COVID 19-related infodemic and its effects during COVID-19 outbreak among medical students in North India

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India

2 Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi, India



Introduction: Outbreak of novel disease COVID-19 led to rapid and instantaneous spread of information internationally through the growing popular use of internet and social media. Infodemic leads to stress-related health effects like headache, sleeplessness, anxiety. Our study was conducted to assess the perceived information overload related to COVID-19, its associated factors and its effects among medical students of a medical college.
Methods: A cross sectional analytical study was conducted in a medical college in Delhi among the 240 medical undergraduates during March-April 2020. The data related to perceived information overload, socio-demographic details, platforms in which Infodemic is felt and health and academic effects of Infodemic were collected using semi-structured self-administered questionnaire. Data was collected in EpiCollect and analysed using STATA statistical software version 14. A p value less than 0.05 is considered significant.
Results: Out of 240 students included in the study, 68.3% (95% CI:61.9-74.1) perceived the presence of Infodemic. Female gender (OR=3.9, 95%CI:2.1-7.3) and upper socio-economic status (OR=14.2, 95%CI: 4.4-45.2) were significantly associated with the perceived presence of Infodemic. Television (73.1%) was the most common platform in which Infodemic is perceived followed by WhatsApp (53.6%). Stress related health effects were there in 84(51.2%) students and Infodemic had affected the academic learning processes in 104(63.4%) students.  
Conclusion: In conclusion, our study observed that Infodemic was perceived in two third of the study participants with television and WhatsApp being the most common platforms. Half of the students who perceived Infodemic had stress-related health effects and two third of them reported that Infodemic affected their learning processes.