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1.
Arq. ciências saúde UNIPAR ; 26(3): 395-409, set-dez. 2022.
Article in Portuguese | WHO COVID, LILACS (Americas) | ID: covidwho-2205390

ABSTRACT

O presente trabalho traz o relato de experiência da criação de um perfil no Instagram, realizado pela Câmara de Ensino, Pesquisa e Extensão (CENPEX) da Faculdade Ciências da Vida (FCV) de Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, como meio de disseminar informações científicas ao público interno e externo à FCV. Diante da impossibilidade de se realizar atividades extensionistas no formato presencial, devido à pandemia da Covid-19, o ensino da FCV foi interrompido de modo presencial em março de 2020 e passou a ser remoto. Desta forma, foi criado, pela CENPEX, um projeto de extensão e pesquisa voltado para divulgação científica nas redes sociais envolvendo temáticas na área de saúde, meio ambiente, sustentabilidade e direitos humanos. O grupo de extensão e pesquisa, composto por professores e pesquisadores da FCV, selecionou alunos de diferentes cursos da faculdade e os direcionou à criação de um perfil no Instagram denominado @cenpexfcv que passou a ter o papel principal de difundir informações científicas confiáveis. O objetivo foi de conscientizar a população em geral no entendimento de diferentes temáticas relacionadas especialmente à Covid- 19, em virtude da pandemia, de modo a combater fake news. O perfil disponibiliza posts, animações, informativos, folders, enquetes e lives com profissionais especialistas, que buscam sanar as dúvidas dos seguidores. Ao longo dos oito meses de projetos, já foram montadas 94 formas interativas de divulgação, que, quantitativamente, tem mostrado o crescimento no engajamento, considerado como um aspecto positivo do projeto. Dessa forma, pode-se inferir que o uso de mídias sociais, como o Instagram, quando utilizada de forma direcionada e com informações fidedignas, podem contribuir efetivamente para o desenvolvimento da divulgação científica.


This work presents an experience report of the creation of a profile on Instagram, carried out by the Chamber of Teaching, Research and Extension (CENPEX) of the Faculdade Ciências da Vida (FCV) at Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, as a means of disseminating scientific information to the internal and external public to FCV. Faced with the impossibility of carrying out extension activities in in-campus format, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the face-to-face teaching of FCV was interrupted in March 2020 and became remote. In this way, CENPEX created an extension and research project aimed at scientific dissemination on social networks involving themes in the area of health, environment, sustainability and human rights. The extension and research group, made up of FCV professors and researchers, selected students from different courses at the faculty and directed them to create an Instagram profile called @cenpexfcv, which took on the main role of disseminating reliable scientific information. The objective was to raise the awareness of the general population in understanding different issues related especially to Covid-19, due to the pandemic, in order to combat fake news. The profile provides posts, animations, newsletters, folders, polls and lives with specialist professionals, who seek to resolve the doubts of the followers. Over the eight months of the project, 94 interactive forms of dissemination have already been set up, which, quantitatively, have shown the growth in engagement, considered as a positive aspect of the project. Thus, it can be inferred that the use of social media, such as Instagram, when used in a targeted way and with reliable information, can effectively contribute to the development of scientific dissemination.


Este trabajo trae el informe de la experiencia de la creación de un perfil en Instagram, realizado por la Cámara de Enseñanza, Investigación y Extensión (CENPEX) de la Facultad de Ciencias de la Vida (FCV) de Sete Lagoas, Minas Gerais, como medio de difusión de información científica al público interno y externo a la FCV. Ante la imposibilidad de realizar actividades de extensión en formato presencial, debido a la pandemia del Covid-19, la enseñanza en la FCV se interrumpió en modalidad presencial en marzo de 2020 y pasó a ser a distancia. Así, se creó, por parte del CENPEX, un proyecto de extensión e investigación enfocado a la divulgación científica en redes sociales que involucra temas en el área de salud, medio ambiente, sostenibilidad y derechos humanos. El grupo de extensión e investigación, compuesto por profesores e investigadores de la FCV, seleccionó a estudiantes de diferentes cursos de la facultad y los orientó a la creación de un perfil en Instagram llamado @cenpexfcv que comenzó a tener como función principal la difusión de información científica confiable. El objetivo era sensibilizar a la población en general en la comprensión de diferentes temas relacionados especialmente con Covid-19, debido a la pandemia, para combatir las fake news. El perfil ofrece posts, animaciones, boletines, carpetas, encuestas y vidas con expertos profesionales, que buscan responder a las preguntas de los seguidores. A lo largo de los ocho meses de proyecto, ya se han reunido 94 formas interactivas de difusión, lo que, cuantitativamente, ha demostrado el crecimiento del compromiso, considerado como un aspecto positivo del proyecto. Por lo tanto, se puede deducir que el uso de las redes sociales, como Instagram, cuando se utiliza de forma selectiva y con información fiable, puede contribuir eficazmente al desarrollo de la divulgación científica.


