On 15 January, Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, a UNSW epidemiologist who has been prominent in media coverage of the pandemic, announced on Twitter that she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The news prompted an outpouring of supportive tweets, from colleagues (including at the World Health Organization), journalists, members of the public and some politicians, with many deeply appreciative of her contribution to public education and policy debate.
Four days later, the tweet has had more than 46,000 interactions on Twitter – including shares, acknowledgements (it seems wrong to call them ‘likes’), and retweets.
UNSW sociologist Professor Deborah Lupton tweeted: “The outpouring of support and concern for #MaryLouiseMcLaws, to the point that seasoned TV journalists have appeared close to tears, tells us this: not only is she a wonderful epidemiologist, but the Australian public are desperate for calm, wise and authoritative COVID expertise.
Below is just a selection of some of the Twitter responses and you can read more here.
For the record
On 11 January, McLaws tweeted:
On 2 January, a few days after National Cabinet redefined close contacts, she tweeted: “Real leaders can be honest, here is what a real leader could say: case numbers & testing are important, COVID infects within minutes & travels more than 1.5m, long-covid is real & hospital numbers only part of story, gov can supply free RATs & better than PCR 3 days ago.”
See Croakey’s previous articles on epidemiology.