In Journal of computational social science
COVID-19 has proven itself to be one of the most important events of the last two centuries. This defining moment in our lives has created wide-ranging discussions in many segments of our societies, both politically and socially. Over time, the pandemic has been associated with many social and political topics, as well as sentiments and emotions. Twitter offers a platform to understand these effects. The primary objective of this study is to capture the awareness and sentiment about COVID-19-related issues and to find how they relate to the number of cases and deaths in a representative region of the United States. The study uses a unique dataset consisting of over 46 million tweets from over 91,000 users in 88 counties of the state of Ohio, a state-of-the-art deep learning model to measure and detect awareness and emotions. The data collected is analyzed using OLS regression and System-GMM dynamic panel. Findings indicate that the pandemic has drastically changed the perception of the Republican party in the society. Individual motivations are strongly influenced by ideological choices and this ultimately affects individual pandemic-related outcomes. The paper contributes to the literature by expanding the knowledge on COVID-19 (i), offering a representative result for the United States by focusing on an "average" state like Ohio (ii), and incorporating the sentiment and emotions into the calculation of awareness (iii).
Awareness, COVID-19, Emotion classification, Twitter