Infodemiological Study on the Use of Face Masks during Covid-19: Comparing U.S. and Korea

Jin-A Choi, Sejung Park

Abstract


In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been
varied responses to public health officials' recommendations
about wearing face masks as a means to slow the spread of
the virus. This study, by using Twitter data, aims to explore
the role of digital technology in facilitating public
conversations and formulating public perception regarding
face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic in two
contrasting contexts: the U.S. and South Korea. From January
1, 2020 to April 14, 2020, a total of 22,928 users
generated 27,501 tweets regarding face masks in the U.S.
network, whereas 17,267 users produced 18,686 tweets in
that of South Korea. The results of the semantic network
analysis shed light on Americans' initial resistance to wearing
masks as well as Koreans' willingness to comply. Details of
the results are discussed further in the paper. With real-time
data aggregation, this study gives insight into the rising
controversy regarding wearing face masks during COVID-19
while providing implications for health officials designing
strategic communication messages.

Keywords


infodemiology, COVID-19, coronavirus, face masks, Twitter, social network

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Copyright (c) 2021 Jin-A Choi, Sejung Park

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096