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The Associations Between Racially/Ethnically Stratified COVID-19 Tweets and COVID-19 Cases and Deaths: Cross-sectional Study.


ABSTRACT:

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing racial/ethnic health disparities in the United States. Monitoring nationwide Twitter conversations about COVID-19 and race/ethnicity could shed light on the impact of the pandemic on racial/ethnic minorities and help address health disparities.

Objective

This paper aims to examine the association between COVID-19 tweet volume and COVID-19 cases and deaths, stratified by race/ethnicity, in the early onset of the pandemic.

Methods

This cross-sectional study used geotagged COVID-19 tweets from within the United States posted in April 2020 on Twitter to examine the association between tweet volume, COVID-19 surveillance data (total cases and deaths in April), and population size. The studied time frame was limited to April 2020 because April was the earliest month when COVID-19 surveillance data on racial/ethnic groups were collected. Racially/ethnically stratified tweets were extracted using racial/ethnic group-related keywords (Asian, Black, Latino, and White) from COVID-19 tweets. Racially/ethnically stratified tweets, COVID-19 cases, and COVID-19 deaths were mapped to reveal their spatial distribution patterns. An ordinary least squares (OLS) regression model was applied to each stratified dataset.

Results

The racially/ethnically stratified tweet volume was associated with surveillance data. Specifically, an increase of 1 Asian tweet was correlated with 288 Asian cases (P<.001) and 93.4 Asian deaths (P<.001); an increase of 1 Black tweet was linked to 47.6 Black deaths (P<.001); an increase of 1 Latino tweet was linked to 719 Latino deaths (P<.001); and an increase of 1 White tweet was linked to 60.2 White deaths (P<.001).

Conclusions

Using racially/ethnically stratified Twitter data as a surveillance indicator could inform epidemiologic trends to help estimate future surges of COVID-19 cases and potential future outbreaks of a pandemic among racial/ethnic groups.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC9153911 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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