Across the country, coronavirus-related school closures, telecommuting, and event cancellations have impacted millions. As the pandemic continues to spread, Americans are turning to the news for the latest updates on curfews, quarantines, and hot spots. CivicScience asked more than 17,100 U.S. adults about their preferred channels for information.
In the last two weeks, the number of U.S. adults using online news as their source for updates on the coronavirus has been increasing. In the last week alone we saw an uptick of 7%. TV is the second closest news source on the pandemic – roughly a third of U.S. adults – but that number is gradually decreasing.
Over the next few weeks we could continue to see a decline in TV usage for news.
Frequent Consumption of News Contributes to Rise in Concern
As it stands, those most concerned about the spread of the virus are tuning into updates online and on TV. It seems that the only people who are dramatically less concerned about the spread than they were the week before are those who are not following the news at all.
News Prompts Action
Engagement with the news online may correlate with the high levels of grocery stockpiling that have taken place across the country in the last week. Grocery store shelves being wiped clean indicates a strong relationship between reading – or watching – breaking news and taking action accordingly.
At this moment, the vast majority of U.S. adults are following news related to the coronavirus, primarily online. Within the last week, social media news has shown a small but noticeable increase, perhaps as more Americans seek up-to-the-minute information during this time of uncertainty.