DAVIS, Calif. — COVID-19 has been headline news for over a year now. Although the virus is still out there and new cases come in every day, a new study finds the public is starting to tune out coronavirus updates. Researchers from the University of California-Davis say society is becoming desensitized to the health crisis, especially when it comes to following pandemic-era safety measures.
Their study looked at both COVID-19 new articles and reaction to these updates on Twitter to see how the public’s attitudes are changing since early 2020. Researchers say that despite the death toll continuing to increase, people are generally showing less concern about COVID-related news.
It’s a drastic change from where the world was just over a year ago. In the spring of 2020, many people started to hoard essential supplies like toilet paper, panic-buying whatever items they could find, and generally reacting with extreme anxiety on social media.
Communications doctoral student Hannah Stevens says that’s no longer the case. In fact, the findings reveal people are now shifting back to risky social behavior and are less fearful of ignoring pandemic measures like social distancing.