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1.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(2): e26302, 2021 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575865

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 (ie, COVID-19) has given rise to a global pandemic affecting 215 countries and over 40 million people as of October 2020. Meanwhile, we are also experiencing an infodemic induced by the overabundance of information, some accurate and some inaccurate, spreading rapidly across social media platforms. Social media has arguably shifted the information acquisition and dissemination of a considerably large population of internet users toward higher interactivities. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate COVID-19-related health beliefs on one of the mainstream social media platforms, Twitter, as well as potential impacting factors associated with fluctuations in health beliefs on social media. METHODS: We used COVID-19-related posts from the mainstream social media platform Twitter to monitor health beliefs. A total of 92,687,660 tweets corresponding to 8,967,986 unique users from January 6 to June 21, 2020, were retrieved. To quantify health beliefs, we employed the health belief model (HBM) with four core constructs: perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers. We utilized natural language processing and machine learning techniques to automate the process of judging the conformity of each tweet with each of the four HBM constructs. A total of 5000 tweets were manually annotated for training the machine learning architectures. RESULTS: The machine learning classifiers yielded areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves over 0.86 for the classification of all four HBM constructs. Our analyses revealed a basic reproduction number R0 of 7.62 for trends in the number of Twitter users posting health belief-related content over the study period. The fluctuations in the number of health belief-related tweets could reflect dynamics in case and death statistics, systematic interventions, and public events. Specifically, we observed that scientific events, such as scientific publications, and nonscientific events, such as politicians' speeches, were comparable in their ability to influence health belief trends on social media through a Kruskal-Wallis test (P=.78 and P=.92 for perceived benefits and perceived barriers, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: As an analogy of the classic epidemiology model where an infection is considered to be spreading in a population with an R0 greater than 1, we found that the number of users tweeting about COVID-19 health beliefs was amplifying in an epidemic manner and could partially intensify the infodemic. It is "unhealthy" that both scientific and nonscientific events constitute no disparity in impacting the health belief trends on Twitter, since nonscientific events, such as politicians' speeches, might not be endorsed by substantial evidence and could sometimes be misleading.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Data Analysis , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Machine Learning , Natural Language Processing , Public Opinion , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics
2.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(2): e25363, 2021 02 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575084

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on both the physical and mental health of individuals worldwide. Evidence regarding the association between mental health problems and information exposure among Thai citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak is limited. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore the relationship between information exposure and mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand. METHODS: Between April 21 and May 4, 2020, we conducted a cross-sectional, nationwide online survey of the general population in Thailand. We categorized the duration of exposure to COVID-19-related information as follows: <1 h/day (reference group), 1-2 h/day, and ≥3 h/day. Mental health outcomes were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 scale, the Perceived Stress Scale-10, and the Insomnia Severity Index for symptoms of depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and insomnia, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to evaluate the relationship between information exposure and the risk of developing the aforementioned symptoms. An ancillary analysis using multivariable multinomial logistic regression models was also conducted to assess the possible dose-response relationship across the severity strata of mental health problems. RESULTS: Of the 4322 eligible participants, 4004 (92.6%) completed the online survey. Of them, 1481 (37.0%), 1644 (41.1%), and 879 (22.0%) participants were exposed to COVID-19-related information for less than 1 hour per day, 1 to 2 hours per day, or 3 or more hours per day, respectively. The major source of information related to the COVID-19 pandemic was social media (95.3%), followed by traditional media (68.7%) and family members (34.9%). Those exposed to information for 3 or more hours per day had a higher risk of developing symptoms of depression (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 1.35, 95% CI 1.03-1.76; P=.03), anxiety (adjusted OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.43-2.46; P<.001), and insomnia (adjusted OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.17-1.97; P=.001) than people exposed to information for less than 1 hour per day. Meanwhile, people exposed to information for 1 to 2 hours per day were only at risk of developing symptoms of anxiety (adjusted OR 1.35, 95% CI 1.08-1.69; P=.008). However, no association was found between information exposure and the risk of perceived stress. In the ancillary analysis, a dose-response relationship was observed between information exposure of 3 or more hours per day and the severity of mental health problems. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that social media is the main source of COVID-19-related information. Moreover, people who are exposed to information for 3 or more hours per day are more likely to develop psychological problems, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Longitudinal studies investigating the long-term effects of COVID-19-related information exposure on mental health are warranted.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Depression/epidemiology , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Internet Use/statistics & numerical data , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders/epidemiology , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Social Media/supply & distribution , Surveys and Questionnaires , Thailand/epidemiology
3.
Glob Health Res Policy ; 6(1): 37, 2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448492

