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Study: Twitter Mirrors Our Attitudes, Feelings About Covid-19

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Themes of anxiety, depression, and fear of shortages have emerged.

University of Rochester researchers are mining the database represented by Twitter users in the U.S. to identify themes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit: Getty Images

University of Rochester researchers mined Twitter messages to gauge public attitudes and feelings about the Covid-19 pandemic.

The team analyzed hoarding patterns of 43,102 users, which revealed "significantly higher" anxiety associated with hoarding-related messages.

Tweets conveying worry surged in early March on the availability of toilet paper, and in early March and end of March for medications, then declined for both categories.

Meanwhile, college students seemed more preoccupied with pandemic issues that affected them personally and news from locales close to home, and responded more negatively to the spread of the virus than the general public.

The researchers also compiled a dataset of 5,150 users, half of whom were identified from pre-pandemic tweets as having depression, the other half a control group.

The groups' depression levels differed for a time after the first confirmed U.S. case on Jan. 21, but both rose following the March 13 declaration of a national emergency.

From University of Rochester NewsCenter
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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