Research suggests that people become desensitized to COVID-19 disease, death


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Although in early 2020 people were accumulating toilet paper, washing their hands non-stop and not leaving their homes, 11 months later the public pushed the envelope on the safety precautions of COVID-19 and ignored the warnings as as time went on, a new University of California, Davis, suggests the study.

Researchers from the Department of Communication examined people’s reactions and expressions of anxiety about news articles on Twitter. In addition, they investigated reactions to fear induction finished , despite the steady increase in COVID-19 deaths, said Hannah Stevens, a doctoral student in communication and lead author of the paper.

The paper, “Desensitizing COVID-19 Health News Inducing Fear on Twitter: An Observational Study,” was published in Journal of Medical Internet Research Infodemiology on July 16th. The researchers examined how COVID-19 news articles shared on Twitter first met with anxious tweets in the early days of the pandemic, during a coincidental rise in cases of panic buying, extreme social distancing, and quarantine measures. Despite the increase in the number of deaths, these behaviors gave way over time to less worried responses to the news of COVID-19, along with the increase in social risk-taking during this .

“COVID-19 has left an indelible mark on history and now it’s time to consider what went wrong so we can communicate better effectively during future health crises and even now, as the delta variant becomes more widespread, “Stevens said. “First, we need to understand how and why the terrifying health news lost its impact over time, despite the rapid rise in the death toll.”

The authors set out to test the hypothesis contained in the first fear-based health messages the reports significantly motivated people to take steps to control the threat, but excessive exposure to the same messages desensitized people or made them less anxious over time.

Over an 11-month period, the team used a computerized methodology to analyze levels of language anxiety in hundreds of COVID-19s. on Twitter, along with the anxiety levels of the corresponding user tweets. They then correlated the findings with COVID-19 in the United States.

“Our study shows the need to delve deeper into how to re-sensitize the public and motivate them to take action in the face of an ongoing emergency. Testing the effectiveness of various health risk communication strategies could it means the difference between life and life. death in the future, “Stevens said.

“If another health crisis occurred today or COVID-19 worsens, it is essential for the public officials consider that they are communicating to an insensitive public. I hope this document can be a boost to start this discussion. ”

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More information:
Stevens HR, Oh YJ, Taylor LR, Desensitization to COVID-19 Health News Causing Fear on Twitter: Observational Study, Infodemiology JMIR 2021; 1 (1): e26876, DOI: 10.2196 / 26876 ,

Citation: People who are desensitized to COVID-19 diseases, death, according to research (2021, July 20), recovered on July 20, 2021 at people-desensitized-covid-illnesses-death.html

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