A guide to messages about the coronavirus


Do you have a feeling of being lost among the various coronavirus messages? Is everything a bit cloudy with different attitudes, calls, and difficulties in getting proper overviews of opinions?

Propastop is coming to the rescue with clarifications of the coronavirus messages. We are explaining the situation using a map, with groups of different messages as continents and islands, the size of which conditionally corresponds to the visibility of their respective position in the public space. From the accompanying legend, you can read who is behind the messages and how critical they are of the mainstream.

Where do you place your attitudes and views on this map?

Supporters of the measures
The most visible group, whose position can be summarized with the phrase “The coronavirus is a serious disease, and to overcome it, one must do as our leaders and doctors say.”

The main topics of this group are giving instructions to the group, establishing rules of conduct and observing restrictions. The tone of the messages is practical-anxious; if there is criticism then it is of the deniers of the measures.

The speakers in the group are primarily state structures (ministries, the Health Board), medical institutions and doctors. The media through the dissemination of campaigns, appeals and slogans support the group’s messages. Ordinary people help, for example by mediating their coronavirus experiences or using the somes “I have been vaccinated” frame. As a rule, it is clear who is forwarding the group’s messages and their agenda.

Health Board Facebook page
Vaktsineeri.ee website
Delfi’s assessment of the anti-restriction demonstration

Data monitors
A small group whose attitude is expressed by the phrase “Let’s see what the data shows”.

The focus of the messages is on statistics, facts and numbers. Because of the analysis, the measures are either supported or moderately criticized, sometimes with suggestions of their own.

The speakers of this group are the authorities and the mass media mediating coronavirus statistics, specialists in opinion articles, various experts and those interested in topic via social media. As a rule, the speaker and his position are clearly identifiable.

Daily coronavirus statistics on ERR news programs
Postimees’ coronavirus indicator news
Indrek Saul’s Facebook page

Vaccine hesitaters
A perceptibly sized group, whose attitude can be expressed with the phrase “I agree with the vaccination, but not with the vaccine that is being offered. I would rather monitor the situation. ”

The focus of the group is on vaccines, their viability and side effects. Other issues remain in the background. The tone is rather hesitant, which is why the views seem critical or even anti-vaccine.

The majority of speakers are ordinary people. Some of them trust the Sputnik V, while others are more suspicious of AstraZeneca. The press has a role to play in mediating people’s hesitations and highlighting news of side effects. The Kremlin, who is behind the Sputnik V’s propaganda, is interested in amplifying the message.

ERR’s story of Estonian Russians’ distrust of some vaccines
Õhtuleht’s editorial

Critics of the methods
A large group whose agenda sums up the phrase “The coronavirus is a serious disease, but the wrong steps are being used to curb it”. The focus is primarily on criticism and grumbling about the solutions proposed and implemented, and offering ideas that could-should be done differently. The speakers are from a mixed circle of individuals and organizations. They are from various work sectors as well as businesspersons who have been hit with coronavirus related restrictions and opposition political forces. There are many different groups of ordinary people, such as parents who cannot take their children to kindergarten or people who have not been able to get vaccinations. Family doctors have been saying that vaccinations should be organized differently. The group also includes experts who criticize official coronavirus communication. The press has a role to play in disseminating the messages of this group by criticizing actions and decision-makers.

ERR news about the failure of vaccination campaigns
Soccernet.ee criticizes the decision of the Health Board regarding football teams
Family school forum topic on government actions

The anti-vaccine group
A small group with the agenda “Coronavirus may be a serious disease, but vaccination is not the answer”. The messages have focused on opposition to this particular coronavirus measure, being neutral or moderately critical on other issues. Speakers are usually clearly identifiable, concentrated in anti-vaccine some groups. There are also links to conspiracy theorists who, for example, suspect chips being hidden in vaccines.

Facebook Group against Vaccines

Proponents of alternative treatments
A rather small group with the message “There may be a coronavirus disease, but other treatments than officially offered, will fight against it”. The messages are focused on promoting solutions based on one’s own worldview.
Speakers include more or less esoteric somes groups that promote alternative medicine, naturopathy, crystal therapy, MMS consumption, proper nutrition, energy balance, or healing with belief-religion.

Recommendations on folk medicine Facebook group

People against coronavirus related restrictions
A fairly large group whose message contradicts the supporters of the coronavirus measures. “The restrictions implemented to contain the coronavirus are far beyond what is necessary,” is their mantra.          What sets the group apart is the tone of the messages: they are defiantly opposed to masks, vaccines, restrictions or surveillance. Dissatisfaction with what is happening is expressed in radical demands, either in tightening or in easing something.

The speakers are a wide range of individuals and organizations, both from private companies and from the extremist wing of the political opposition. There are also conspiracy theorists full of energy. The press does not mediate this circle of messages directly, but indirectly by covering their activities, for example by highlighting demonstrations in the news and interviewing activists. This can give the impression that the group has a larger voice than they really have. There are indications that the interests of foreign influencing agents are behind this group, but it is difficult to establish links.

TV3 interview with anti-mask married couple
Virtual demonstration against restrictions in Facebook
Objektiiv.ee editorial

Anti-government groups
A small group that focused directly on criticism of the current leaders “Leaders must step down because they have not reacted correctly to the crisis.” The critical and opposing attitude is focused on the dislike of the decision-makers.

Speakers are rather clearly identifiable political opponents and their media channels.

Anti-government posts on Facebook

Coronavirus non-believers
The most extreme group, whose message can be summed up with the phrase “There is no coronavirus; everything that is happening is overreaction”. The focus is on denying the pandemic as such, but also on justifying what is happening with conspiracy theoretical views.

As speakers, reference can be made to conspiracy theory groups and individual activists. As one of the subgroups, we highlight the coronavirus disbelievers who show by their actions, such as parties, that the coronavirus does not exist.

Telegram.ee thematic discussion
The ETV show “Pealtnägia “ (Eyewitness) gives an overview of pandemic deniers


Message map: Propastop (read about access here)