YouTube is the second most popular website in the world and is increasingly being used as a platform for disseminating health information. The authors’ aim was to evaluate the content‐quality and audience engagement of YouTube videos pertaining to the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)‐CoV‐2 virus which causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‐19), during the early phase of the pandemic.
They chose the first 30 videos for seven different search phrases: “2019 nCoV,” “SARS CoV‐2,” “COVID‐19 virus,” “coronavirus treatment,” “coronavirus explained,” “what is the coronavirus” and “coronavirus information.” Video contents were evaluated by two independent medical students with more than 5 years of experience using the DISCERN instrument. Qualitative data, quantitative data and upload source for each video was noted for a quality and audience engagement analysis.
Out of the total 210 videos, 137 were evaluated. The mean DISCERN score was 31.33 out of 75 possible points, which indicates that the quality of YouTube videos on COVID‐19 is currently poor. There was excellent reliability between the two raters (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.96). 55% of the videos discussed prevention, 49% discussed symptoms and 46% discussed the spread of the virus.
Most of the videos were uploaded by news channels (50%) and education channels (40%). The quality of YouTube videos on SARS‐CoV‐2 and COVID‐19 is poor, however, the authors have listed the top‐quality videos in their article as they may be effective tools for patient education during the pandemic.