<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Congressional COVID Tweets: By the Numbers</span>

Congressional COVID Tweets: By the Numbers

Written by John Brezinsky on June 26, 2020

How quickly have Members of Congress reacted to the coronavirus outbreak and COVID-19? Who is the most (and least) active? Which party has the most to say?

We analyzed 25,000+ Tweets to show you who’s been reacting the fastest and who has been controlling the narrative.

 

A Slow Start

There was not a single Tweet about the coronavirus from lawmakers until Jan 17, when Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein posted this update:

“While many questions remain about the new coronavirus in China, reports that it could spread underscore the need to be fully prepared. I’ve asked @SecAzar what steps HHS is taking to ensure we’re ready should this outbreak escalate or another global health threat emerge.”

senator-diane-feinstein-tweets-about-coronavirus

The first report of a confirmed case of COVID-19 came on January 21. The next legislator to post was Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell, who Tweeted:

“People are concerned about the potential health implications of the Wuhan coronavirus and it is important that CDC continue to build on its proactive response to safeguard Americans’ public health and safety.”

rep-debbie-dingell-tweets-about-coronavirus

None of the current Members of Congress had ever mentioned Wuhan until then.

By January 31, there were seven confirmed cases in the United States, and we finally saw some greater activity among both Democratic and Republican Members. A total of 279 Tweets concerning the outbreak had been posted. As a country, Americans were beginning to become more concerned, but the national concern had not yet reached significant levels. 

Congressional-Tweets-about-coronavirus-jan

By February 29, the first death in the United States from COVID-19 was reported. At this point, Americans were starting to understand that this outbreak was going to affect them more seriously. The number of Tweets from federal legislators was also starting to increase, with 2,239 messages posted.

Congressional-Tweets-about-coronavirus-Feb

Seriousness Sets In

After March, the cumulative number of Tweets from federal lawmakers about coronavirus and COVID-19 skyrockets. 

With the World Health Organization’s declaration that COVID-19 is a global pandemic, the United States started to come to grips with the fact that everyone could be affected. 

In parallel to the growing national concern, legislators started taking to Twitter in greater and greater numbers. 

By March 6, there were 5,000 Tweets posted. By March 13, there were 10,000. By March 19, there were just shy of 20,500.

Congressional-Tweets-about coronavirus-all

 


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Republicans vs. Democrats - Who Tweets More about COVID-19?

 

In the early days of the outbreak, the majority of tweets came from Republican lawmakers. 

This trend swapped places every couple of days, with Democrats sometimes tweeting more about coronavirus and COVID-19 than Republicans.

It’s worth remembering that there are currently more Democrats than Republicans in Congress. If both parties are tweeting similarly, then it should come as no surprise that there would be more Democrat posts than Republican. That’s what makes these early-day shifts so interesting. We don’t see party-line activity. We see individual Members talking to their constituents during an uncertain time.

By-Party-Congressional-Tweets-about-coronavirus-feb

 

Towards the end of February, however, everything changes. From this point on, every Member is posting large numbers of tweets about the ongoing crisis. The raw numbers are driven by Democrat lawmakers, reflecting the larger number of Democrats across both houses of Congress.

By-Party-Congressional-Tweets-about-coronavirus-march

Individual Members of Congress - Who’s Tweeting?

 

Of the 535 Representatives and Senators, not everyone is tweeting about this crisis equally. Some Members simply don’t have very active Twitter feeds. Others are generally inclined towards 280-character updates. During this outbreak, it’s no different. 

524 legislators have tweeted, but the top 100 represent fully 45% of the entire volume. Even among the top 10, we see significant differences. Coming in at #1, Rep. Ted Lieu has pushed out 73% more tweets than #10 Rep. Joaquin Castro!

Top 10 Members of Congress Tweeting about Coronavirus / COVID-19

Member

Number of Tweets

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA)

324

Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)

298

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX)

289

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

236

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

225

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)

221

Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez (R-PR)

196

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

189

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

189

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX)

187