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has seriously affected people's mental health and changed their behaviors. Previous studies for mental state and behavior promotion only targeted limited people or were not suitable for daily activity restrictions. Therefore, we decided to explore the effect of health education videos on people's mental state and health-related behaviors. METHODS: Based on WeChat, QQ, and other social media, we conducted an online survey by snowball sampling. Spearman's non-parametric method was used to analyze the correlation related to mental health problems and health-related behaviors. Besides, we used binary logistic regression analyses to examine mental health problems and health-related behaviors' predictors. We performed SPSS macro PROCESS (model 4 and model 6) to analyze mediation relationships between exposure to health education videos and depression/anxiety/health-related behaviors. These models were regarded as exploratory. RESULTS: Binary logistic regression analyses indicated that people who watched the health education videos were more likely to wear masks (OR 1.15, p < 0.001), disinfect (OR 1.26, p < 0.001), and take temperature (OR 1.37, p < 0.001). With higher level of posttraumatic growth (PTG) or perceived social support (PSS), people had lower percentage of depression (For PSS, OR 0.98, p < 0.001; For PTG, OR 0.98, p < 0.01) and anxiety (For PSS, OR 0.98, p < 0.001; For PTG, OR 0.98, p = 0.01) and better health behaviors. The serial multiple-mediation model supported the positive indirect effects of exposure to health education videos on the depression and three health-related behaviors through PSS and PTG (Depression: B[SE] = - 0.0046 [0.0021], 95% CI - 0.0098, - 0.0012; Mask-wearing: B[SE] = 0.0051 [0.0023], 95% CI 0.0015, 0.0010; Disinfection: B[SE] = 0.0059 [0.0024], 95% CI 0.0024, 0.0012; Temperature-taking: B[SE] = 0.0067 [0.0026], 95% CI 0.0023, 0.0013). CONCLUSION: Exposure to health education videos can improve people's self-perceived social support and inner growth and help them cope with the adverse impact of public health emergencies with better mental health and health-related behaviors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Health Behavior , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Public Health/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , China , Female , Health Education/methods , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Social Support , Young Adult
5.
Int J Hyg Environ Health ; 235: 113756, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1230517

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Schools, depending on their access to and quality of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and the implementation of healthy behaviours, can be critical for the control and spread of many infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Schools provide opportunities for pupils to learn about the importance of hygiene and WASH-related practice, and build healthy habits and skills, with beneficial medium- and long-term consequences particularly in low- and middle-income countries: reducing pupils' absenteeism due to diseases, promoting physical, mental and social health, and improving learning outcomes. WASH services alone are often not sufficient and need to be combined with educational programmes. As pupils disseminate their acquired health-promoting knowledge to their (extended) families, improved WASH provisions and education in schools have beneficial effects also on the community. International organisations frequently roll out interventions in schools to improve WASH services and, in some cases, train pupils and teachers on safe WASH behaviours. How such interventions relate to local school education on WASH, health promotion and disease prevention knowledge, whether and how such knowledge and school books are integrated into WASH education interventions in schools, are knowledge gaps we fill. METHODS: We analyzed how Kenyan primary school science text book content supports WASH and health education by a book review including books used from class 1 through class 8, covering the age range from 6 to 13 years. We then conducted a rapid literature review of combined WASH interventions that included a behaviour change or educational component, and a rapid review of international policy guidance documents to contextualise the results and understand the relevance of books and school education for WASH interventions implemented by international organisations. We conducted a content analysis based on five identified thematic categories, including drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, environmental hygiene & health promotion and disease risks, and mapped over time the knowledge about WASH and disease prevention. RESULTS: The books comprehensively address drinking water issues, including sources, quality, treatment, safe storage and water conservation; risks and transmission pathways of various waterborne (Cholera, Typhoid fever), water-based (Bilharzia), vector-related (Malaria) and other communicable diseases (Tuberculosis); and the importance of environmental hygiene and health promotion. The content is broadly in line with internationally recommended WASH topics and learning objectives. Gaps remain on personal hygiene and handwashing, including menstrual hygiene, sanitation education, and related health risks and disease exposures. The depth of content varies greatly over time and across the different classes. Such locally available education materials already used in schools were considered by none of the WASH education interventions in the considered intervention studies. CONCLUSIONS: The thematic gaps/under-representations in books that we identified, namely sanitation, hygiene and menstrual hygiene education, are all high on the international WASH agenda, and need to be filled especially now, in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Disconnects exist between school book knowledge and WASH education interventions, between policy and implementation, and between theory and practice, revealing missed opportunities for effective and sustainable behaviour change, and underlining the need for better integration. Considering existing local educational materials and knowledge may facilitate the buy-in and involvement of teachers and school managers in strengthening education and implementing improvements. We suggest opportunities for future research, behaviour change interventions and decision-making to improve WASH in schools.


