This article discusses the role of YouTube and the entertainment industry in saving lives by educating and mobilizing the public to adopt behaviors for community mitigation of COVID-19.
Effective community mitigation through voluntary behavior change is currently the only way to reduce mortality caused by COVID-19. This study is based on the scientific premise that YouTube is one of the most effective ways to communicate and mobilize the public in community mitigation to reduce exposure to SARS-COV-2.
The authors conducted a follow-up study to document how coverage of preventive behaviors for effective community mitigation have changed. Using a successive sampling design, they compared coverage of behaviors to mitigate community transmission of COVID-19 in the1 00 most widely viewed YouTube videos in January 2020 and March 2020.
They found that videos in the two samples were viewed > 125 million times and >355 million times, respectively. Fewer than one-half of the videos in the March sample covered any of the prevention behaviors recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but many covered key prevention behaviors and were very widely viewed. There were no videos uploaded by entertainment television in the January sample but this source comprised the majority of videos and garnered the majority of cumulative views in the March sample.
In summary, this study demonstrates the incredible reach of YouTube and the potential value of partnership with the entertainment industry for communicating and mobilizing the public about community mitigation to reduce mortality from the COVID-19 viral pandemic.