Subject(s)
Information Dissemination , Pandemics , COVID-19 , Disinformation , Universities , Education, Distance , Projects , Scientific and Technical Activities , Social Networking , Social Media
2.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(12): e33617, 2021 12 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197999

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 (the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus) pandemic has underscored the need for additional data, tools, and methods that can be used to combat emerging and existing public health concerns. Since March 2020, there has been substantial interest in using social media data to both understand and intervene in the pandemic. Researchers from many disciplines have recently found a relationship between COVID-19 and a new data set from Facebook called the Social Connectedness Index (SCI). OBJECTIVE: Building off this work, we seek to use the SCI to examine how social similarity of Missouri counties could explain similarities of COVID-19 cases over time. Additionally, we aim to add to the body of literature on the utility of the SCI by using a novel modeling technique. METHODS: In September 2020, we conducted this cross-sectional study using publicly available data to test the association between the SCI and COVID-19 spread in Missouri using exponential random graph models, which model relational data, and the outcome variable must be binary, representing the presence or absence of a relationship. In our model, this was the presence or absence of a highly correlated COVID-19 case count trajectory between two given counties in Missouri. Covariates included each county's total population, percent rurality, and distance between each county pair. RESULTS: We found that all covariates were significantly associated with two counties having highly correlated COVID-19 case count trajectories. As the log of a county's total population increased, the odds of two counties having highly correlated COVID-19 case count trajectories increased by 66% (odds ratio [OR] 1.66, 95% CI 1.43-1.92). As the percent of a county classified as rural increased, the odds of two counties having highly correlated COVID-19 case count trajectories increased by 1% (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.01). As the distance (in miles) between two counties increased, the odds of two counties having highly correlated COVID-19 case count trajectories decreased by 43% (OR 0.57, 95% CI 0.43-0.77). Lastly, as the log of the SCI between two Missouri counties increased, the odds of those two counties having highly correlated COVID-19 case count trajectories significantly increased by 17% (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.09-1.26). CONCLUSIONS: These results could suggest that two counties with a greater likelihood of sharing Facebook friendships means residents of those counties have a higher likelihood of sharing similar belief systems, in particular as they relate to COVID-19 and public health practices. Another possibility is that the SCI is picking up travel or movement data among county residents. This suggests the SCI is capturing a unique phenomenon relevant to COVID-19 and that it may be worth adding to other COVID-19 models. Additional research is needed to better understand what the SCI is capturing practically and what it means for public health policies and prevention practices.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
3.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(11): e29600, 2021 11 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197930

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although government agencies acknowledge that messages about the adverse health effects of e-cigarette use should be promoted on social media, effectively delivering those health messages is challenging. Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms among US youth and young adults, and it has been used to educate the public about the potential harm of vaping through antivaping posts. OBJECTIVE: We aim to analyze the characteristics of and user engagement with antivaping posts on Instagram to inform future message development and information delivery. METHODS: A total of 11,322 Instagram posts were collected from November 18, 2019, to January 2, 2020, by using antivaping hashtags including #novape, #novaping, #stopvaping, #dontvape, #antivaping, #quitvaping, #antivape, #stopjuuling, #dontvapeonthepizza, and #escapethevape. Among those posts, 1025 posts were randomly selected and 500 antivaping posts were further identified by hand coding. The image type, image content, and account type of antivaping posts were hand coded, the text information in the caption was explored by topic modeling, and the user engagement of each category was compared. RESULTS: Analyses found that antivaping images of the educational/warning type were the most common (253/500; 50.6%). The average likes of the educational/warning type (15 likes/post) were significantly lower than the catchphrase image type (these emphasized a slogan such as "athletesdontvape" in the image; 32.5 likes/post; P<.001). The majority of the antivaping posts contained the image content element text (n=332, 66.4%), followed by the image content element people/person (n=110, 22%). The images containing people/person elements (32.8 likes/post) had more likes than the images containing other elements (13.8-21.1 likes/post). The captions of the antivaping Instagram posts covered topics including "lung health," "teen vaping," "stop vaping," and "vaping death cases." Among the 500 antivaping Instagram posts, while most posts were from the antivaping community (n=177, 35.4%) and personal account types (n=182, 36.4%), the antivaping community account type had the highest average number of posts (1.69 posts/account). However, there was no difference in the number of likes among different account types. CONCLUSIONS: Multiple features of antivaping Instagram posts may be related to user engagement and perception. This study identified the critical elements associated with high user engagement, which could be used to design antivaping posts to deliver health-related information more efficiently.


