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    Research Letter
    April 7, 2020

    US Public Concerns About the COVID-19 Pandemic From Results of a Survey Given via Social Media

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California
    • 2Section of Epidemiology and Population Science, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
    • 3Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California
    JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(7):1020-1022. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1369

    In this survey study, we aimed to rapidly assess public concerns about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis1,2 in the United States before shelter-in-place orders were widely implemented. Specifically, we assessed concerns about COVID-19, symptoms, and individual actions in response to the pandemic.

    On March 14, 2020, we posted an online cross-sectional survey3 on 3 social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and Nextdoor) to collect data on symptoms, concerns, and individual actions taken. Twitter and Facebook posts were shareable to facilitate snowball sampling. The institutional review board at Stanford University approved this study, and informed consent was obtained from participants. Participants were informed of the purpose, risks, and benefits; minimal personal information (eg, zip code and Qualtrics location) was collected. The survey included 21 questions (multiple choice, single choice, numeric, and open ended). A paper version of the survey was pilot tested with 41 participants, who were not included in the final results. In addition to demographic data (Table), we asked about recent cold and flulike illness. Other questions addressed participants’ concerns and lifestyle modifications. All questions were optional; thus, the number of respondents to each question varied. As of March 16, 2020, 844 of 3233 (26.1%) US counties had at least 1 respondent (range, 1-868 respondents). More details about the Methods are provided in the Supplement.