Psychological Aspects In Time Of Pandemic. Juan Moisés De La Serna

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Название Psychological Aspects In Time Of Pandemic
Автор произведения Juan Moisés De La Serna
Жанр Медицина
Издательство Медицина
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9788835413622

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Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University, USA (John Hopkins, CSSE, 2020) reports, numerically and visually, the numbers of cases, deaths and recoveries, both for each individual country and worldwide.

      Illustration 2. Infections as at 7th March 2020

      Thus, on 7th March 2020, which is when this book begins, the number of cases worldwide is 102.470, distributed amongst 101 countries. China has 80,651 cases, followed by South Korea with 7,041 and Iran with 4,747. Spain is in tenth position with 401 cases (See Illustration 2).

      The portal also reports that the number of deaths to date is 3,491 people, with 57,462 having recovered from the disease.


Updating the previous data on 19th March 2020, the number affected worldwide is 218,827 people, distributed amongst 160 countries, with the number of worldwide deaths 8,811. (See Illustration 3)

      Illustration 3. Infections as at 19th March 2020

      Looking at Google (Google Trend, 2020) regarding the search trends for COVID-19, a term designated by the WHO on 11th February 2020 to refer to the new coronavirus that emerged in a province of China, and whose first case of the disease was reported on 31st December 2019 (WHO, 2020), it can be seen how numbers of searches for this term have been progressively increasing worldwide, doubling between 11th and 12th February, 23rd and 24th February and 1st and 2nd March, a reduction only observed between 28th

February to March 1st (See Illustration 4).

      Illustration 4. Evolution of the search term

      Regarding interest shown by specific countries, it can be seen that the country that has generated most searches within the last month has been Singapore, followed by Iceland, China and Hong Kong. Out of the total 65 countries in Google’s results, USA is in 20th position and Spain is 48th. Turkey is in final position (See Illustration 5).

      As can be seen, there is no direct correspondence between the countries with the greatest number of cases and the concern generated amongst their populations reflected in the searches. This may be due to other factors, such as the generation of alarmism in certain populations for instance, or usage of means other than Google to obtain pertinent information. For example, in some Asian  Description automatically generatedcountries the most commonly used search engine is Baidu.

      Illustration 5. Searches by country

      It should also be noted that COVID-19 was previously referred to as the new coronavirus 2019 (n-CoV) and also known as “China virus” or “Wuhan virus” – Wuhan being the name of the Chinese province where the virus originated, so some users will continue to search with these old terms. In addition, the term ‘coronavirus’, which is the name of the family of this particular virus, or simply ‘virus’ may be used. For this reason, if data is only collected for the term ‘COVID-19’ the overview would be incomplete. This could explain the difference demonstrated between countries in terms of number of deaths and order of interest shown from Google searches.

      Therefore, if the previous search is carried out, but including the terms COVID, Virus and Coronavirus as search terms, it can be seen that concern for this issue began on 20th January 2020, and that the term COVID or COVID-19, which is its official name, is hardly used at all in information searches on the subject, with the search of the term Virus being considerably higher and the term  Description automatically generatedCoronavirus higher still (See Illustration 6).

      Illustration 6. Terms on Google related to COVID

      In the previous graph one can see there was initial interest shown in both terms Virus and Coronavirus between 20th and 31st January followed by a progressive loss of interest up until 20th February when interest in the term Coronavirus increases exponentially.

      Focussing on this last term, the country that has searched it the most on Google is Italy, followed by Singapore and Switzerland. Out of the 64 countries for which data is available Spain is in fifth place and USA is nineteenth (See Illustration 7).

      This data does correspond to the growing number of infections, except in the case of Ireland where one could speak of an instance of social alarmism over actual data of the time.

       Description automatically generatedIllustration 7. Search of the term Coronavirus by country

      One of the problems facing social psychologists is in achieving customer brand loyalty, a brand being that which is used in the identification of a certain person, product or company. Normally when thinking of a company like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s or IKEA, it is with reference to the products they sell. With other brands such as UPS, Iberia or Microsoft, it is with regards the services they offer. This is something which exerts a decisive influence on the purchase of any product or service, which is no longer based just on one’s own judgement, but on the influence of the opinion of others and the media via advertising.

      If one thinks of Stephen Hawking, Barack Obama or Rafael Nadal in the same way, it is no longer in terms of products or services, but in respect of their personal branding or brand they have developed through their scientific, political and sporting careers respectively. In other words, emotional aspects become associated with a brand which may be linked to a person, a company and even a place.

      The same happens when it comes to the naming of disasters, as in the case of the tropical cyclones which annually afflict a large part of the Caribbean and North America. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO, 2020) these names follow pre-established rotating lists, and for many they leave behind the memories of the effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or Ike in 2008.

      In principle the names bear no relation to the dates of the events, the damaging incidents themselves, or the most affected areas. Amongst them are English and Spanish names e.g. Barry, Gonzalo and they may be male or female e.g. Lorenzo, Laura. But does the name of a tropical cyclone have any impact upon the population?

      An answer to this question has been sought by the Department of Administration and Business in conjunction with the Department of Psychology, the Institute of Communications Research, and the Women and Gender Surveys Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois; together with the Department of Statistics of Arizona State University (Jung, Shavitt, Viswanathan & Hilbe, 2014).

      The study analysed the climatic consequences of hurricanes in the USA over the last six decades, differentiating between those with male and female names. The first finding was that those with female names had been the most destructive and the cause of most deaths.

      It should be remembered that the list of names is preassigned and their assignment organised consecutively, so a priori there is no relationship between the gender of the name and the intensity of the hurricane. A list of hurricane names, 5 male and 5 female were given to 346 participants for them to rate the considered extent of each hurricane’s intensity on a Likert-type scale from 1 – 7. The results showed that male-named hurricanes tend to be evaluated as more destructive than female-named hurricanes, regardless of each participant’s gender.

      This study made it possible to understand why, in the face of warnings from the authorities, sometimes more and sometimes fewer preventative measures tend to be taken. It is, in fact, simply due to whether the hurricane’s assigned name is male or female.

      In contrast, the designation of diseases within the health field are usually indicated by an acronym which relates to certain identifying characteristics of its location, symptoms or consequences.