Subject(s)
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems , Social Media , Vaping , Adolescent , Emotions , Humans , Young Adult
4.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(6): e29528, 2021 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197929

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 testing remains an essential element of a comprehensive strategy for community mitigation. Social media is a popular source of information about health, including COVID-19 and testing information. One of the most popular communication channels used by adolescents and young adults who search for health information is TikTok-an emerging social media platform. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe TikTok videos related to COVID-19 testing. METHODS: The hashtag #covidtesting was searched, and the first 100 videos were included in the study sample. At the time the sample was drawn, these 100 videos garnered more than 50% of the views for all videos cataloged under the hashtag #covidtesting. The content characteristics that were coded included mentions, displays, or suggestions of anxiety, COVID-19 symptoms, quarantine, types of tests, results of test, and disgust/unpleasantness. Additional data that were coded included the number and percentage of views, likes, and comments and the use of music, dance, and humor. RESULTS: The 100 videos garnered more than 103 million views; 111,000 comments; and over 12.8 million likes. Even though only 44 videos mentioned or suggested disgust/unpleasantness and 44 mentioned or suggested anxiety, those that portrayed tests as disgusting/unpleasant garnered over 70% of the total cumulative number of views (73,479,400/103,071,900, 71.29%) and likes (9,354,691/12,872,505, 72.67%), and those that mentioned or suggested anxiety attracted about 60% of the total cumulative number of views (61,423,500/103,071,900, 59.59%) and more than 8 million likes (8,339,598/12,872,505, 64.79%). Independent one-tailed t tests (α=.05) revealed that videos that mentioned or suggested that COVID-19 testing was disgusting/unpleasant were associated with receiving a higher number of views and likes. CONCLUSIONS: Our finding of an association between TikTok videos that mentioned or suggested that COVID-19 tests were disgusting/unpleasant and these videos' propensity to garner views and likes is of concern. There is a need for public health agencies to recognize and address connotations of COVID-19 testing on social media.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Social Media , Adolescent , Community Networks , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Video Recording , Young Adult
5.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(3): e25202, 2021 03 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2197886

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Emerging evidence demonstrates that obesity is associated with a higher risk of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality. Excessive alcohol consumption and "comfort eating" as coping mechanisms during times of high stress have been shown to further exacerbate mental and physical ill-health. Global examples suggest that unhealthy food and alcohol brands and companies are using the COVID-19 pandemic to further market their products. However, there has been no systematic, in-depth analysis of how "Big Food" and "Big Alcohol" are capitalizing on the COVID-19 pandemic to market their products and brands. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to quantify the extent and nature of online marketing by alcohol and unhealthy food and beverage companies during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. METHODS: We conducted a content analysis of all COVID-19-related social media posts made by leading alcohol and unhealthy food and beverage brands (n=42) and their parent companies (n=12) over a 4-month period (February to May 2020) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. RESULTS: Nearly 80% of included brands and all parent companies posted content related to COVID-19 during the 4-month period. Quick service restaurants (QSRs), food and alcohol delivery companies, alcohol brands, and bottle shops were the most active in posting COVID-19-related content. The most common themes for COVID-19-related marketing were isolation activities and community support. Promotion of hygiene and home delivery was also common, particularly for QSRs and alcohol and food delivery companies. Parent companies were more likely to post about corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, such as donations of money and products, and to offer health advice. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to show that Big Food and Big Alcohol are incessantly marketing their products and brands on social media platforms using themes related to COVID-19, such as isolation activities and community support. Parent companies are frequently posting about CSR initiatives, such as donations of money and products, thereby creating a fertile environment to loosen current regulation or resist further industry regulation. "COVID-washing" by large alcohol brands, food and beverage brands, and their parent companies is both common and concerning. The need for comprehensive regulations to restrict unhealthy food and alcohol marketing, as recommended by the World Health Organization, is particularly acute in the COVID-19 context and is urgently required to "build back better" in a post-COVID-19 world.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Food Industry , Marketing/methods , Marketing/statistics & numerical data , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Alcoholic Beverages/statistics & numerical data , Australia/epidemiology , Food/statistics & numerical data , Humans
7.
Br J Surg ; 108(10): 1137-1138, 2021 10 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2188275
8.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 8(6): e35266, 2022 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2198027

