Map of the U.S. with a Twitter icon on top.

A new study by researchers in the UAB School of Public Health illustrates how stigmatizing language by those in power — in this case, the president of the United States — can reach across the country in a very short period of time. Henna Budhwani, Ph.D., and Ruoyan Sun, Ph.D., looked at the week before and the week after the March 16 presidential tweet calling the novel coronavirus the “Chinese virus” on his official Twitter account. How, they wondered, did other Twitter users respond?

In their study, published on April 26 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Budhwani and Sun report that tweets containing the words “Chinese virus” or “China virus” rose nearly ten-fold, to 177,327 between March 19-25 from 16,535 between March 9-15, with increases across all 50 states. They mapped tweets at the state level, calculating posts per 10,000 citizens to normalize for population differences among states.

Read Full Article in the UAB Reporter

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