Subject(s)
Drinking Water/standards , Health Education , Hygiene/standards , Sanitation/standards , Adolescent , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Communicable Diseases/transmission , Curriculum/statistics & numerical data , Hand Disinfection/standards , Health Behavior , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Health Promotion , Humans , Kenya , Schools , Textbooks as Topic
6.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(4): e26331, 2021 04 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1183771

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the current era of widespread access to the internet, we can monitor public interest in a topic via information-targeted web browsing. We sought to provide direct proof of the global population's altered use of Wikipedia medical knowledge resulting from the new COVID-19 pandemic and related global restrictions. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify temporal search trends and quantify changes in access to Wikipedia Medicine Project articles that were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of medical articles across nine language versions of Wikipedia and country-specific statistics for registered COVID-19 deaths. The observed patterns were compared to a forecast model of Wikipedia use, which was trained on data from 2015 to 2019. The model comprehensively analyzed specific articles and similarities between access count data from before (ie, several years prior) and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wikipedia articles that were linked to those directly associated with the pandemic were evaluated in terms of degrees of separation and analyzed to identify similarities in access counts. We assessed the correlation between article access counts and the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases and deaths to identify factors that drove interest in these articles and shifts in public interest during the subsequent phases of the pandemic. RESULTS: We observed a significant (P<.001) increase in the number of entries on Wikipedia medical articles during the pandemic period. The increased interest in COVID-19-related articles temporally correlated with the number of global COVID-19 deaths and consistently correlated with the number of region-specific COVID-19 deaths. Articles with low degrees of separation were significantly similar (P<.001) in terms of access patterns that were indicative of information-seeking patterns. CONCLUSIONS: The analysis of Wikipedia medical article popularity could be a viable method for epidemiologic surveillance, as it provides important information about the reasons behind public attention and factors that sustain public interest in the long term. Moreover, Wikipedia users can potentially be directed to credible and valuable information sources that are linked with the most prominent articles.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Behavior , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Internet/statistics & numerical data , Language , Medicine , COVID-19/mortality , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , Public Opinion , Retrospective Studies
7.
J Surg Res ; 264: 469-473, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1174400

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Stop the Bleed (STB) campaign was developed in part to educate the lay public about hemorrhage control techniques aimed at reducing preventable trauma deaths. Studies have shown this training increases bystanders' confidence and willingness to provide aid. One high-risk group might be better solicited to take the course: individuals who have been a victim of previous trauma, as high rates of recidivism after trauma are well-established. Given this group's risk for recurrent injury, we evaluated their attitudes toward STB concepts. METHODS: We surveyed trauma patients admitted to 3 urban trauma centers in Baltimore from January 8, 2020 to March 14, 2020. The survey was terminated prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trauma patients hospitalized on any inpatient unit were invited to complete the survey via an electronic tablet. The survey asked about demographics, prior exposure to life-threatening hemorrhage and first aid training, and willingness to help a person with major bleeding. The Johns Hopkins IRB approved waiver of consent for this study. RESULTS: Fifty-six patients completed the survey. The majority of respondents had been hospitalized before (92.9%) and had witnessed severe bleeding (60.7%). The majority had never taken a first aid course (60.7%) nor heard of STB (83.9%). Most respondents would be willing to help someone with severe bleeding form a car crash (98.2%) or gunshot wound (94.6%). CONCLUSIONS: Most patients admitted for trauma had not heard about Stop the Bleed, but stated willingness to respond to someone injured with major bleeding. Focusing STB education on individuals at high-risk for trauma recidivism may be particularly effective in spreading the message and skills of STB.


