CDC weighs use of TikTok to promote COVID-19 safety

The CDC is considering using popular social media platform TikTok to urge younger people to take public health precautions seriously amid a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country, according to CNBC.

As several states see surges of new coronavirus cases, data shows that adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s represent a growing proportion of new cases. Though younger people are not likely to develop severe cases of COVID-19, the concern is that they would transmit the virus to older adults, who are at higher risk, CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, said on a conference call with reporters June 25.

On the same call, Jay C. Butler, MD, the CDC's deputy director for infectious diseases, said that the message needs to be sent to young people that "they are not somehow naturally immune to this virus." One of the avenues the agency is exploring to get that message out is TikTok, CNBC reports.

The app allows users to view and post short videos. It uses an algorithm to determine what kind of videos a particular user likes to see and fills their feed with those types of videos. Organizations can also pay to post short advertisements.

TikTok is especially popular among young people, and the CDC is considering using it to promote public health measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

"I remain concerned about trying to understand effective public health messaging that we need to get to those individuals that are under the age of 45, under the age of 30," said. Dr. Redfield.

TikTok did not immediately comment on whether the agency had reached out to the company, CNBC reports.


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