Hollywood star Tom Hanks and his wife actress Rita Wilson were diagnosed with COVID-19 last year, becoming one of the first major celebrities to contract the disease.
His diagnosis and social media posts helped shape Americans' perception of the disease, according to Jessica Gall Myrick from the Pennsylvania State University in the United States.
Until his diagnosis, many Americans were still learning about the virus and its severity.
Researcher Myrick said that this adds to how celebrities can change the public perception through voice on social media or otherwise, in the study published in the journal Health Communication.
She added that celebrities can have a huge reach often better than typical scientists or doctors. They can also influence people in a positive manner.