State Health Department Communication about Long COVID in the United States on Facebook: Risks, Prevention, and Support
COVID-19; long COVID; social media; health departments; social networks; Facebook; health communication
Greater public awareness of long COVID severity and susceptibility is needed to support those with long COVID and encourage preventive behaviors. It is not yet known to what extent health departments have informed the public about long COVID risks or offered guidance and support for those with long COVID. The objective of this research was to determine how and to what extent US state health departments have communicated with the public about long COVID via Facebook. Facebook posts with COVID-19 and long COVID terms made by 50 US state health departments plus Washington, DC, from 1 January 2020 to 31 January 2022, were collected using CrowdTangle. The first long COVID post appeared on 15 July 2020. From 15 July 2020 to 31 January 2022, state health departments made 49,310 COVID-19 posts and 137 long COVID posts. Using quantitative content analysis methods, long COVID posts were coded for health belief model constructs. Among long COVID posts, 75.18% included language about susceptibility, 64.96% severity, and 64.23% benefits of prevention. Cues to preventive action appeared in 54.01% of posts. 19.71% of posts provided guidance for those with long COVID. While health departments posted extensively about COVID-19, posts about long COVID were rare. This represents a missed opportunity to bolster arguments for preventive behaviors and support those experiencing long COVID.
Laestadius LI, Guidry JPD, Bishop A, Campos-Castillo C. State Health Department Communication about Long COVID in the United States on Facebook: Risks, Prevention, and Support. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(10):5973. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105973