Originating in China’s Wuhan province in December 2019, Coronavirus (or Covid 19) has spread rapidly to infect thousands of people worldwide.
But how has social media responded to this potential pandemic disease?
We took a look at the most striking and popular Facebook and Twitter posts to find out.
News From China
As the epicenter of coronavirus, China has been dealing with the disease for over 2 months, and thankfully infection rates are now dropping. Many social posts are demonstrating the extreme measures the Chinese government and it’s people are taking to prevent transmission.
The news stories vary from topics such as mass disinfection of public streets to the more bizarre example above.
Health organisations are highlighting information designed to slow and prevent the spread of coronavirus. Video posts are a popular way to get this vital message across to the public.
UNICEF used this video to give practical health advice and it was shared 1400 times in the first 4 hours since it was posted!
While the virus has wiped hundreds of millions of dollars from the stock market values of companies around the world, some businesses see the disease as an opportunity – manufacturers of face masks and hand sanitizing gels have seen record demand for their products.
Big Pharma has also not been slow to see the potential with an $11.5 billion deal for the developer of a coronavirus testing kit.
Photos of empty shelves are being shared widely on Twitter as consumers in several countries bulk buy products for the worst case scenario. Even huge retailers such as Target in the United States have been affected by the panic buying.
In this video an older gentleman from Italy expresses his frustration that all the pasta has gone from the supermarket – it’s a must see if you want to smile!
The British Response
In order to promote their message about hand washing and good hygiene, the British government has encouraged people to sing the national anthem while washing their hands, as washing with soap and water for the duration of the song will ensure that germs are removed effectively.
Although this may seem like a joke, it’s actually a serious tactic!
The rapid spread of the infection has led to numerous social media posts speculating on the global economic impact of coronavirus. Huge firms such as Microsoft have advised their employees to stay at home and work remotely, and more businesses look set to do the same.
To make life easier for established companies, startups, and schools, Google is making the premium version of Hangouts Meet free for the next few months.
The Smog Has Cleared
A surprising but welcome effect of the Covid 19 outbreak has been the lowering of air pollution levels due to the shutdown of industries in China. So while the disease threatens the health of Chinese residents, it may also have a beneficial indirect health effect for those people who avoid coronavirus.
Could there be lessons to be learnt in the future regarding how to change industry working practices to permanently lower air pollution levels?
As people become more nervous about the virus and paranoia grows, the usual methods of personal greetings such as handshakes, kisses, and hugs are being replaced with less intimate methods of communication.
In some societies these changes risk being seen as impolite or rude, but for the time being elbow bumps and waving are a much safer option
Caught In A Net
One of the strangest posts in February was a widely circulated video showing a Chinese SWAT team capturing an uncooperative coronavirus patient by throwing a fishing net over his head!
Thankfully, this was a practice exercise and we have no idea if the ‘fishing’ technique has been used in a real life situation...
Unsurprisingly, social media conspiracy theorists have jumped on Covid 19 and labelled it as anything from a United Nations biologically engineered disease that lowers population levels, to a Chinese or American government weapon.
Like most other conspiracy theories, the suggestions lack any kind of scientific evidence, but that hasn’t stopped these posts being shared widely, especially on Twitter.
No matter what the true chances of acquiring coronavirus are, some social media users cannot help but purposely put themselves at a higher risk of infection! In the example above which you can view here, an Iranian man licks a shrine to show people that his religious beliefs will save him from coronavirus.
We wish him well!
The entrepreneur Joubert Botha once said “Every time you are able to find some humor in a difficult situation, you win.” Despite the potentially serious consequences of coronavirus, many posts on Twitter are heeding this quote and are attempting to make light of the issue… and we admit it, some are entertaining.
Not sure how effective this DIY mask will be but at least he is trying to protect himself!
On Twitter, it seems that memes are not off-limits for any subject… and that includes Covid 19. This meme plays on the fact that an unbelievable 38% of Americans who took part in a recent survey said they would not buy Corona beer due to the coronavirus outbreak 😲
Luckily, this has not affected purchases – Corona’s CEO confirmed sales have actually risen 5% in the past month!
While fear and humour are both being expressed across social media, there are also a number of heartwarming posts – successful recoveries, end of isolation stories, and in this post an expression of gratitude for the steps people are taking to protect themselves and others.
It’s worth remembering that the overwhelming majority of people who get coronavirus fully recover, and we can vastly reduce our chances of contracting the infection by following a few basic prevention measures.