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Under embargo until 00.01 16/09/2020

(16 September 2020) New research about online conversations during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic shows that, for many public health messages, direct communications from government accounts or prominent officials on social media had less influence[1] than those from other influencers, such as Piers Morgan, James O’Brien, Dua Lipa and Sam Smith.

Learning about public health messages that worked ̶ like messaging on hand washing and hand hygiene ̶ and which did not, for example the Government’s ‘Stay alert’ message ̶ will be vital in order to protect the public in the event of a second wave of COVID-19. It will be important too, to address the apparent decline in interest in discussing the virus online and, in some cases, outright opposition to public health measures which some deem overly restrictive.

Communicating Public Health: Performance of Public Health Messages and the...

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