The emergence of COVID-19 as a global pandemic made it necessary for the public to remain constantly abreast of updates on the virus as the latest information became available, which led to a huge spike in news and media consumption at the beginning of the pandemic. But how have Americans’ consumption of COVID-19 related news content changed now that it has been almost two years since the beginning of the pandemic?
In a quest to answer this question, CivicScience asked over 2,700 U.S. adults whether they are consuming coronavirus news more, just as much, or less than at the beginning of the pandemic. Sixty-five percent report that they consume COVID-19 news content just as much or more than they did during the early days of the pandemic, while more than a third (35%) report consuming less.
As the pandemic wears on and the virus continues to rapidly spread in some parts of the U.S., it is understandable why more than three-quarters (77%) of U.S. adults report experiencing news fatigue when it comes to updates about the coronavirus pandemic. Although it is not ideal, some Americans are simply getting tired of consuming COVID-19 related news content and taking coronavirus precautions.
Unsurprisingly, the Americans currently experiencing COVID-19 related news fatigue make up the large majority (85%) of those consuming coronavirus news content less now than at the beginning stages of the pandemic. In contrast, those with news fatigue only make up 70% of the U.S. adults consuming just as much COVID-19 news content as before. What’s also interesting is that the majority (75%) of Americans consuming even more news content now than they were in early 2020 are actually experiencing news fatigue and growing tired of it.
Surprisingly, those who are financially better off now than before the COVID-19 pandemic are experiencing more news fatigue than those who are financially the same or worse off. The large majority of those financially better off (83%) are experiencing news fatigue. This is significantly more than the 70% of those financially worse off who are experiencing it.
Age also seems to play an important factor in whether or not someone is experiencing news fatigue. People under the age of 35 are less likely to be feeling tired of COVID-19 related news than their older counterparts.
Although Omicron cases are finally declining in the United States, many Americans are still showing concern about this fast-spreading variant. Those that are very concerned about the Omicron coronavirus variant make up 39% of those consuming more COVID-19 news content now than at the beginning of the pandemic, and only 10% of those consuming less. As would be expected, those not at all concerned about the Omicron variant make up the majority (58%) of those consuming less COVID-19 content than before.
Americans who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or know someone who has been diagnosed with the virus make up more than two-thirds (69%) of those consuming more COVID-19 news content than at the beginning of the pandemic. This could be attributed to the fact that these individuals have witnessed the effects of the virus first-hand and are thus more interested in updates than those who have not been as directly affected.
Americans who report being financially better off now than before the COVID-19 pandemic account for a third of those consuming more coronavirus news content than before. Perhaps these individuals are following the news more closely because their financial position is dependent on any updates on the virus and changes in the market (e.g., stock traders).
Although attention to COVID-19 news related content seems to be fading as the pandemic wears on, many Americans are still consuming updates just as much or more than at the beginning of the pandemic, especially if they or someone in their household has contracted the virus itself.