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-COV-2 virus and its variants pose extraordinary challenges for public health worldwide. Timely and accurate forecasting of the COVID-19 epidemic is key to sustaining interventions and policies and efficient resource allocation. Internet-based data sources have shown great potential to supplement traditional infectious disease surveillance, and the combination of different Internet-based data sources has shown greater power to enhance epidemic forecasting accuracy than using a single Internet-based data source. However, existing methods incorporating multiple Internet-based data sources only used real-time data from these sources as exogenous inputs but did not take all the historical data into account. Moreover, the predictive power of different Internet-based data sources in providing early warning for COVID-19 outbreaks has not been fully explored. OBJECTIVE: The main aim of our study is to explore whether combining real-time and historical data from multiple Internet-based sources could improve the COVID-19 forecasting accuracy over the existing baseline models. A secondary aim is to explore the COVID-19 forecasting timeliness based on different Internet-based data sources. METHODS: We first used core terms and symptom-related keyword-based methods to extract COVID-19-related Internet-based data from December 21, 2019, to February 29, 2020. The Internet-based data we explored included 90,493,912 online news articles, 37,401,900 microblogs, and all the Baidu search query data during that period. We then proposed an autoregressive model with exogenous inputs, incorporating real-time and historical data from multiple Internet-based sources. Our proposed model was compared with baseline models, and all the models were tested during the first wave of COVID-19 epidemics in Hubei province and the rest of mainland China separately. We also used lagged Pearson correlations for COVID-19 forecasting timeliness analysis. RESULTS: Our proposed model achieved the highest accuracy in all 5 accuracy measures, compared with all the baseline models of both Hubei province and the rest of mainland China. In mainland China, except for Hubei, the COVID-19 epidemic forecasting accuracy differences between our proposed model (model i) and all the other baseline models were statistically significant (model 1, t198=-8.722, P<.001; model 2, t198=-5.000, P<.001, model 3, t198=-1.882, P=.06; model 4, t198=-4.644, P<.001; model 5, t198=-4.488, P<.001). In Hubei province, our proposed model's forecasting accuracy improved significantly compared with the baseline model using historical new confirmed COVID-19 case counts only (model 1, t198=-1.732, P=.09). Our results also showed that Internet-based sources could provide a 2- to 6-day earlier warning for COVID-19 outbreaks. CONCLUSIONS: Our approach incorporating real-time and historical data from multiple Internet-based sources could improve forecasting accuracy for epidemics of COVID-19 and its variants, which may help improve public health agencies' interventions and resource allocation in mitigating and controlling new waves of COVID-19 or other relevant epidemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epidemics , Social Media , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Front Public Health ; 10: 972348, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2154842

ABSTRACT

Background: More than 70 percent of the world's population is tortured with neck pain more than once in their vast life, of which 50-85% recur within 1-5 years of the initial episode. With medical resources affected by the epidemic, more and more people seek health-related knowledge via YouTube. This article aims to assess the quality and reliability of the medical information shared on YouTube regarding neck pain. Methods: We searched on YouTube using the keyword "neck pain" to include the top 50 videos by relevance, then divided them into five and seven categories based on their content and source. Each video was quantitatively assessed using the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), DISCERN, Global Quality Score (GQS), Neck Pain-Specific Score (NPSS), and video power index (VPI). Spearman correlation analysis was used to evaluate the correlation between JAMA, GQS, DISCERN, NPSS and VPI. A multiple linear regression analysis was applied to identify video features affecting JAMA, GQS, DISCERN, and NPSS. Results: The videos had a mean JAMA score of 2.56 (SD = 0.43), DISCERN of 2.55 (SD = 0.44), GQS of 2.86 (SD = 0.72), and NPSS of 2.90 (SD = 2.23). Classification by video upload source, non-physician videos had the greatest share at 38%, and sorted by video content, exercise training comprised 40% of the videos. Significant differences between the uploading sources were observed for VPI (P = 0.012), JAMA (P < 0.001), DISCERN (P < 0.001), GQS (P = 0.001), and NPSS (P = 0.007). Spearman correlation analysis showed that JAMA, DISCERN, GQS, and NPSS significantly correlated with each other (JAMA vs. DISCERN, p < 0.001, JAMA vs. GQS, p < 0.001, JAMA vs. NPSS, p < 0.001, DISCERN vs. GQS, p < 0.001, DISCERN vs. NPSS, p < 0.001, GQS vs. NPSS, p < 0.001). Multiple linear regression analysis suggested that a higher JAMA score, DISCERN, or GQS score were closely related to a higher probability of an academic, physician, non-physician or medical upload source (P < 0.005), and a higher NPSS score was associated with a higher probability of an academic source (P = 0.001) than of an individual upload source. Conclusions: YouTube videos pertaining to neck pain contain low quality, low reliability, and incomplete information. Patients may be put at risk for health complications due to inaccurate, and incomplete information, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. Academic groups should be committed to high-quality video production and promotion to YouTube users.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Media , Humans , Information Dissemination , Pain , Patient Education as Topic , Reproducibility of Results , United States , Video Recording
11.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(9): e31052, 2021 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141346

