Background An infodemic is an overabundance of information—some accurate and some not—that occurs during an epidemic. In a similar manner to an epidemic, it spreads between humans via digital and physical information systems. It makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. Objective A World Health Organization (WHO) technical consultation on responding to the infodemic related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was held, entirely online, to crowdsource suggested actions for a framework for infodemic management. Methods A group of policy makers, public health professionals, researchers, students, and other concerned stakeholders was joined by representatives of the media, social media platforms, various private sector organizations, and civil society to suggest and discuss actions for all parts of society, and multiple related professional and scientific disciplines, methods, and technologies. A total of 594 ideas for actions were crowdsourced online during the discussions and consolidated into suggestions for an infodemic management framework. Results The analysis team distilled the suggestions into a set of 50 proposed actions for a framework for managing infodemics in health emergencies. The consultation revealed six policy implications to consider. First, interventions and messages must be based on science and evidence, and must reach citizens and enable them to make informed decisions on how to protect themselves and their communities in a health emergency. Second, knowledge should be translated into actionable behavior-change messages, presented in ways that are understood by and accessible to all individuals in all parts of all societies. Third, governments should reach out to key communities to ensure their concerns and information needs are understood, tailoring advice and messages to address the audiences they represent. Fourth, to strengthen the analysis and amplification of information impact, strategic partnerships should be formed across all sectors, including but not limited to the social media and technology sectors, academia, and civil society. Fifth, health authorities should ensure that these actions are informed by reliable information that helps them understand the circulating narratives and changes in the flow of information, questions, and misinformation in communities. Sixth, following experiences to date in responding to the COVID-19 infodemic and the lessons from other disease outbreaks, infodemic management approaches should be further developed to support preparedness and response, and to inform risk mitigation, and be enhanced through data science and sociobehavioral and other research. Conclusions The first version of this framework proposes five action areas in which WHO Member States and actors within society can apply, according to their mandate, an infodemic management approach adapted to national contexts and practices. Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related infodemic require swift, regular, systematic, and coordinated action from multiple sectors of society and government. It remains crucial that we promote trusted information and fight misinformation, thereby helping save lives.
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Our society is built on a complex web of interdependencies whose effects become manifest during extraordinary events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, with shocks in one system propagating to the others to an exceptional extent. We analyzed more than 100 millions Twitter messages posted worldwide in 64 languages during the epidemic emergency due to SARS-CoV-2 and classified the reliability of news diffused. We found that waves of unreliable and low-quality information anticipate the epidemic ones, exposing entire countries to irrational social behavior and serious threats for public health. When the epidemics hit the same area, reliable information is quickly inoculated, like antibodies, and the system shifts focus towards certified informational sources. Contrary to mainstream beliefs, we show that human response to falsehood exhibits early-warning signals that might be mitigated with adequate communication strategies.
The purpose of this study is to understand the impact of health status and cultural participation upon psychological well-being, with special attention to the interaction between patterns of cultural access and other factors known to affect psychological well-being. Data for this report were collected from a sample of 1,500 Italian citizens. A multi-step random sampling method was adopted to draw a large representative sample from the Italian population. Subjects underwent a standard questionnaire for psychological well-being [the Italian short form of the Psychological General Well Being Index (PGWBI)], and a questionnaire related to the frequency of participation to 15 different kinds of cultural activities during the previous year. The results show that, among the various potential factors considered, cultural access unexpectedly rankes as the second most important determinant of psychological well-being, immediately after the absence or presence of diseases, and outperforming factors such as job, age, income, civil status, education, place of living and other important factors. According to a semantic map generated by a powerful data mining algorithm, it turns out that different factors (among which cultural access and health status in particular) may be viewed as concurrent elements of a complex multi-causal scheme that seems to play a primary role in determining psychological distress or well-being. In particular, distress seems to be tightly connected with: living in the Southern part of Italy, average income level, living in semi-urban and urban areas, age group 46-60, presence of more than two concomitant diseases and a low level of cultural access. Well being, on the other hand, is tightly connected with: male gender, high
In this paper we carry out a meta-analytic review of the literature on culture-led local development models. We identify and discuss three typical fallacies characterising mono-causal culture-led development schemes: instrumentalism, over-engineering, and parochialism. We then discuss their analytical background, and provide examples illustrating the consequences of each. Based upon this critical discussion, we make a case for a ‘new territorial thinking’ approach that takes into account the tangled hierarchy of global and local viewpoints that is connatural to spatially situated cultural production, and focuses upon a non-linear, multi-causal scheme as the only possible framework for the policy design of credible, socially accountable, culture-led development strategies.
We provide an experimental evaluation of the impact of aesthetic experiences in terms of stress reduction (cortisol levels) and wellbeing increase. The test experience is a visit to the vault of the Sanctuary of Vicoforte, Italy. Data have been collected using a double step method. A structured interview in relation to the individual subjective well-being has been administered to a sample of 100 subjects. In addition, a sample of their saliva has been taken, and its cortisol level measured, before and after the experience, and likewise for momentary wellbeing measured on a Visual Analogous Scale. Subjects reported an average increase of 40% in wellbeing and a decrease of the 60% in the cortisol level. The recorded cortisol level values dropped on average well beyond the decrease normally associated to its circadian cycle. The modulating role of various variables has been appreciated, and profiling of the typical subjects who are wellbeing respondents/non-respondents and cortisol respondents/non-respondents has been carried out. We conclude that aesthetic experience seems to have a noticeable impact on individual physical and mental health. In both dominions, cultural participation intensity is significantly correlated to the response. The study underlines the potential of the arts and culture as a new platform for public health practices and new approaches to welfare policy design.
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