Subject(s)
First Aid/methods , Health Education/methods , Hemorrhage/therapy , Hemostatic Techniques , Wounds and Injuries/therapy , Accidents, Traffic , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Baltimore , Cohort Studies , Female , Firearms , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Hemorrhage/diagnosis , Hemorrhage/etiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Severity of Illness Index , Surveys and Questionnaires/statistics & numerical data , Wounds and Injuries/complications , Wounds and Injuries/diagnosis , Young Adult
8.
Med Sci Monit ; 27: e929280, 2021 Apr 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1171226

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND In addition to sociodemographic and COVID-19- related factors, the needs of school support, including material, psychological and information support, have seldom been discussed as factors influencing anxiety and depression among college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. MATERIAL AND METHODS In this cross-sectional study, 3351 college students from China were surveyed through questionnaires about their sociodemographic and COVID-19 characteristics, the needs of school support, and their experiences with anxiety and depression. RESULTS Anxiety and depression were reported by 6.88% and 10.50% of students, respectively. Married, higher education, non-medical, and urban students had significantly higher risks of anxiety or depression. Additionally, symptoms such as cough and fever, especially when following a possible contact with suspected individuals, quarantine history of a personal contact, going out 1-3 times a week, not wearing a mask, and spending 2-3 hours browsing COVID-19-related information were significantly associated with the occurrence of anxiety or depression. Those who used methods to regulate their emotional state, used a psychological hotline, and who had visited a psychiatrist showed higher anxiety or depression. Those who used online curricula and books, used preventive methods for COVID-19, and who had real-time information about the epidemic situation of the school showed lower anxiety and depression. CONCLUSIONS In addition to sociodemographic and COVID-19-related aspects, students' needs for psychological assistance and information from schools were also associated with anxiety and depression among college students.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Depression/epidemiology , Schools/organization & administration , Students/psychology , Adolescent , Adult , Anxiety/prevention & control , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , China/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/standards , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/prevention & control , Depression/psychology , Female , Financial Support , Health Education/organization & administration , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Hotlines/organization & administration , Hotlines/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Information Dissemination , Male , Mental Health , Pandemics/prevention & control , Prevalence , Psychosocial Support Systems , Schools/economics , Schools/standards , Socioeconomic Factors , Students/statistics & numerical data , Surveys and Questionnaires/statistics & numerical data , Young Adult
10.
Am J Public Health ; 111(3): 475-484, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1140576

ABSTRACT

Objectives. To improve understanding of the future public health workforce by analyzing first-destination employment outcomes of public health graduates.Methods. We assessed graduate outcomes for those graduating in 2015-2018 using descriptive statistics and the Pearson χ2 test.Results. In our analysis of data on 53 463 graduates, we found that 73% were employed; 15% enrolled in further education; 5% entered a fellowship, internship, residency, volunteer, or service program; and 6% were not employed. Employed graduates went to work in health care (27%), corporations (24%), academia (19%), government (17%), nonprofit (12%), and other sectors (1%). In 2018, 9% of bachelor's, 4% of master's, and 2% of doctoral graduates were not employed but seeking employment.Conclusions. Today's public health graduates are successful in finding employment in various sectors. This new workforce may expand public health's reach and lead to healthier communities overall.Public Health Implications. With predicted shortages in the governmental public health workforce and expanding hiring because of COVID-19, policymakers need to work to ensure the supply of public health graduates meets the demands of the workforce.


Subject(s)
Education, Public Health Professional/statistics & numerical data , Employment/statistics & numerical data , Health Workforce/statistics & numerical data , Education, Graduate/statistics & numerical data , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Health Policy , Humans
11.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(4): e26331, 2021 04 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1122483

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the current era of widespread access to the internet, we can monitor public interest in a topic via information-targeted web browsing. We sought to provide direct proof of the global population's altered use of Wikipedia medical knowledge resulting from the new COVID-19 pandemic and related global restrictions. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to identify temporal search trends and quantify changes in access to Wikipedia Medicine Project articles that were related to the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of medical articles across nine language versions of Wikipedia and country-specific statistics for registered COVID-19 deaths. The observed patterns were compared to a forecast model of Wikipedia use, which was trained on data from 2015 to 2019. The model comprehensively analyzed specific articles and similarities between access count data from before (ie, several years prior) and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wikipedia articles that were linked to those directly associated with the pandemic were evaluated in terms of degrees of separation and analyzed to identify similarities in access counts. We assessed the correlation between article access counts and the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases and deaths to identify factors that drove interest in these articles and shifts in public interest during the subsequent phases of the pandemic. RESULTS: We observed a significant (P<.001) increase in the number of entries on Wikipedia medical articles during the pandemic period. The increased interest in COVID-19-related articles temporally correlated with the number of global COVID-19 deaths and consistently correlated with the number of region-specific COVID-19 deaths. Articles with low degrees of separation were significantly similar (P<.001) in terms of access patterns that were indicative of information-seeking patterns. CONCLUSIONS: The analysis of Wikipedia medical article popularity could be a viable method for epidemiologic surveillance, as it provides important information about the reasons behind public attention and factors that sustain public interest in the long term. Moreover, Wikipedia users can potentially be directed to credible and valuable information sources that are linked with the most prominent articles.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Behavior , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Internet/statistics & numerical data , Language , Medicine , COVID-19/mortality , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , Public Opinion , Retrospective Studies
12.
J Med Syst ; 45(4): 50, 2021 Mar 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1118252

