A physician who spent much of the COVID pandemic touting herself as an exhausted frontline health care worker and a viral expert has allegedly been revealed as a school physician with a cushy 9-to-5 job – much of which she did from home.
According to the New York Post, Dr. Risa Hoshino has been accused of lying about her supposed role as a doctor treating deathly ill COVID patients, including children, per the descriptions of her day that she repeatedly posted on social media.
Since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic in early 2020, Hoshino continually posted photos of herself in scrubs and PPE gear, lecturing the public on the importance of wearing masks and social distancing and complaining about her grueling days spent on the COVID ward treating ill and dying people.
“If you had to listen to crying children all day who are devastated that they may never recover from long covid, $ not being able to tell them that everything will be ok…will you still not wear a mask?” Hoshino was tweeting as late as March 2022.
“Not sure how someone can tell me to my face that ‘covid is over’ as I stand there in my scrubs, N95, [and] face-shield, exhausted from treating all the covid + patients who are either severely ill or have long covid. Unless you’re us, you’ll truly never get it,” she later wrote.
Hoshino, who billed herself as a "vaccine expert" on her Twitter profile, also complained about working 12-hour shifts in an N95 mask, work for which she claimed she was underpaid, at one point even raising money from hundreds of donors for her “coffee fund,” the Post adds. Her posts across a bevy of social media platforms garnered thousands of shares and responses, garnering her notoriety as a supposed leading expert speaking with frontline experience.
But, as it turns out, Hoshino may not have been the overworked, self-sacrificing expert she made herself out to be.
According to Substack blogger Sarah Beth Burwick, Hoshino is actually a school physician who makes about $170,000 a year, works typical 8-hour workdays in plain clothes, and who likely spent much of 2020 working remotely. After some internet sleuthing, Burwick found Hoshino’s personal social media accounts – which have since been deleted or locked down, per the Post – that show Hoshino on vacation during the pandemic, even while she complained about working long days and combatting medical misinformation from “anti-vaxxers.” Other photos found and published by Burwick show Hoshino partying bare-faced with friends, even while she was posting public criticisms of the maskless and irresponsible on her public pages.
But while Burwick was allegedly hanging out on a beach, her public posts about the severity of the pandemic and her self-described experiences on the frontlines treating dying children were taken as gospel. Burwick explains:
After Dr. Hoshino unsurprisingly grew her Instagram to 113,000 followers in a year-and-a-half, Medical Marketing + Media dubbed her one of “The top 12 physician influencers” on that platform. Beckers HR called her a "top 10 physician influencer" and The Scientist lauded her as "a veteran of using social media to debunk scientific falsehoods.”
But in addition to her allegedly fabricated experience during COVID, Burwick says Hoshino's medical background appears dubious, as well.
Dr. Hoshino’s LinkedIn profile identifies an affiliation with Mount Sinai hospital but includes no dates, and the hospital’s website does not list her. Other sites, such as Vitals.com and WebMD, list Mount Sinai as Hoshino’s office location. If you dial the publicly-listed phone number, you reach a recording that says “thank you for calling the department of pediatric education. We are working remotely but are checking these messages periodically. Please leave a message.”
Publicly-available information reveals no affiliation between Dr. Hoshino and Mount Sinai since completing her residency in 2017.
And while Hoshino claimed to have 15 years of experience in the medial field, records show she only graduated the NYU Medical School in 2014.
On top of that, Burwick says the only current professional affiliation she could find for the supposed COVID doctor was from Instagram posts revealing Hoshino was a school pediatrician in NYC (many of whom by policy spent much of the pandemic working from home). Burwick also noted that Hoshino doesn’t appear to have changed jobs and there are no other records of her working anywhere else, much less at hospitals or medical facilities dealing with COVID patients.
Hoshino hasn't yet responded to the allegations, but has locked down her Twitter account as "private." Her previously large Instagram account, referred to on other sites and in publications as being under the username "@dr.risahoshino," can no longer be found.