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused great panic among the public, with many people suffering from adverse stress reactions. To control the spread of the pandemic, governments in many countries have imposed lockdown policies. In this unique pandemic context, people can obtain information about pandemic dynamics on the internet. However, searching for health-related information on the internet frequently increases the possibility of individuals being troubled by the information that they find, and consequently, experiencing symptoms of cyberchondria. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to examine the relationships between people's perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and their depression, anxiety, and stress to explore the role of cyberchondria, which, in these relationship mechanisms, is closely related to using the internet. In addition, we also examined the moderating role of lockdown experiences. METHODS: In February 2020, a total of 486 participants were recruited through a web-based platform from areas in China with a large number of infections. We used questionnaires to measure participants' perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, to measure the severity of their cyberchondria, depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, and to assess their lockdown experiences. Confirmatory factor analysis, exploratory factor analysis, common method bias, descriptive statistical analysis, and correlation analysis were performed, and moderated mediation models were examined. RESULTS: There was a positive association between perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and depression (ß=0.36, t=8.51, P<.001), anxiety (ß=0.41, t=9.84, P<.001), and stress (ß=0.46, t=11.45, P<.001), which were mediated by cyberchondria (ß=0.36, t=8.59, P<.001). The direct effects of perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic on anxiety (ß=0.07, t=2.01, P=.045) and stress (ß=0.09, t=2.75, P=.006) and the indirect effects of cyberchondria on depression (ß=0.10, t=2.59, P=.009) and anxiety (ß=0.10, t=2.50, P=.01) were moderated by lockdown experience. CONCLUSIONS: The higher the perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the more serious individuals' symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. In addition, the associations were partially mediated by cyberchondria. Individuals with higher perceived severity of the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to develop cyberchondria, which aggravated individuals' depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. Negative lockdown experiences exacerbated the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on mental health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Perception , Quarantine/psychology , Stress, Psychological/complications , Adolescent , Adult , Anxiety/etiology , Anxiety/psychology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , China/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/etiology , Depression/psychology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Quarantine/standards , Social Media/standards , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Stress, Psychological/psychology
12.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(8): e29029, 2021 08 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141331

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Widespread fear surrounding COVID-19, coupled with physical and social distancing orders, has caused severe adverse mental health outcomes. Little is known, however, about how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted LGBTQ+ youth, who disproportionately experienced a high rate of adverse mental health outcomes before the COVID-19 pandemic. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to address this knowledge gap by harnessing natural language processing methodologies to investigate the evolution of conversation topics in the most popular subreddit for LGBTQ+ youth. METHODS: We generated a data set of all r/LGBTeens subreddit posts (n=39,389) between January 1, 2020 and February 1, 2021 and analyzed meaningful trends in anxiety, anger, and sadness in the posts. Because the distribution of anxiety before widespread social distancing orders was meaningfully different from the distribution after (P<.001), we employed latent Dirichlet allocation to examine topics that provoked this shift in anxiety. RESULTS: We did not find any differences in LGBTQ+ youth anger and sadness before and after government-mandated social distancing; however, anxiety increased significantly (P<.001). Further analysis revealed a list of 10 anxiety-provoking topics discussed during the pandemic: attraction to a friend, coming out, coming out to family, discrimination, education, exploring sexuality, gender pronouns, love and relationship advice, starting a new relationship, and struggling with mental health. CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, LGBTQ+ teens increased their reliance on anonymous discussion forums when discussing anxiety-provoking topics. LGBTQ+ teens likely perceived anonymous forums as safe spaces for discussing lifestyle stressors during COVID-19 disruptions (eg, school closures). The list of prevalent anxiety-provoking topics in LGBTQ+ teens' anonymous discussions can inform future mental health interventions in LGBTQ+ youth.


Subject(s)
Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Natural Language Processing , Pandemics , Sexual and Gender Minorities/psychology , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Social Media/trends , Adolescent , COVID-19/epidemiology , Emotions , Female , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Sexual and Gender Minorities/statistics & numerical data
13.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(4): e26780, 2021 04 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141318

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite scientific evidence supporting the importance of wearing masks to curtail the spread of COVID-19, wearing masks has stirred up a significant debate particularly on social media. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the topics associated with the public discourse against wearing masks in the United States. We also studied the relationship between the anti-mask discourse on social media and the number of new COVID-19 cases. METHODS: We collected a total of 51,170 English tweets between January 1, 2020, and October 27, 2020, by searching for hashtags against wearing masks. We used machine learning techniques to analyze the data collected. We investigated the relationship between the volume of tweets against mask-wearing and the daily volume of new COVID-19 cases using a Pearson correlation analysis between the two-time series. RESULTS: The results and analysis showed that social media could help identify important insights related to wearing masks. The results of topic mining identified 10 categories or themes of user concerns dominated by (1) constitutional rights and freedom of choice; (2) conspiracy theory, population control, and big pharma; and (3) fake news, fake numbers, and fake pandemic. Altogether, these three categories represent almost 65% of the volume of tweets against wearing masks. The relationship between the volume of tweets against wearing masks and newly reported COVID-19 cases depicted a strong correlation wherein the rise in the volume of negative tweets led the rise in the number of new cases by 9 days. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrated the potential of mining social media for understanding the public discourse about public health issues such as wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results emphasized the relationship between the discourse on social media and the potential impact on real events such as changing the course of the pandemic. Policy makers are advised to proactively address public perception and work on shaping this perception through raising awareness, debunking negative sentiments, and prioritizing early policy intervention toward the most prevalent topics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks , Public Opinion , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Data Mining , Humans , Machine Learning , United States/epidemiology
14.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(4): e26720, 2021 04 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141315

