Most COVID-19 maps fail to enhance public understanding of pandemic

Most COVID-19 maps fail to improve public understanding of pandemic
Most COVID-19 maps, corresponding to this bubble map, fail to enhance public understanding of the pandemic and its dangers. Credit score: College of Utah Well being Sciences

Since COVID-19 first arose as a worldwide well being menace, hundreds of thousands of internet sites with maps charting the unfold and prevalence of the virus have appeared on the web. Nonetheless, most of those maps don’t enhance public understanding of the potential threat of contracting COVID-19 or promote compliance with well being pointers meant to gradual its unfold, in keeping with a brand new research led by College of Utah Well being scientists in collaboration with different establishments.

In truth, the researchers discovered that research individuals who did not see a map had been extra educated concerning the whole variety of COVID-19 instances in america than those that seen one. In addition they discovered that maps didn’t affect an individual’s notion of their very own threat of contracting the illness.

“We all know that folks’s conduct and intentions are influenced by how properly knowledgeable they’re and the way they understand threat,” says Alistair Thorpe, Ph.D., lead writer of the research and a U of U Well being postdoctoral analysis fellow. “Prevalence maps are designed to assist with that and so many have appeared in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, we discovered that merely presenting COVID-19 info in a map does not essentially have the supposed affect on data, notion, or conduct.”

The research seems in JAMA Community Open.

In a Could 2020 , the researchers requested 2,676 individuals, aged 18 to 91, to view certainly one of six randomly chosen maps of COVID-19 prevalence in america. Then, they had been questioned about their data of confirmed COVID-19 instances, their perceived threat of getting the illness, and whether or not they supposed to stick to COVID-19 prevention pointers. A was not proven any of the maps and was merely requested to reply the questions based mostly on their very own data with out visible aids.

“The aim of this research was to attempt to discover the very best methodology for having individuals perceive how frequent COVID-19 is nationwide in addition to the place they dwell,” says Angela Fagerlin, Ph.D., senior writer of the paper, a U of U Well being professor of inhabitants well being sciences, and a analysis scientist on the Veterans Affairs Salt Lake Metropolis Well being Care System. “We had been hoping that understanding the prevalence of this illness would encourage them to take motion to stop the unfold of COVID-19.”

Most COVID-19 maps fail to improve public understanding of pandemic
Warmth maps, corresponding to this one, that show COVID-19 instances per capita by state seem like more practical than others. Credit score: College of Utah Well being Sciences

General, those that noticed maps had been no extra educated concerning the COVID-19 pandemic than those that did not see them. Members who noticed a map had decrease perceptions of the chance to society; they had been additionally extra optimistic that the pandemic can be higher in two weeks in comparison with those that did not see a map. Not one of the maps appeared to affect how individuals perceived their private susceptibility to the virus or whether or not they supposed to observe public well being pointers.

Nonetheless, warmth maps that depicted per capita instances by state in various hues and intensities relying on localized prevalence seemed to be more practical than others.

“The options of those maps seem like the simplest for enhancing or not less than sustaining public data of COVID-19 instances,” Thorpe says.

Among the many research’s limitations are its reliance on self-reported info and potential obstacles to participation, together with decrease English proficiency and restricted or no web entry.

Transferring ahead, the researchers imagine this discovering might have important long-term implications.

“There’s quite a lot of knowledge popping out throughout this outbreak about find out how to successfully talk well being info that can assist us within the subsequent pandemic,” Fagerlin says. “I hope we are able to be taught from this expertise so we do not have to recreate the wheel each time we expertise a pandemic.”

The research, “Publicity to Widespread Geographic COVID-19 Prevalence Maps and Public Data, Threat Perceptions, and Behavioral Intentions,” was printed in JAMA Community Open.


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Extra info:
Alistair Thorpe et al. Publicity to Widespread Geographic COVID-19 Prevalence Maps and Public Data, Threat Perceptions, and Behavioral Intentions, JAMA Community Open (2021). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.33538

Quotation:
Most COVID-19 maps fail to enhance public understanding of pandemic (2021, January 25)
retrieved 25 January 2021
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