Food from Thought Researcher Publishes Study on Predicting COVID-19 Waves Using Social Media

Thu, 10, June, 2021 by Food from Thought


Dr. Rozita Dara, a professor in the School of Computer Science led a study evaluating several digital data streams, notably Twitter and Google searches as early warning signals of COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada and the US. The study found that initial COVID-19 waves in both countries were detected by social media at least a few days or even up to two weeks earlier than official records.

Dara said public health authorities need to pay attention to social media, particularly early on as a potential indicator of infectious disease outbreaks.

“We wanted to find out whether public health officials can use Twitter to predict a pandemic or a disease outbreak spread, and we have shown that’s possible and it can be achieved with a high accuracy,” she said.