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is characterized by different morbidity and mortality rates across different states, cities, rural areas, and diverse neighborhoods. The absence of a national strategy for battling the pandemic also leaves state and local governments responsible for creating their own response strategies and policies. OBJECTIVE: This study examines the content of COVID-19-related tweets posted by public health agencies in Texas and how content characteristics can predict the level of public engagement. METHODS: All COVID-19-related tweets (N=7269) posted by Texas public agencies during the first 6 months of 2020 were classified in terms of each tweet's functions (whether the tweet provides information, promotes action, or builds community), the preventative measures mentioned, and the health beliefs discussed, by using natural language processing. Hierarchical linear regressions were conducted to explore how tweet content predicted public engagement. RESULTS: The information function was the most prominent function, followed by the action or community functions. Beliefs regarding susceptibility, severity, and benefits were the most frequently covered health beliefs. Tweets that served the information or action functions were more likely to be retweeted, while tweets that served the action and community functions were more likely to be liked. Tweets that provided susceptibility information resulted in the most public engagement in terms of the number of retweets and likes. CONCLUSIONS: Public health agencies should continue to use Twitter to disseminate information, promote action, and build communities. They need to improve their strategies for designing social media messages about the benefits of disease prevention behaviors and audiences' self-efficacy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Pandemics , Public Health , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Natural Language Processing , Texas/epidemiology
15.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(4): e26527, 2021 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141313

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 outbreak has left many people isolated within their homes; these people are turning to social media for news and social connection, which leaves them vulnerable to believing and sharing misinformation. Health-related misinformation threatens adherence to public health messaging, and monitoring its spread on social media is critical to understanding the evolution of ideas that have potentially negative public health impacts. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to use Twitter data to explore methods to characterize and classify four COVID-19 conspiracy theories and to provide context for each of these conspiracy theories through the first 5 months of the pandemic. METHODS: We began with a corpus of COVID-19 tweets (approximately 120 million) spanning late January to early May 2020. We first filtered tweets using regular expressions (n=1.8 million) and used random forest classification models to identify tweets related to four conspiracy theories. Our classified data sets were then used in downstream sentiment analysis and dynamic topic modeling to characterize the linguistic features of COVID-19 conspiracy theories as they evolve over time. RESULTS: Analysis using model-labeled data was beneficial for increasing the proportion of data matching misinformation indicators. Random forest classifier metrics varied across the four conspiracy theories considered (F1 scores between 0.347 and 0.857); this performance increased as the given conspiracy theory was more narrowly defined. We showed that misinformation tweets demonstrate more negative sentiment when compared to nonmisinformation tweets and that theories evolve over time, incorporating details from unrelated conspiracy theories as well as real-world events. CONCLUSIONS: Although we focus here on health-related misinformation, this combination of approaches is not specific to public health and is valuable for characterizing misinformation in general, which is an important first step in creating targeted messaging to counteract its spread. Initial messaging should aim to preempt generalized misinformation before it becomes widespread, while later messaging will need to target evolving conspiracy theories and the new facets of each as they become incorporated.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Communication , Information Dissemination/methods , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Humans
16.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(4): e25762, 2021 04 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141307

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Public health campaigns aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 are important in reducing disease transmission, but traditional information-based campaigns have received unexpectedly extreme backlash. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate whether customizing of public service announcements (PSAs) providing health guidelines to match individuals' identities increases their compliance. METHODS: We conducted a within- and between-subjects, randomized controlled cross-sectional, web-based study in July 2020. Participants viewed two PSAs: one advocating wearing a mask in public settings and one advocating staying at home. The control PSA only provided information, and the treatment PSAs were designed to appeal to the identities held by individuals; that is, either a Christian identity or an economically motivated identity. Participants were asked about their identity and then provided a control PSA and treatment PSA matching their identity, in random order. The PSAs were of approximately 100 words. RESULTS: We recruited 300 social media users from Amazon Mechanical Turk in accordance with usual protocols to ensure data quality. In total, 8 failed the data quality checks, and the remaining 292 were included in the analysis. In the identity-based PSA, the source of the PSA was changed, and a phrase of approximately 12 words relevant to the individual's identity was inserted. A PSA tailored for Christians, when matched with a Christian identity, increased the likelihood of compliance by 12 percentage points. A PSA that focused on economic values, when shown to individuals who identified as economically motivated, increased the likelihood of compliance by 6 points. CONCLUSIONS: Using social media to deliver COVID-19 public health announcements customized to individuals' identities is a promising measure to increase compliance with public health guidelines. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN Registry 22331899; https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN22331899.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Guideline Adherence/statistics & numerical data , Persuasive Communication , Public Service Announcements as Topic , Social Identification , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Guidelines as Topic , Humans , Male , Masks , Middle Aged , Quarantine , Social Media , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
17.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(1): e25241, 2021 01 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141298

