COVID-19 Tweets of Governors and Health Experts

Deaths, Masks, and The Economy

Authors

  • Tim Hua Middlebury College
  • Chris Chankyo Kim Stanford University
  • Jack Zhang University of Chicago
  • Alex Lyford Middlebury College

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.47611/jsr.v10i1.1171

Keywords:

COVID-19, Twitter, Governors, USPolitics, Healthcare Professionals, Doctors, Social Media, USGovernors, Democrat, Republican

Abstract

As COVID-19 spread throughout the United States, governors and health experts (HEs) received a surge in followers on Twitter. This paper seeks to investigate how HEs, Democratic governors, and Republican governors discuss COVID-19 on Twitter. Tweets dating from January 1st, 2020 to October 18th, 2020 from official accounts of all fifty governors and 46 prominent U.S.-based HEs were scraped using python package Twint (N = 192,403) and analyzed using a custom-built wordcount program (Twintproject, 2020). The most significant finding is that in 2020, Democratic governors mentioned death at 4.03 times the rate of Republican governors in their COVID-19 tweets. In 2019, Democratic governors still mentioned death at twice the rate of Republicans. We believe we have substantial evidence that Republican governors are less comfortable talking about death than their Democratic counterparts.

We also found that Democratic governors tweet about masks, stay-at-home measures, and solutions more often than Republicans. After controlling for state-level variations in COVID-19 data, our regression model confirms that party affiliation is still correlated with the prevalence of tweets in these three categories. However, there isn’t a large difference between the proportion of COVID-19 tweets, tweets about the economy, tweets about vaccines, and tweets containing “science-like” words between governors of the two parties.

HEs tweeted about death and vaccines more than the governors. They also tweeted about solutions and testing at a similar rate compared to governors and mentioned lockdowns, the economy, and masks less frequently.

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Published

2021-03-31

How to Cite

Hua, T., Kim, C. C., Zhang, Z., & Lyford, A. (2021). COVID-19 Tweets of Governors and Health Experts: Deaths, Masks, and The Economy. Journal of Student Research, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsr.v10i1.1171

Issue

Section

Research Articles