Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Assessing the Predictive Power of Online Social Media to Analyze COVID-19 Outbreaks in the 50 U.S. States

Version 1 : Received: 2 June 2021 / Approved: 3 June 2021 / Online: 3 June 2021 (11:37:56 CEST)

How to cite: Sun, J.; Gloor, P.A. Assessing the Predictive Power of Online Social Media to Analyze COVID-19 Outbreaks in the 50 U.S. States. Preprints 2021, 2021060105 Sun, J.; Gloor, P.A. Assessing the Predictive Power of Online Social Media to Analyze COVID-19 Outbreaks in the 50 U.S. States. Preprints 2021, 2021060105

Abstract

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to rage worldwide, the United States has become the most affected country with more than 34.1 million total confirmed cases up to June 1, 2021. In this work, we investigate correlations between online social media and Internet search for the COVID-19 pandemic among 50 U.S. states. By collecting the state-level daily trends through both Twitter and Google Trends, we observe a high but state-different lag correlation with the number of daily confirmed cases. We further find that the predictive accuracy measured by the correlation coefficient is positively correlated to a state’s demographic, air traffic volume and GDP development. Most importantly, we show that a state’s early infection rate is negatively correlated with the lag to the previous peak in Internet search and tweeting about COVID-19, indicating that earlier collective awareness on Twitter/Google correlates with lower infection rate. Lastly, we demonstrate that correlations between online social media and search trends are sensitive to time, mainly due to the attention shifting of the public.

Subject Areas

Online Social Media prediction, Covid-19 prediction, Twitter, Google Trends

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