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Sociocultural and behavioural factors affecting communities' response to countermeasures for COVID-19 epidemic: identifying interventions to build trust

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Culture, Epidemiology & Public Health, Healthcare Delivery & Policy, Social Impacts

'Fear might be a bigger threat than the virus.' As public health authorities increase efforts to address the new coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19), rumours, misinformation, and xenophobic online posts are spreading faster than the virus. Fear and misinformation have direct implication on the implementation of effective public health measures to control the epidemic. With this research, we will examine the individual and sociocultural factors that impact individual's and communities' adoption of public health recommendations. This study will use qualitative and quantitative methods to describe online discourses related to COVID-19 in Canada (Tweets and comments on news media report) and to describe individual/ community understanding of disease, priorities, fears, etc. including public health messaging that may impact the acceptance of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. We will also identify interventions that will help build public trust in authorities responsible for disease spread and management, while dispelling unfounded rumours and xenophobic discourse.