“Calling myself an influencer is a little too much,” says Luana Araújo between laughs. The infectious disease physician became famous after attending Covid’s CPI, in June, and clearly taking a stand against the use of drugs without proven efficacy in the treatment of the disease, such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
“We are still here discussing something that is unreasonable. It’s as if we were choosing which edge of the flat Earth to jump from, it’s not logical,” he said, at the time, about the application of the so-called early treatment.
After that day, she started using her social networks to inform about coronavirus transmission and the importance of vaccination to control the pandemic.
“It was not something I planned. Infectology, by definition, requires good communication with the patient, we have to explain what to expect or not from the development of a disease. Often there are no great solutions, dialogue is the only tool” , explains about the influencer role she rejects, but occupies: currently she has 317,000 followers on Instagram.
These are people who follow her posts about the paths that the pandemic has taken and who ask questions through the little boxes she publishes in the stories.
“Yesterday [no último dia 29], I started working at 6 am and at 11 pm I was doing a live on the omicron. I appeared on every television show talking about the new variant. Many followers asked, really worried, if I had been fed, rested. We establish a very nice relationship. A man sent me a message saying that there, among the followers in my profile, we form a family,” he says.
She agrees that exposing a little life beyond medicine helps people to identify with their more human side, closer than the distant figure of an infectious disease specialist.
Luana is a pianist —she started playing at the age of two—, she sings and has even recorded an album. She has a cat, Noel Rosa, and a dog, Nana.
“In general, when people think of someone who holds a position in science and public health [área na qual é mestre pela Universidade Johns Hopkins], soon imagine a middle-aged man. When they find someone who runs away from that profile, who talks as an equal, they find it strange, but later they also end up connecting more”, he observes.
About promoting scientific dissemination in a field contaminated by fake news and anti-vaccination discourses, such as social networks, the doctor is optimistic and considers that the situation has improved in relation to information about Covid.
“In the beginning, things were still very unstable. People were anxious and went after any news, true or not. Now the population is listening more to the specialists, they are getting vaccinated. I think that criminal wave of pseudoscience is no longer relevant. strength I had.”
Haters have also dropped, but “there are still some latecomers,” as she says.
“On the internet, people feel free to expose stupidity in all its glory,” he jokes.
Announced by the federal government in May this year as Covid’s new special coping secretary and dismissed just ten days later, the doctor was summoned to appear at the CPI. The senators wanted to know if the Planalto Palace had interfered in his resignation.
Shortly after her testimony at the CPI, she had her address exposed and suffered threats of physical and sexual violence. “They even asked me if I knew Marielle’s story [Franco, vereadora do Rio de Janeiro que foi assassinada em 2018]”, reveals.
“People exposed all their misogyny, which speaks more about them than about me,” he ponders. “The worst thing is that many of these people were women. Then you go to the profile to see who it is and it says: Christian, mother of Enzo and Valentina.”
For Luana, this type of persecution shows that we have a long way to go in education. “I’m shocked at the extent of the gap in education and values we suffer.”
She says she doesn’t feel exhausted fighting misinformation about the virus. “They are stubborn, but we are resilient,” he adds.
One way to take care of mental health during the pandemic, she said, is to try not to despair.
“It sounds like a cliché, but you have to live one day after another. The pandemic process has many facets, such as what happens in our lives, in our city, in the country and in the world”, he says. “We have to follow one piece of information at a time so that anxiety doesn’t take over.”
Follow the Mental Health blog on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.