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic changed expectations for information dissemination and use around the globe, challenging accepted models of communications, leadership, and social systems. We explore how social media discourse about COVID-19 in Italy was affected by the rapid spread of the virus, and how themes in postings changed with the adoption of social distancing measures and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI). We used topic modeling and social network analysis to highlight critical dimensions of conversations around COVID-19: 1) topics in social media postings about the Coronavirus; 2) the scope and reach of social networks; and 3) changes in social media content as the nation moved from partial to full social distancing. Twitter messages sent in Italy between February 11th and March 10th, 2020. 74,306 Tweets sent by institutions, news sources, elected officials, scientists and social media influencers. Messages were retweeted more than 1.2 million times globally. Non-parametric chi-square statistic with residual analysis to identify categories, chi-square test for linear trend, and Social Network Graphing. The first phase of the pandemic was dominated by social media influencers, followed by a focus on the economic consequences of the virus and placing blame on immigrants. As the crisis deepened, science-based themes began to predominate, with a focus on reducing the spread of the virus through physical distancing and business closures Our findings highlight the importance of messaging in social media in gaining the public's trust and engagement during a pandemic. This requires credible scientific voices to garner public support for effective mitigation. Fighting the spread of an infectious disease goes hand in hand with stemming the dissemination of lies, bad science, and misdirection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Communication/methods , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Mass Media/statistics & numerical data , Physical Distancing , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Italy , Public Health , Public Opinion , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Social Networking
13.
Acad Med ; 96(6): 795-797, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1006108

ABSTRACT

Global health and its predecessors, tropical medicine and international health, have historically been driven by the agendas of institutions in high-income countries (HICs), with power dynamics that have disadvantaged partner institutions in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Since the 2000s, however, the academic global health community has been moving toward a focus on health equity and reexamining the dynamics of global health education (GHE) partnerships. Whereas GHE partnerships have largely focused on providing opportunities for learners from HIC institutions, LMIC institutions are now seeking more equitable experiences for their trainees. Additionally, lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic underscore already important lessons about the value of bidirectional educational exchange, as regions gain new insights from one another regarding strategies to impact health outcomes. Interruptions in experiential GHE programs due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions provide an opportunity to reflect on existing GHE systems, to consider the opportunities and dynamics of these partnerships, and to redesign these systems for the equitable benefit of the various partners. In this commentary, the authors offer recommendations for beginning this process of change, with an emphasis on restructuring GHE relationships and addressing supremacist attitudes at both the systemic and individual levels.


Subject(s)
Developing Countries/economics , Global Health/education , Health Equity/statistics & numerical data , Training Support/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Developing Countries/statistics & numerical data , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Health Equity/trends , Humans , Interdisciplinary Communication , International Cooperation , Leadership , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
14.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(11): e21099, 2020 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-982919

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Great efforts have been made to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including national initiatives to promote the change of personal behaviors. The lessons learned from the 2003 SARS outbreak indicate that knowledge and attitudes about infectious diseases are related to panic among the population, which may further complicate efforts to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Misunderstandings may result in behaviors such as underestimation, panic, and taking ineffective measures to avoid infection; these behaviors are likely to cause the epidemic to spread further. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to assess public health perceptions and misunderstandings about COVID-19 in China, and to propose targeted response measures based on the findings to control the development of the epidemic. METHODS: The study was conducted in April 2020 through an online survey, with participants in 8 provinces in Eastern, Central, and Western China. We designed a questionnaire with a health knowledge section consisting of 5 questions (4 conventional questions and 1 misleading question) on clinical features of and preventive measures against COVID-19. Descriptive statistics, chi-square analysis, binary logistic regression, and Mantel-Haenszel hierarchical analysis were used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: In total, 4788 participants completed the survey and the mean knowledge score was 4.63 (SD 0.67), gained mainly through experts (76.1%), television (60.0%), newspapers (57.9%), and opinions (46.6%) and videos (42.9%) from social media. Compared to those who obtained information from only 1 or 2 channels, people who obtained information from >3 channels had increased health perception and a better ability to identify misleading information. Suggestions from experts were the most positive information source (χ2=41.61), while information on social media was the most misleading. Those aged >60 years (OR 1.52, 95% CI 1.10-2.11), those with a lower or middle income (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.00-1.83), those not working and not able to work (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.04-3.21), those with a household income <100,000 RMB (2 suspected symptoms (OR 2.95, 95% CI 1.50-5.80) were more likely to be misled by videos on social media, but the error correction effect of expert advice was limited in these groups. CONCLUSIONS: Multiple information channels can improve public health perception and the identification of misleading information during the COVID-19 pandemic. Videos on social media increased the risk of rumor propagation among vulnerable groups. We suggest the government should strengthen social media regulation and increase experts' influence on the targeted vulnerable populations to reduce the risk of rumors spreading.


