Tag Archives: public health threat

Illnesses of controversial celebrities can negatively affect public health

Not all public figures are equally beloved, and sometimes when more controversial celebrities get sick, it may negatively affect people’s health intentions. In a study of people’s reactions to radio host Rush Limbaugh’s announcement of a lung cancer diagnosis and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s announcement of a diagnosis of COVID-19, researchers at Penn State found that those who took pleasure in their misfortune were themselves less likely to take steps to prevent lung cancer or COVID-19.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

“Schadenfreude is the emotion of feeling pleasure in another’s misfortune,” said Jessica Gall Myrick, associate professor of media studies. “In our study, after learning the news of a politician’s illness, if people felt schadenfreude, they were much less likely to intend to take the actions that would prevent either lung cancer or COVID-19.”

In general, previous research by Myrick has found that coverage of celebrity ailments can raise public awareness of serious illnesses, which can then serve as a motivation for people to avoid bad activities or start new healthy routines. But most studies on the topic examine how the public responds to well-liked celebrities. Respondents were not asked if they liked or disliked the person reporting the illness in the current study, but rather if they felt schadenfreude upon hearing the news of Limbaugh and Paul.

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CDC on coronavirus

I remain freaked out concerned about the coronavirus and what is being done to control it around the world. Here is what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had to say about it Friday morning.

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Confirmed 2019 coronavirus as of 11:00 a.m. ET 7 Feb 2020

CDC is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (named “2019-nCoV”) that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which continues to expand. Chinese health officials have reported tens of thousands of infections with 2019-nCoV in China, with the virus reportedly spreading from person-to-person in parts of that country. Infections with 2019-nCoV, most of them associated with travel from Wuhan, also are being reported in a growing number of international locations, including the United States. Some person-to-person spread of this virus outside China has been detected. The United States reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with this virus on January 30, 2020…. Continue reading

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