Coronavirus: Barack Obama breaks silence, offers tips, encouragement on social media

Barack Obama - What you need to know

Former President Barack Obama is using his platform on social media to speak about the coronavirus pandemic, offering tips and encouragement while refraining from criticizing his successor.

The former president, who has more than 114.5 million followers on Twitter, has been relatively quiet on many of the controversial issues that have bubbled up during President Donald Trump’s administration, NBC News reported. However, Obama has become more engaged on social media since the coronavirus crisis, posting on Twitter and cross-posting to his Facebook account.

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The tone of Obama’s posts has been positive, as he promotes safety measures and shares stories of people and organizations he believes are inspiring, NBC News reported.

On Monday, Obama tweeted about a New York Times article that was “a useful summary of the current best thinking among public health experts on how we need to approach the fight against COVID-19 in the coming weeks.”

That post has already been retweeted more than 34,000 times.

Obama also posted links to stories of “big-hearted people” inventing news ways to come together, “even while remaining apart.”

One tweet, which linked to a March 14 Washington Post article that showed how the curve of COVID-19 infections can be flattened under various simulations, became the newspaper’s most-read article. According to a tweet from Post reporter Paul Farhi, the article by Harry Stevens even topped the readership generated by the news of Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape in 2016.

“Watch this,” Obama tweeted. “It shows why we should all do the right thing and stay home to the fullest extent possible. All of us can help slow the spread of the virus, protecting the elderly, the vulnerable, and each other.”

Other Twitter posts by Obama have the former president thanking NBA players and executives for “setting a good example during a challenging time” to highlighting an explanation for canceling large gatherings and other events, NBC News reported.

Instead of criticizing Trump, Obama has tweeted his "profound debt of gratitude to” those “on the front lines of this pandemic. He also tweeted that Americans should “check up by phone on elderly or vulnerable friends and neighbors who may need our help.”

Obama also shared his take on “a sober but useful primer on what we should expect in the coming months.”

Former President Barack Obama is stepping up his presence on social media during the coronavirus pandemic.
Former President Barack Obama is stepping up his presence on social media during the coronavirus pandemic. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)