Subject(s)
Communication , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Internet , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Surveys and Questionnaires , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Child , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Media , Young Adult
15.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(11): e22407, 2020 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-979790

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The internet is a well-known source of information that patients use to better inform their opinions and to guide their conversations with physicians during clinic visits. The novelty of the recent COVID-19 outbreak has led patients to turn more frequently to the internet to gather more information and to alleviate their concerns about the virus. OBJECTIVE: The aims of the study were to (1) determine the most commonly searched phrases related to COVID-19 in the United States and (2) identify the sources of information for these web searches. METHODS: Search terms related to COVID-19 were entered into Google. Questions and websites from Google web search were extracted to a database using customized software. Each question was categorized into one of 6 topics: clinical signs and symptoms, treatment, transmission, cleaning methods, activity modification, and policy. Additionally, the websites were categorized according to source: World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), non-CDC government, academic, news, and other media. RESULTS: In total, 200 questions and websites were extracted. The most common question topic was transmission (n=63, 31.5%), followed by clinical signs and symptoms (n=54, 27.0%) and activity modification (n=31, 15.5%). Notably, the clinical signs and symptoms category captured questions about myths associated with the disease, such as whether consuming alcohol stops the coronavirus. The most common websites provided were maintained by the CDC, the WHO, and academic medical organizations. Collectively, these three sources accounted for 84.0% (n=168) of the websites in our sample. CONCLUSIONS: In the United States, the most commonly searched topics related to COVID-19 were transmission, clinical signs and symptoms, and activity modification. Reassuringly, a sizable majority of internet sources provided were from major health organizations or from academic medical institutions.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Internet/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Search Engine/statistics & numerical data , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
16.
J Community Health ; 46(2): 245-250, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-891910

ABSTRACT

As with other countries globally, Rwanda has faced a recent outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) against a backdrop of an HIV epidemic. At present, there is no successful cure or vaccine for both COVID-19 and HIV. People with underlying conditions, including HIV, are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 manifestations. This underscores the need to enhance the knowledge, attitudes, and practice of people living with HIV (PLWH) to protect this population against COVID-19. An institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted from August 31 to September 18, 2020 among 376 participants who were selected by a simple random sampling technique. A pretested and structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. Quality scores were calculated as a measure of the participants' knowledge, attitudes, and practice (KAP) levels. The student t-test was used to compare continuous variables between low (<65%) and high (≥65%) KAP scores. The chi-square test was used to determine the association between KAP scores and categorical variables. All decisions on statistical tests were concluded at 5% level of significance. All statistical analysis was performed using STATA statistical package version 11.2 (STATA Corp., Texas, USA). Of the 376 participants, 363 (97%) obtained a high knowledge score, while more than a quarter of the participants (26%) had a poor attitude score, and the majority (90%) having a high practice score. There was no association between gender, age, place of residence, employment, or duration on ART and knowledge score. Employment status and duration on antiretroviral treatment (ART) were significantly associated with attitude scores (p = 0.004 and p = 0.013, respectively). Gender and duration on ART were significantly associated with practice scores (p = 0.02 and p = 0.012, respectively). There was a moderate positive correlation (r = 0.57) between knowledge and attitude scores, and knowledge and practice scores (r = 0.55). There was a strong positive correlation (r = 0.67) between attitude scores and practice scores. Health education programs tailored for PLWH and aimed at mobilizing and improving COVID-19-related knowledge, attitude, and practice should be prioritized in the Rwandan COVID-19 response.


