Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread globally since December 2019. Twitter is a popular social media platform with active discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic. The public reactions on Twitter about the COVID-19 pandemic in different countries have not been studied. This study aims to compare the public reactions towards the COVID-19 pandemic between the United Kingdom and the United States from March 6, 2020 to April 2, 2020. Data: The numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom and the United States were obtained from the 1Point3Acres website. Twitter data were collected using COVID-19 related keywords from March 6, 2020 to April 2, 2020. Methods: Temporal analyses were performed on COVID-19 related Twitter posts (tweets) during the study period to show daily trends and hourly trends. The sentiment scores of the tweets on COVID-19 were analyzed and associated with the policy announcements and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Topic modeling was conducted to identify related topics discussed with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom and the United States. Results: The number of daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom was significantly lower than that in the United States during our study period. There were 3,556,442 COVID-19 tweets in the United Kingdom and 16,280,065 tweets in the United States during the study period. The number of COVID-19 tweets per 10,000 Twitter users in the United Kingdom was lower than that in the United States. The sentiment scores of COVID-19 tweets in the United Kingdom were less negative than those in the United States. The topics discussed in COVID-19 tweets in the United Kingdom were mostly about the gratitude to government and health workers, while the topics in the United States were mostly about the global COVID-19 pandemic situation. Conclusion: Our study showed correlations between the public reactions towards the COVID-19 pandemic on Twitter and the confirmed COVID-19 cases as well as the policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Collection : COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv