Delta variant of COVID-19, clear public health messaging on social media has become more vital than ever. We demonstrate how unique Twitter data can be used to explore doctors’ reactions to the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We elucidate how discussion differed across locations, over time, and in comparison to non-doctors. Tweets spiked surrounding major events and in locations with rising case numbers. Discussion from doctors initially focused on the origin of the virus in Wuhan, later switching to calls to “stay home.” Doctors tweeted more often about public health and healthcare workers, whereas non-doctors were more likely to tweet about political topics, including China and the Trump administration. The differences in how doctors and non-doctors engage about COVID-19 can provide insight into the similarities and differences in communication between medical experts and the public. Future public health communications may benefit from analyses that compare the social media messages promulgated by various groups.




How to Cite

Hsia, K., & Kong, E. (2022). Characterizing the Reaction of Doctors to COVID-19 on Twitter. Journal of Quantitative Description: Digital Media , 2.