Science museum

ZDoggMD Deletes Twitter Account After Dusting Off With Science Museum

Podcaster and comedian ZDoggMD, aka Zubin Damania, MD, was caught up in a Twitter tornado on Friday over his post criticizing a San Francisco children’s museum policy that he said required children 12 and over are boosted as a prerequisite for admission.

After his tweet, Damania incurred a fury of invective from all quarters, and a corrective response from the California Academy of Sciences. The Academy said his tweet misrepresented its policy. Instead of banning unboosted children and others 12 and older, the museum in Golden Gate Park is allowing people 12 and older who are fully vaccinated but not up to date with their booster “to bring a negative test recent instead”.

“We must intervene to clarify that this statement is not correct,” the California Academy of Sciences said. tweeted back to ZDogg®. “We do not require a booster for children ages 5-11, and anyone 12 and older who has not received a booster can provide proof of a negative test. You can get specific information about our policies on our website:”

But the damage was already done. ZDogg’s tweet elicited hundreds of controversial replies. Anti-vaxxers said the museum shouldn’t require injections in children at all, or shouldn’t require reminders, and pro-vaxxers said they should, and many accused it of trying to “bully” a revered and historic children’s museum, he said. .

Unusually, ZDogg has thrown in the towel. He deleted his Twitter account and said goodbye to his 100,000 followers. In an interview with MedPage todayDamania explained that the ensuing choppy thread made him realize that being on Twitter wasn’t worth it.

“This museum has to defend itself against the rising crowd,” he said. “The anti-vaxxers pile up, then the pro-vaxxers behave like morons.”

Twitter is just a “repository of mental illness,” Damania said. “And at this point, I’m like, you know what? I’ve always known that Twitter is a cesspool. I know it’s not the place for me because I’m too emotionally unstable not to react in any way. emotionally unstable way when other people behave like that.”

He said he now realizes, “I’m not good enough to be on Twitter. It’s damaging. It’s not getting the message I want. I’ve got a huge platform out there where I can do get my message across.”

In a 45-minute YouTube video hours after the Twitter storm, Damania blasted the social media forum for being “like a parasitic virus” that allows “professionals (to) behave like total ass clowns” and “who rewards people for being narcissistic or aggressive or having a personality disorder.”

Apparently the whole kerfuffle happened because of misreading the museum’s website.

Damania said he and his wife received a $125 Academy admission ticket as a gift to take their 10 and 14-year-olds. With a free day last Friday, they checked the website to see the vaccine restrictions – but the wording about the option to get a negative test instead of a booster wasn’t there, or wasn’t there. wasn’t there in a way that they could easily see without clicking elsewhere on the site, he said.

Indeed, a look at the museum’s website via the Wayback Machine shows good reason why someone would misunderstand the museum’s policy. In the FAQ section of February 17, the website asks and answers the question: “I am eligible for a booster shot, but I haven’t received it yet. Can I still visit?”

“Sorry, not yet. Please postpone your visit until you receive your reminder. We regret any inconvenience and encourage you to get your reminder as soon as possible!” For children ages 12 to 17, the website states that “As of February 1, 2022: Current proof of vaccination required, including booster vaccination. »

Requiring reminders of children 12 and older as a prerequisite for admission didn’t sit well with him, so he protested on Twitter, tagging @calacademy so that would answer.

He said MedPage today that his 14 year old “is not boosted because me, like the two FDA officials who resigned and like Paul Offit [of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia]who is a vaccine specialist, doesn’t feel the need for healthy children to boost, and there’s no good science to show us that it’s something that’s needed.”

It seemed, he said, “very unscientific, especially for a museum that caters to children”.

Even if Damania had seen the testing option on the academy’s website, he would still have disagreed about the requirement for test results, he explained.

“You’re going to test children who haven’t had a third dose, but you’re not going to test children who have had a third dose,” he said. “Show me the data that indicates the third dose will somehow drop transmission rates enough to warrant this discriminatory policy and testing.”

It is a political decision affecting children, he said, that is not based on science.

Damania said he suspected that after the flurry of tweets on Friday, the academy changed or revamped the wording on its website, explaining the ability for children 12 and older to present a negative test result to enter. .

The academy’s senior communications officer, Jeanette Peach, said in an email Monday that the moment Damania pressed on sending her controversial tweet, the alternatives of negative test results for 12-year-olds and more “were clearly indicated on the Academy’s website”.

But after all of the Twitter feedback, she said, “we’ve updated our website’s health and safety page to increase the visibility and clarity of messaging about these policies.”

In his YouTube video, Damania said he felt “thrilled” to let go of the anger he feels when he engages on Twitter, and that he’s “gone for good. At least until what I change my mind, which hopefully won’t.”

Damania, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, had a publishing partnership with MedPage today until January 1, 2022. He is currently on staff at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as an adjunct professor with privileges at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas. He is not paid for patient care, but all the care he provides is “voluntary and in a teaching role”.

  • Cheryl Clark has been a medical and science journalist for over three decades.