Subject(s)
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/psychology , COVID-19/psychology , Employment/statistics & numerical data , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/epidemiology , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Epidemics , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Rwanda , Surveys and Questionnaires
17.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(10): e19791, 2020 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-892413

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The ongoing pandemic has placed an unprecedented strain on global society, health care, governments, and mass media. Public dissemination of government policies, medical interventions, and misinformation has been remarkably rapid and largely unregulated during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in increased misinterpretations, miscommunication, and public panic. Being the first full-scale global pandemic of the digital age, COVID-19 has presented novel challenges pertinent to government advice, the spread of news and misinformation, and the trade-off between the accessibility of science and the premature public use of unproven medical interventions. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess the use of internet search terms relating to COVID-19 information and misinformation during the global pandemic, identify which were most used in six affected countries, investigate any temporal trends and the likely propagators of key search terms, and determine any correlation between the per capita cases and deaths with the adoption of these search terms in each of the six countries. METHODS: This study uses relative search volume data extracted from Google Trends for search terms linked to the COVID-19 pandemic alongside per capita case and mortality data extracted from the European Open Data Portal to identify the temporal dynamics of the spread of news and misinformation during the global pandemic in six affected countries (Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States). A correlation analysis was carried out to ascertain any correlation between the temporal trends of search term use and the rise of per capita mortality and disease cases. RESULTS: Of the selected search terms, most were searched immediately following promotion by governments, public figures, or viral circulation of information, but also in relation to the publication of scientific resources, which were sometimes misinterpreted before further dissemination. Strong correlations were identified between the volume of these COVID-19-related search terms (overall mean Spearman rho 0.753, SD 0.158), and per capita mortality (mean per capita deaths Spearman rho 0.690, SD 0.168) and cases (mean per capita cases Spearman rho 0.800, SD 0.112). CONCLUSIONS: These findings illustrate the increased rate and volume of the public consumption of novel information during a global health care crisis. The positive correlation between mortality and online searching, particularly in countries with lower COVID-19 testing rates, may demonstrate the imperative to safeguard official communications and dispel misinformation in these countries. Online news, government briefings, and social media provide a powerful tool for the dissemination of important information to the public during pandemics, but their misuse and the presentation of misrepresented medical information should be monitored, minimized, and addressed to safeguard public safety. Ultimately, governments, public health authorities, and scientists have a moral imperative to safeguard the truth and maintain an accessible discourse with the public to limit fear.


Subject(s)
Communication , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Internationality , Internet , Mass Media/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Global Health , Health Education/standards , Humans , Pandemics , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Media
18.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(9): e19913, 2020 09 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-771643

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Social media is one of the most rapid and impactful ways of obtaining and delivering information in the modern era. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to rapidly obtain information on public perceptions, knowledge, and behaviors related to COVID-19 in order to identify deficiencies in key areas of public education. METHODS: Using a cross-sectional study design, a survey web link was posted on the social media and messaging platforms Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp by the study investigators. Participants, aged ≥18 years, filled out the survey on a voluntary basis. The main outcomes measured were knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms, protective measures against COVID-19, and source(s) of information about COVID-19. Subgroup analyses were conducted to determine the effects of age, gender, underlying illness, and working or studying in the health care industry on the perceived likelihood of acquiring COVID-19 and getting vaccinated. RESULTS: A total of 5677 subjects completed the survey over the course of 1 week. "Fever or chills" (n=4973, 87.6%) and "shortness of breath" (n=4695, 82.7%) were identified as the main symptoms of COVID-19. Washing and sanitizing hands (n=4990, 87.9%) and avoiding public places and crowds (n=4865, 85.7%) were identified as the protective measures most frequently used against COVID-19. Social media was the most utilized source for information on the disease (n=4740, 83.5%), followed by the World Health Organization (n=2844, 50.1%). Subgroup analysis revealed that younger subjects (<35 years), males, and those working or studying in health care reported a higher perceived likelihood of acquiring COVID-19, whereas older subjects, females, and those working or studying in non-health care areas reported a lower perceived likelihood of acquiring COVID-19. Similar trends were observed for vaccination against COVID-19, with older subjects, females, and those working or studying in non-health care sectors reporting a lower likelihood of vaccinating against COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: Our results are indicative of a relatively well-informed cohort implementing appropriate protective measures. However, key knowledge deficiencies exist with regards to vaccination against COVID-19, which future efforts should aim at correcting.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Social Media , Surveys and Questionnaires , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Vaccination , Volunteers , Young Adult
19.
J Med Internet Res ; 22(8): e19551, 2020 08 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-697089

