Public Health Policy Monitoring through Public Perceptions: A Case of COVID-19 Tweet Analysis

Chih Yuan Li, Michael Renda, Fatima Yusuf, James Geller, Soon Ae Chun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, government authorities have responded by issuing new public health policies, many of which were intended to contain its spread but ended up limiting economic and social activities. The citizen responses to these policies are diverse, ranging from goodwill to fear and anger. It is challenging to determine whether or not these public health policies achieved the intended impact. This requires systematic data collection and scientific studies, which can be very time-consuming. To overcome such challenges, in this paper, we provide an alternative approach to continuously monitor and dynamically make sense of how public health policies impact citizens. Our approach is to continuously collect Twitter posts related to COVID-19 policies and to analyze the public reactions. We have developed a web-based system that collects tweets daily and generates timelines and geographical displays of citizens’ “concern levels”. Tracking the public reactions towards different policies can help government officials assess the policy impacts in a more dynamic and real-time manner. For this paper, we collected and analyzed over 16 million tweets related to ten policies over a 10-month period. We obtained several findings; for example, the “COVID-19 (General)” and ”Ventilators” policies engendered the highest concern levels, while the “Face Coverings” policy caused the lowest. Nine out of ten policies exhibited significant changes in concern levels during the observation period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number543
JournalInformation (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Twitter mining
  • concern level
  • geographical analysis
  • government policies
  • sentiment analysis
  • temporal analysis

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