Can social media tell you how Covid-19 safe others are?


With all the guidelines around proper mask wearing, social distancing, and other Covid-19 precautions, many of us have had the experience of seeing someone on social media not following the rules, and wondering what to do next.

Dr. Carisa Parrish, Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, told KCBS Radio that she’s seen lots of scrutiny at Johns Hopkins on having “community behavior be in sync with our professional behavior, to prevent community spread for those of us that work in the hospital setting.”

She said she understands that people want to be safe, which could be the reason for stalking their coworkers’ socials.

Social media may be one way for people to keep track of whether the people they spend time around are taking precautions seriously, but it’s easy for the platforms to turn into something that isn’t constructive.

Dr. Parrish said that calling out people’s behavior isn’t always the best way to change their mind, and even if we do see people being safe outside of work, we still need to follow precautions at the office.

“Knowing what someone is doing all the time outside of work doesn’t change how safe we need to be.” She noted that just because someone practices different precautions than you do at home, “it doesn’t necessarily change what I’m going to do to be safe when I’m at work with my coworkers.”

She emphasized how important it is to be cautious whether or not you’ve seen how someone is handling the pandemic.

“We still need to wear our masks at work, we need to practice social distancing, we need to limit in person meetings regardless of how well we know exactly the behavior of every single other coworker.”

Even if we see other people on their social media unmasked, the best way to stop the spread is to take precautions ourselves and to limit interactions with others, regardless of if we think we know what they’ve been doing.

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