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in changes to normal life and disrupted social and economic function worldwide. However, little is known about the impact of social media use, unhealthy lifestyles, and the risk of miscarriage among pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to assess the association between social media use, unhealthy lifestyles, and the risk of miscarriage among pregnant women in the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic in China. METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, 456 singleton pregnant women in mainland China were recruited during January and February 2020. Sociodemographic characteristics, history of previous health, social media use, and current lifestyles were collected at baseline, and we followed up about the occurrence of miscarriage. Log-binomial regression models were used to estimate the risk ratios (RRs) of miscarriage for women with different exposures to COVID-19-specific information. RESULTS: Among all the 456 pregnant women, there were 82 (18.0%) who did no physical activities, 82 (18.0%) with inadequate dietary diversity, 174 (38.2%) with poor sleep quality, and 54 (11.8%) spending >3 hours on reading COVID-19 news per day. Women with excessive media use (>3 hours) were more likely to be previously pregnant (P=.03), have no physical activity (P=.003), have inadequate dietary diversity (P=.03), and have poor sleep quality (P<.001). The prevalence of miscarriage was 16.0% (n=73; 95% CI 12.6%-19.4%). Compared with women who spent 0.5-2 hours (25/247, 10.1%) on reading COVID-19 news per day, miscarriage prevalence in women who spent <0.5 hours (5/23, 21.7%), 2-3 hours (26/132, 19.7%), and >3 hours (17/54, 31.5%) was higher (P<.001). Miscarriage prevalence was also higher in pregnant women with poor sleep quality (39/174, 22.4% vs 34/282, 12.1%; P=.003) and a high education level (66/368, 17.9% vs 7/88, 8.0%; P=.02). In the multivariable model, poor sleep quality (adjusted RR 2.06, 95% CI 1.24-3.44; P=.006), 2-3 hours of media use daily (adjusted RR 1.74, 95% CI 1.02-2.97; P=.04), and >3 hours of media use daily (adjusted RR 2.56, 95% CI 1.43-4.59; P=.002) were associated with miscarriage. In the sensitivity analysis, results were still stable. CONCLUSIONS: Pregnant women with excessive media use were more likely to have no physical activity, inadequate dietary diversity, and poor sleep quality. Excessive media use and poor sleep quality were associated with a higher risk of miscarriage. Our findings highlight the importance of healthy lifestyles during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Abortion, Spontaneous/etiology , Life Style , Pregnant Women/psychology , Social Media/trends , Abortion, Spontaneous/epidemiology , Abortion, Spontaneous/psychology , Adult , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/psychology , COVID-19/transmission , China/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pregnancy , Prospective Studies , Risk Factors , Social Media/statistics & numerical data
18.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(1): e24859, 2021 01 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141296

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) users might be more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and could develop more severe symptoms if they contract the disease owing to their impaired immune responses to viral infections. Social media platforms such as Twitter have been widely used by individuals worldwide to express their responses to the current COVID-19 pandemic. OBJECTIVE: In this study, we aimed to examine the longitudinal changes in the attitudes of Twitter users who used e-cigarettes toward the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as compare differences in attitudes between e-cigarette users and nonusers based on Twitter data. METHODS: The study dataset containing COVID-19-related Twitter posts (tweets) posted between March 5 and April 3, 2020, was collected using a Twitter streaming application programming interface with COVID-19-related keywords. Twitter users were classified into two groups: Ecig group, including users who did not have commercial accounts but posted e-cigarette-related tweets between May 2019 and August 2019, and non-Ecig group, including users who did not post any e-cigarette-related tweets. Sentiment analysis was performed to compare sentiment scores towards the COVID-19 pandemic between both groups and determine whether the sentiment expressed was positive, negative, or neutral. Topic modeling was performed to compare the main topics discussed between the groups. RESULTS: The US COVID-19 dataset consisted of 4,500,248 COVID-19-related tweets collected from 187,399 unique Twitter users in the Ecig group and 11,479,773 COVID-19-related tweets collected from 2,511,659 unique Twitter users in the non-Ecig group. Sentiment analysis showed that Ecig group users had more negative sentiment scores than non-Ecig group users. Results from topic modeling indicated that Ecig group users had more concerns about deaths due to COVID-19, whereas non-Ecig group users cared more about the government's responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that Twitter users who tweeted about e-cigarettes had more concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings can inform public health practitioners to use social media platforms such as Twitter for timely monitoring of public responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and educating and encouraging current e-cigarette users to quit vaping to minimize the risks associated with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems/standards , Pandemics , Perception , Smokers/psychology , Social Media/instrumentation , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/psychology , COVID-19/transmission , Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Social Media/trends
19.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(1): e24756, 2021 01 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141295

