Note: This thread is related to #Coronavirus #COVID19

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Nicholas A. Christakis+ Your Authors @NAChristakis Sterling Professor of Social & Natural Science at Yale. Physician. Author of Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society. Luckily wed @ErikaChristakis Mar. 28, 2020 2 min read + Your Authors

Case of Dr Wenliang Li in Wuhan (accused of 'rumor-mongering') should have sensitized me to the overlap of free expression & COVID19. But this Seattle hospital should be ashamed.  https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/er-doctor-who-criticized-bellingham-hospitals-coronavirus-protections-has-been-fired/  Firing a (much needed) doctor for speaking during a pandemic. Not a good look

I’m going to start a thread this: hospitals and medical schools in the USA seeking to prevent their staff from speaking to the media. This practice is not in keeping with norms of free & open expression in our society & universities. It’s what the CCP did in Wuhan. It’s wrong. 2/

Today’s absurd addition (and I’m aware of many): NYU. “The same day doctors received the guidance from Dr. Femia, they also got a reminder not to speak to news reporters without permission from NYU Langone’s Office of Communications and Marketing.”  https://www.wsj.com/articles/nyu-langone-tells-er-doctors-to-think-more-critically-about-who-gets-ventilators-11585618990  3/

‘Anyone who does not adhere to this policy, or who speaks or disseminates information to the media without explicit permission of the Office of Communications & Marketing, will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination,” Ms. Lewis wrote.’ 4/

This is not a good look. It’s disrespectful to medical personnel. It’s ultimately counterproductive because it’ll just lead to leaks and low morale. It’s so much better to forthrightly address anything that is happening. I have heard already similar stories in other places. 5/

How are these American hospitals different from what happened in China? Secrecy interferes with our ability to fight COVID19.  https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00920-w  @nature @NatureNews 6/

Another case: “Hospitals are muzzling nurses and other health-care workers in an attempt to preserve their image.” I find this revolting.  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-31/hospitals-tell-doctors-they-ll-be-fired-if-they-talk-to-press  7/

Hospital administrators should be spending time improving efficiency during this pandemic, or sourcing PPE, not monitoring staff social media postings and firing health care workers when they are needed most. We will not beat COVID19 using censorship. 8/

Here is a tip to hospital administrators: if a staff member says something publicly that is wrong, just correct it calmly with facts. If they are right, respond forthrightly about how you are dealing with the challenge. This is how one acts responsibly and suppresses rumors. 9/

We will not beat COVID19 with either censorship or lies. My thoughts in an interview with @TheAtlantic, that I can add to this thread. 10/


You can follow @NAChristakis.



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