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has become a global threat to human health. Internet hospitals have emerged as a critical technology to bring epidemic-related web-based services and medical support to the public. However, only a few very recent scientific literature reports have explored the effects of internet hospitals on psychological burden and disease knowledge in major public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore the role of internet hospitals in relieving psychological burden and increasing disease knowledge during the early outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: This survey was conducted from January 26 to February 1, 2020, during the early outbreak of COVID-19 in China. The platform used for the consultation was the WeChat public account of our hospital. To participate in the study, the patient was required to answer a list of questions to exclude the possibility of COVID-19 infection and confirm their willingness to participate voluntarily. Next, the participant was directed to complete the self-report questionnaire. After the internet consultation, the participant was directed to complete the self-report questionnaire again. The questionnaire included sections on general information, the General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28), and the participant's worries, disease knowledge, and need for hospital treatment. RESULTS: The total number of internet consultations was 4120. The consultation topics mainly included respiratory symptoms such as cough, expectoration, and fever (2489/4120, 60.4%) and disease knowledge, anxiety, and fear (1023/4120, 24.8%). A total of 1530 people filled out the questionnaires before and after the internet consultation. Of these people, 1398/1530 (91.4%) experienced psychological stress before the internet consultation, which significantly decreased after consultation (260/1530, 17.0%) (χ21=1704.8, P<.001). There was no significant difference in the number of people who expressed concern about the COVID-19 pandemic before and after the internet consultation (χ21=0.7, P=.43). However, the degree of concern after the internet consultation was significantly alleviated (t2699=90.638, P<.001). The main worries before and after consultation were the dangers posed by the disease and the risk of infection of family members. The scores of the self-assessment risk after the internet consultation were significantly lower than those before consultation (t3058=95.694, P<.001). After the consultation, the participants' knowledge of the symptoms, transmission routes, and preventive measures of COVID-19 was significantly higher than before the consultation (t3058=-106.105, -80.456, and -152.605, respectively; all P<.001). The hospital treatment need score after the internet consultation decreased from 3.3 (SD 1.2) to 1.6 (SD 0.8), and the difference was statistically significant (t3058=45.765, P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: During the early outbreak of COVID-19, internet hospitals could help relieve psychological burdens and increase disease awareness through timely and rapid spread of knowledge regarding COVID-19 prevention and control. Internet hospitals should be an important aspect of a new medical model in public health emergency systems.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Hospitals , Internet , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Referral and Consultation/statistics & numerical data , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , Telemedicine , Adult , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/psychology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/psychology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
20.
Vaccine ; 38(34): 5430-5435, 2020 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-613549

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Health-seeking behaviors change during pandemics and may increase with regard to illnesses with symptoms similar to the pandemic. The global reaction to COVID-19 may drive interest in vaccines for other diseases. OBJECTIVES: Our study investigated the correlation between global online interest in COVID-19 and interest in CDC-recommended routine vaccines. DESIGN, SETTINGS, MEASUREMENTS: This infodemiology study used Google Trends data to quantify worldwide interest in COVID-19 and CDC-recommended vaccines using the unit search volume index (SVI), which estimates volume of online search activity relative to highest volume of searches within a specified period. SVIs from December 30, 2019 to March 30, 2020 were collected for "coronavirus (Virus)" and compared with SVIs of search terms related to CDC-recommended adult vaccines. To account for seasonal variation, we compared SVIs from December 30, 2019 to March 30, 2020 with SVIs from the same months in 2015 to 2019. We performed country-level analyses in ten COVID-19 hotspots and ten countries with low disease burden. RESULTS: There were significant positive correlations between SVIs for "coronavirus (Virus)" and search terms for pneumococcal (R = 0.89, p < 0.0001) and influenza vaccines (R = 0.93, p < 0.0001) in 2020, which were greater than SVIs for the same terms in 2015-2019 (p = 0.005, p < 0.0001, respectively). Eight in ten COVID-19 hotspots demonstrated significant positive correlations between SVIs for coronavirus and search terms for pneumococcal and influenza vaccines. LIMITATIONS: SVIs estimate relative changes in online interest and do not represent the interest of people with no Internet access. CONCLUSION: A peak in worldwide interest in pneumococcal and influenza vaccines coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic in February and March 2020. Trends are likely not seasonal in origin and may be driven by COVID-19 hotspots. Global events may change public perception about the importance of vaccines. Our findings may herald higher demand for pneumonia and influenza vaccines in the upcoming season.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Influenza Vaccines , Information Storage and Retrieval/statistics & numerical data , Internet , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumococcal Vaccines , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Viral Vaccines , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. , Health Education/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Search Engine/statistics & numerical data , United States
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