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 is a highly transmissible illness caused by SARS-CoV-2. The disease has affected more than 200 countries, and the measures that have been implemented to combat its spread, as there is still no vaccine or definitive medication, have been based on supportive interventions and drug repositioning. Brazil, the largest country in South America, has had more than 140,000 recorded deaths and is one of the most affected countries. Despite the extensive quantity of scientifically recognized information, there are still conflicting discussions on how best to face the disease and the virus, especially with regard to social distancing, preventive methods, and the use of medications. OBJECTIVE: The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the Brazilian population's basic knowledge about COVID-19 to demonstrate how Brazilians are managing to identify scientifically proven information. METHODS: A cross-sectional study design was used. An original online questionnaire survey was administered from June 16 to August 21, 2020, across all five different geopolitical regions of the country (ie, the North, Northeast, Center-West, Southeast, and South). The questionnaire was comprised of questions about basic aspects of COVID-19, such as the related symptoms, conduct that should be followed when suspected of infection, risk groups, prevention, transmission, and social distancing. The wrong questionnaire response alternatives were taken from the fake news combat website of the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Participants (aged ≥18 years) were recruited through social networking platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter. The mean distributions, frequencies, and similarities or dissimilarities between the responses for the different variables of the study were evaluated. The significance level for all statistical tests was less than .05. RESULTS: A total of 4180 valid responses representative of all the states and regions of Brazil were recorded. Most respondents had good knowledge about COVID-19, getting an average of 86.59% of the total score with regard to the basic aspects of the disease. The region, education level, age, sex, and social condition had a significant association (P<.001) with knowledge about the disease, which meant that women, the young, those with higher education levels, nonrecipients of social assistance, and more economically and socially developed regions had more correct answers. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, Brazilians with social media access have a good level of basic knowledge about COVID-19 but with differences depending on the analyzed subgroup. Due to the limitation of the platform used in carrying out the study, care should be taken when generalizing the study findings to populations with less education or who are not used to accessing social networking platforms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Behavior , Health Education/methods , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Brazil , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Middle Aged , Social Networking , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
20.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 7(1): e24220, 2021 01 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2141289

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Real-time polymerase chain reaction using nasopharyngeal swabs is currently the most widely used diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2 detection. However, false negatives and the sensitivity of this mode of testing have posed challenges in the accurate estimation of the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection rates. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether technical and, therefore, correctable errors were being made with regard to nasopharyngeal swab procedures. METHODS: We searched a web-based video database (YouTube) for videos demonstrating SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal swab tests, posted from January 1 to May 15, 2020. Videos were rated by 3 blinded rhinologists for accuracy of swab angle and depth. The overall score for swab angle and swab depth for each nasopharyngeal swab demonstration video was determined based on the majority score with agreement between at least 2 of the 3 reviewers. We then comparatively evaluated video data collected from YouTube videos demonstrating the correct nasopharyngeal swab technique with data from videos demonstrating an incorrect nasopharyngeal swab technique. Multiple linear regression analysis with statistical significance set at P=.05 was performed to determine video data variables associated with the correct nasopharyngeal swab technique. RESULTS: In all, 126 videos met the study inclusion and exclusion criteria. Of these, 52.3% (66/126) of all videos demonstrated the correct swab angle, and 46% (58/126) of the videos demonstrated an appropriate swab depth. Moreover, 45.2% (57/126) of the videos demonstrated both correct nasopharyngeal swab angle and appropriate depth, whereas 46.8% (59/126) of the videos demonstrated both incorrect nasopharyngeal swab angle and inappropriate depth. Videos with correct nasopharyngeal swab technique were associated with the swab operators identifying themselves as a medical professional or as an Ear, Nose, Throat-related medical professional. We also found an association between correct nasopharyngeal swab techniques and recency of video publication date (relative to May 15, 2020). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that over half of the videos documenting the nasopharyngeal swab test showed an incorrect technique, which could elevate false-negative test rates. Therefore, greater attention needs to be provided toward educating frontline health care workers who routinely perform nasopharyngeal swab procedures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , Nasopharynx/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Social Media , Specimen Handling/methods , Video Recording , Diagnostic Errors/prevention & control , Humans , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
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