NP uses TikTok to dispel Covid-19 myths
Since mid-2020, US nurse practitioner Christina has been posting strong refutations of Covid misinformation on TikTok, as reported in a good Wired piece in September. Christina’s video style is comic, hyper-articulate, and at times brutal. Her TikTok account presents an image of a practicing nurse as a fiercely intelligent, authoritative, and compelling public health advocate.
December 2020 – On September 6, Wired posted a good piece by Helen Santoro about health professionals who have taken to TikTok to combat the wave of misinformation about Covid-19. That report was then picked up by many other sites. Its focus was on nurse practitioner Christina (christinaaaaaaanp), who has been posting Covid videos since July 2020. The report explained that Christina began by posting a video of her showing that mask-wearing does not inhibit oxygenation by donning several masks while hooked up to a pulse oximeter. Christina soon realized she could make a difference by posting more; she now has more than 235,000 followers. The Wired piece linked to one of her posts debunking the idea that Covid numbers have been exaggerated and that the condition is “not nearly as bad as seasonal flu.” The article noted that educating through TikTok video was a natural fit for Christina because she has “spent much of her career educating other medical providers about anything from communication skills to helping patients with pain management.” Other posts on Christina’s account address why the mRNA Covid vaccines were not “rushed,” how and why Covid testing works, and a wide variety of other aspects of the crisis. One post revisited her original theme to address the burning issue of whether “N95s kill.” In that one she donned an N95 and pretended to die, while making clear that the mask actually had no such effect. Her posts typically include captions to help viewers follow her rapid-fire delivery. The feed also makes clear that she gets a lot of pushback, some of it rooted in bigotry, and that she responds to it with the same tenacity. At times she adopts late-night television style tactics, ranging from dramatic readings of mean comments directed at her to Sarah Cooper-like lip-syncing and reaction shots. Christina does have a tendency to mock misinformers and call them “clowns.” One was advised to “grow a conscience.” So it’s not clear how many true Covid skeptics she may be causing to accept the science. But she is likely persuading some of those who are persuadable, as well as empowering and entertaining those who are well-informed about the virus. And she is giving the public a striking portrait of a nurse as articulate, well-educated, and fearless public health advocate. We thank her and Wired.
Follow Christina on TikTok at https://www.tiktok.com/@christinaaaaaaanp
Helen Santoro’s article was “Doctors and Nurses Take to TikTok to Fight Covid Myths” posted September 6, 2020 on Wired.