Day 27 – Q 2. What role have social influence and persuasion played in containing the spread of COVID-19? Illustrate. 

  • IASbaba
  • July 10, 2020
  • 0
GS 1, Indian Society, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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2. What role have social influence and persuasion played in containing the spread of COVID-19? Illustrate. 

COVID-19 के प्रसार को रोकने में सामाजिक प्रभाव और अनुनय की क्या भूमिका रही है? उदाहरण देकर स्पष्ट करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to write about how social influence and persuasion played role in containing the spread of COVID-19. It also expects students to write about how more effectively it can be used to contain the spread of COVID-19. 


The government, civil society groups, Bollywood – Hollywood celebrities, common people etc used social influencing and persuasion as tools to spread the message to contain the spread of COVID-19. “Janata curfew” is a classical example of Social influence and persuasion. 


Role played by social influence and persuasion to contain spread of COVID-19:

  • Social influence and persuasion are the keys to bring behavioural changes to solve societal & global problems like caste system, patriarchy, climate change, solid waste management,COVID-19 etc.
  • Government of India took a simple but very effective Social influencing move by putting information about COVID-19 symptoms and the following steps to tackle  as the caller tune of mobile rings. It led to wide scale spread of information to people, as there are nearly 116 crore mobile phone subscribers in India today. 
  • Government of India’s social media handles are frequently posting the information related to COVID-19 on its social media platforms like Instagram, facebook. So  information  with great details reached people. For instance, how to wash hands in graphical format influenced peoples hand washing habit leading to contain the spread of COVID-19.  
  • One of the main weapon to fight with corona virus is to social distancing. Celebrities all over the world appealed to the fellow citizens to maintain social distancing. Which considerably persuaded people and influenced their  habits. e.g. Video messages by celebrities  like Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachhan etc.
  • Political leaders lead with examples, either through their speeches or acts told people what to do and what not to. For instance, Prime ministers and Presidents of various countries faced camera while giving information with mask put on.
  • New York Governor, provided a great example when he made a plea for ventilators asking for anyone who could (within his state or outside) to send the ventilators they are not using and New York will gladly supply you with more later. It led to people donating ventilators to hospitals in New York.
  • People who were felling low to follow home or institutional quarantine also understood the importance of the quarantine procedure and started following quarantine strictly it also helped to contain the spread of virus.
  • Hence, cumulative effect can be seen that in many of the countries the COVID-19 curve has started to flatten.
  • It also led to normalise the new normal i.e. wearing the mask, frequently washing hands, maintaining social distance etc.
  • after a few weeks of social distancing and self-isolation because of Covid-19, we have noticed the decline in our social interactions and might have felt the change in our mental and physical health. Social influencing also helped to tackle these kind challenges too.

In this way Social influencing and persuasion have played a very effective  role to make people aware and change their thinking, behaviours, attitudes & habits according to the need of time.

  • Many of the false information’s  were also spread through the social media platforms which influenced people’s minds. For instance, Corona virus also spreads through eggs, which in turn affected poultry industry.
  • But in these kind of scenarios too, social influencing and persuasion played role through spread of right information. It in turn also assured the livelihood of many people and helped to contain spread of corona virus.

Also following practises can also be followed to increase the effectivity of Social influence and persuasion:

  • Highlight a gap: For young people who might resist, ask what they would suggest an elderly grandparent or a younger brother or sister do. Health officials in Thailand used this approach in anti-smoking campaign.  Rather than telling smokers their habit was bad, they had little kids come up to smokers on the street and ask them for a light.  Not surprisingly, the smokers told the kids no.
  • Pose questions : Public health messaging tries to be direct: Junk food makes you fat,  Drunk driving is murder. But being so forceful can make people feel threatened. The same content can be phrased in terms of a question: “Do you think junk food is good for you?” If someone’s answer is no, they’re now in a tough spot. Same can be done by posing question to those people who roam around without using mask.


Therefore, social influence and persuasion are dynamic & powerful tools that hold a huge potential to change the face of world. If creatively used, they can prove to  be the most effective tool to tackle the fight with COVID-19  ,and win over it too. 

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