Social media goes to war against the virus

A lather fun: Singing and dancing yourself clean.

At first, the official advice was to sing “Happy Birthday” while washing your hands. Now, people are getting creative on social media in attempts to help control the spread of the virus.

What’s happening

Last week the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus to be a pandemic. Countries are taking strict steps to control its spread and issuing their own guidance. Meanwhile, the internet is bursting with memes and videos sharing information and tips on hand washing, and cheering us up.

Find out more

Handwashing has turned into karaoke. People are using social media to share their favourite 20-second songs to sing at the sink, while memes combine humour with official advice, updates, and health tips.

Now a song, Jealous Coronavirus, released by the Vietnamese government is helping to prevent the spread of the virus. The tune is not just an earworm, it is packed with vital information.

The chorus goes like this: “Let’s wash our hands, rub, rub, rub, them / don’t put your hands on eyes, nose, mouth / limit going to crowded places, fight back against corona!”

The catchy song has gone viral on social media and there is now a dance challenge including hand-washing movements.

Is social media the best way to share health information?

Some say…

Not really, we should stick to trustworthy news. Social media has no means of regulating individual updates, meaning rumours can spread dangerously. This leads to fear among users and a lack of useful advice. Sites like Instagram, TikTok and Twitter are not helpful for older people who rely on news services for clear advice and information.

Others think…

Of course, it is. Firstly, it is immediate. Most people check their feeds more frequently than the news. Songs like Jealous Coronavirus should be encouraged as they are sharing helpful tips. Social media also helps to maintain positivity. By sharing enjoyable, accurate information, individuals are fighting misinformation and fearmongering.

You Decide

  1. Are labels like “pandemic” helpful?

Activities

  1. Design your own meme that could be share on the internet to tell people about coronavirus and how to prevent it spreading.

Some People Say...

“Social media is like Chinese whispers. You can say one thing and, five people down the line, it’s something quite different.”

Carol Kirkwood, BBC weather presenter

What do you think?

Word Watch

Pandemic
An epidemic is an outbreak of a disease that quickly infects a large number of people. When an epidemic spreads over a wide area, it is called a pandemic. Coronavirus has spread to more than 100 countries and has affected thousands of people.
Earworm
A catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind long after it’s stopped playing. Does Jealous Coronavirus get stuck in your head?
Misinformation
False or inaccurate information, often intended to deceive. Misinformation spreads easily in group chats where people gossip and exchange stories.
Fearmongering
Deliberately encouraging public fear or alarm about a particular issue. Fearmongering about coronavirus has led to people bulk buying food, toilet roll, and soap.

Subjects

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