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On occasion of the COVID-19 pandemic, in Italy, during the outbreak period, 140 professionals, including paediatricians (the majority), general health practitioners, infectious diseases specialists, epidemiologists, neuropsychiatrists, neurologists, psychologists, pharmaceutical representatives, magistrates, predominantly Italian but also from other countries in Europe and beyond, created a chatline to share their own experiences.
The chat, created on WhatsApp and called ‘Pediavirus’, has proven to be very helpful to share knowledge on experiences, already-codified and off label therapies, innovative medical proposals by participating doctors, psychological help to those involved first hand (and to their patients), international guidelines, epidemiological tables and daily stats on number of infected/requiring intensive care/deceased; yet, despite the dramatic moment, irony has never gone missing.
The chat has gradually and autonomously gained its own structure and schedule. Paediatricians acted as a sort of local envoys because they were distributed in all the health centres of Campania and in most of the Italian regions from where they could provide comments, rumours and news ahead of the daily official press briefing by the government.
We analysed about 100 000 messages written in the chat over about 2 months, that is, since the outbreak of the epidemic in Italy up until today with …
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