Case Report - February 11, 2021

You're reading Case Report, a digest of our expert network's best research, analysis, and policy recommendations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is continuing to ramp up, providing a much needed light at the end of the dark tunnel that is this pandemic. But along with the logistical issues of this rollout comes another complication - misinformation and conspiracy theories. In this Case Report, SSN members tackle the research behind these information challenges and offer a way forward.

COVID-19 misinformation on Chinese social media – lessons for countering conspiracy theories
In both the United States and China, COVID-19 conspiracy theories have flourished on social media - but careful messaging, educational campaigns, and even help from the right influencers can improve the public’s understanding, finds science communication expert Kaiping Chen in a new study of the Chinese social networking site Weibo. [The Conversation]

Covid Q&A: Can Vaccinated People Still Spread the Virus?
Answering a common reader question, immunology researcher Matthew Woodruff explains that people who have been vaccinated can still contract the coronavirus for two main reasons: the vaccines are not 100% effective and though vaccinated people are protected from symptoms, they may still have low-level infections that they don’t even notice. [Bloomberg]

Men Seem to Endorse COVID Conspiracies More Than Women. Why?
Men have been found to be more susceptible to COVID-19 conspiracy theories than women, potentially putting them at greater risk of death from the virus. Political scientist Erin Cassese suggests that the reason for the gender divide could be “learned helplessness,” the belief that their lives and actions are outside of their control. [Vice]

Some Latino groups more wary of Covid vaccine, so messaging needs to be tailored, experts say
Political scientist Gabriel Sanchez lays out his new research with Juan Peña that shows an "element of fear and mistrust" when it comes to the vaccine in Latino communities, particularly among Latinos of Puerto Rican and Mexican origins. Looking forward, they argue that the Biden Administration must more aggressively counter the overwhelming amount of bilingual vaccine disinformation Latinos have been exposed to over the past months. [NBC News]

Most High School Students Are OK With Wearing Masks: Survey
While vaccines are critical for getting us out of this pandemic, experts agree that we must also continue to practice public health measures like wearing masks and social distancing. Discussing her new research with Anne Mueller, sociologist Sarah Diefendorf says that adults can play an important role in encouraging mask-wearing behaviors among young people. [HealthDay]