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UofSC Insights Index: Growing concern about the coronavirus

Posted March 11, 2020

Social media conversations in South Carolina reflect a growing concern about the cost and availability of tests for the coronavirus. 

Testing is the most-discussed subject among more than 72,000 social media conversations between March 1 and 11 analyzed by the University of South Carolina Social Media Insights Lab.  The comments also reflect concern the news media may be blowing the threat out of proportion.

 “We found the leading influencer in these conversations was President Trump and many comments reflected skepticism about what has now been declared a pandemic,” said Kaitlyn Park, Insights Lab manager. President Trump is mentioned on Twitter in South Carolina nearly four times more frequently than the Centers for Disease Control.

One of the most-shared tweets came from the President, who compared coronavirus infection rates with the flu.  However, fewer people on social media are calling the coronavirus a hoax, said Park, and there are many comments about hand washing. 

Those over the age of 35 are the most concerned about the threat.  Users 18-24, who are less vulnerable, are the most likely to share memes and information about discounted airfares. 

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