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Hope Amid A Pandemic: Is Psychological Distress Alleviating In South America While Coronavirus Is Still On Surge?
As of November 17, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has over 55 million reported cases, causing more than 1.3 million deaths. To prevent this pandemic, some countries placed severe resection in the form of full-scale lockdown, while others took a moderate approach, e.g., mass testing, prohibiting large-scale public gatherings, restricting travels. South America adopted primarily the lockdown strategies for not having a sophisticated public-health infrastructure. Since the social interactions between people are primarily affected by the lockdown; psychological distress, e.g., anxiety, stress, fear are supposedly affecting the South American population in a severe way. This paper aims to explore the impact of lockdown over the psychological aspect of the people of all the Spanish speaking South American capitals. We have utilized infodemiology approach by employing large-scale Twitter data-set over 33 million feeds in order to understand people’s interaction over the months of this on-going coronavirus pandemic. Our result is surprising: at the beginning of the pandemic, people demonstrated strong emotions (i.e. anxiety, worry, fear) that declined over time even though the actual pandemic is worsening by having more positive cases, and inflicting more deaths. Therefore, the result demonstrate that the South American population is adapting to this pandemic thus improving the overall psychological distress.