SAN FRANCISCO—Bob Wachter, the chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, has had a front-row seat to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Wachter’s job, at least in part, is to keep the department’s 3,000 or so faculty, trainees and staff current on developments in research, education and clinical care. But most days he sets aside at least two hours to keep another group informed: his Twitter followers.

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