This article was originally published here
Physica A. 2022 Jun 15;596:127119. doi: 10.1016/j.physa.2022.127119. Published online March 3, 2022.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, a better understanding of the co-evolution of information and epidemic dissemination networks is important for pandemic-related policies. Using the microscopic Markov chain method, this study proposed an aware-aware-infected (ASI) model to explore the effect of information literacy on the propagation process in such multiplex networks. We first introduced a parameter that adjusts the self-protection-related execution capacity of aware individuals in order to emphasize the importance of protective behaviors versus awareness in decreasing the likelihood of infection. The model also captures the heterogeneity of individuals in their mastery of information. Simulation experiments have shown that individuals with high information knowledge are more susceptible to information adoption. Moreover, epidemic information can only help suppress epidemic spread when individuals’ abilities to transform awareness into genuine protective behaviors reach a threshold. In communities dominated by highly literate individuals, a greater information literacy gap can improve awareness and thus help suppress the epidemic in the whole group. In contrast, in communities dominated by low-literacy individuals, a smaller gap in information literacy may better prevent the spread of the epidemic. This study contributes to the literature by revealing the importance of heterogeneity in individuals’ information literacy on the spread of the epidemic in different communities and has implications for how to inform people when a new epidemic disease emerges.