Rasmussen, who has seen her Twitter followers explode from around 300 pre-pandemic to more than 180,000, said she’d like to avoid unnecessary Twitter beefs, which also included testy exchanges with “Dilbert” comic strip creator Scott Adams and his fans over the pandemic in recent months.

But as the pandemic has worn on, she has become frustrated with the persistent misinformation from influential leaders and celebrities like Musk and Adams, and her strongly worded tweets show it.

“It’s exhausting,” Rasmussen said. “The same arguments keep coming back. It’s like battling a hydra. Every time you cut one head off, another one grows back in place.”

Laurel Bristow, an infectious disease researcher at Emory University in Atlanta, suggests it’s an indictment of academia that misinformation and conspiracy theories thrive and that parts of American society remain deeply skeptical of true scientific work.