Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Social media won't stop infectious disease [Letter]

The problem with using social media to predict the outbreak of infectious diseases lies within accuracy, demographics and how much people are willing to share ("Social media can help contain illness," Dec 2).

Recently, more and more people have been making their social media profiles private in fear of their public status being used against them. Careers and futures have been ruined because of a single social media post, something that would never have occurred in decades past. Furthermore, using social media to predict outbreak of illness is inaccurate due to the user demographics being dominated by 18-to-29-year-olds who are not at a high risk for getting sick compared to the elderly and children who as a group do not use social media as frequently.

Although the author acknowledges the inaccuracy of Sickweather due to people's current connectivity and engagement, there is still no way to rule out social media users misdiagnosing themselves or exaggerating their symptoms. Also, there is no evidence to show that the awareness of an infectious disease outbreak will slow its spread. People will continue to go to work and school and be exposed to potential threats — even if some iPhone app tells them there is an outbreak.

Michael Bent, Derwood

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Hogan wrong to block smog rules
    Hogan wrong to block smog rules

    Gov. Larry Hogan wants "better communities ... and better lives," for us and "our children and our children's children." But action speaks louder than words, and retracting well-researched, broadly-supported, health-improving smog regulations was no way to achieve these wants ("Hogan moves...

  • Jackson-Lee commemoration should stay
    Jackson-Lee commemoration should stay

    I read with interest Ann C. Kehinde's letter ("Timing of Jackson-Lee event just coincidence?" Jan. 22). The idea of which came first, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday or the Jackson-Lee commemoration, is really a specious argument. Both Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson...

  • A new day in Annapolis?
    A new day in Annapolis?

    Thanks to The Sun for all those who wrote so many kind perspectives on Larry Hogan, our new governor ("Hogan pledges culture of 'tolerance and mutual respect' in Annapolis," Jan. 21).

  • Coping with climate change
    Coping with climate change

    A recent letter to the editor points out that a solution to climate change is available that could be supported by Republicans ("Carbon fee is bipartisan solution to climate change," Jan 22).

  • Turning a blind eye to mental illness
    Turning a blind eye to mental illness

    We were outraged to read that mental health funding was slashed by the Board of Public Works earlier this month in order to close a state budget gap ("Balancing Md.'s budget on the backs of the mentally ill," Jan. 21).

  • Hogan's budget cuts will hurt too many Marylanders
    Hogan's budget cuts will hurt too many Marylanders

    Gov. Larry Hogan campaigned on a pledge to reduce the budget, but the impact may be disproportionately felt by the most vulnerable: small businesses, people on fixed or limited incomes and children ("Hogan budget would cut state worker pay, city school aid," Jan. 22).

Comments
Loading