According to a survey conducted by Pew Research in April and June, the three most common types of sources that the public uses to get updated on COVID-19 include the national news outlets, public health organizations, and local news outlets. The results of these surveys and the details of these common types are presented in this report.
Most Common Types of Sources
- According to a survey of 10,139 conducted between April 20 and 26, the top three sources of information that the public trusted were the National News outlets, public health organizations, and local news outlets.
Type 1: The National News Outlets
- According to a Pew Research conducted in April, 26% of US adults rely on national news outlets to get information about the coronavirus. This pandemic has increased news consumption across the globe as upticks have been noted in both TV and online viewership. Additionally, in terms of the corona outbreak/spread, 56% of adults rely on national news outlets.
- Men make up 51%, whites make up 65%, the largest age bracket is 30 to 49 and it makes up 32%, and 43% have had a college education or higher.
Type 2: Public Health Organizations
- According to a Pew Research conducted in April, 18% of US adults rely on public health organizations. Additionally, in terms of the corona outbreak/spread, 51% of adults rely on national news outlets. According to a survey conducted between June 4th and June 10th, 64% believe that the CDC and other health organizations get the facts right.
- Women make up 54%, whites make up 63%, the largest age bracket is 30 to 49 and it makes up 37%, and 39% have had a college education or higher.
Type 3: Local News Outlets
- According to a Pew Research conducted in April, 18% of US adults rely on local news outlets. Additionally, in terms of the corona outbreak/spread, 46% of adults rely on national news outlets. According to a survey conducted between June 4th and June 10th, 50% also believe that the local news outlets get their facts right all/most of the time.
- Women make up 59%, whites make up 54%, the largest age bracket is 30 to 49 and it makes up 35%, and 48% have a high school diploma or less.
- This table provides a breakdown by percentage for the different types of sources.
- This table provides data on the specific outbreak data. It is important to note that the order of the different types is still the same as the one above.
- This table provides the breakdown based on the ones thought to have the most accurate information/data.
- This data represents the demographic breakdown for the different sources of information on COVID-19.
Differences (Primarily Political)
- This research also reveals that political affiliations play a part in the channels of choice. This survey reveals that 90% of those who rely on Trump and the task force are Republican. The image below shows the correlation between a political party and source types.
News Sources that Healthcare Professionals Trust
- Healthcare organizations work under the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). These organizations rely on the CDC for information. Since the pandemic began, it has been vital to ensure that accurate and reliable information is publicly available. For this reason, the CDC set up an online COVID-19 information center.
- This information center provides comprehensive insights into this pandemic: how to ensure protection, what to do when ill, signs and symptoms, self-check, the number of cases in the US, insights into how to travel safely in this season, among others. This information center also provides guidelines for healthcare workers and laboratories. Such a comprehensive resource is a gold-mine for healthcare professionals in this pandemic season. Additionally, the CDC sends out updates through its social media pages: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn. These are the number of followers/subscribers/likes for each of these platforms: 3,100,00 followers; 3,621,900 followers; 478,000 subscribers; 1,700,000 followers, and 1,256,445 followers; respectively.
- The CDC Newsroom is the ideal place where they update the public on the current situation and any new relevant information. It provides an account of the most recent number of cases in the US and any efforts around mitigation and finding solutions for this pandemic.
- As a part of the HHS, the FDA ensures safety in the use of drugs and medical devices by enforcing regulations across the nation. This is in addition to regulating the safety of food and other consumer products. During this pandemic, the FDA is tasked with “accelerating innovation that makes medical products more safe and effective.” Just like the CDC, the FDA also provides updates/insights through its social media pages on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
- The FDA also has a COVID-19 information center that addresses the concerns of the industry, FDA staff members, stakeholders, and the public. It also provides insights into authorization and guidance during this emergency and additional insight into protective equipment. This source would be critical for doctors and healthcare professionals as they navigate this pandemic. It ensures that they practice within the boundaries of FDA regulations.
- Another resource for these professionals is the health and medical news presented by the World Health Organization. The WHO “events as they happen” page on its website provides current news and alerts. This organization provides global insights and guidelines that health ministries across the globe should implement. By providing a timeline of the entire pandemic, healthcare professionals are better informed. Additionally, trials, treatment options, and alternatives are also openly addressed to ensure better management of the pandemic.
- The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a COVID-19 information center that provides information for different people in different fields. This resource has a section that addresses the management of this pandemic. It provides insights around best practices, resource road maps, supporting patient and health workers, insights for state, local, tribal, and territorial governments. It also addresses the aspects of recovery and economic support and also provides insights into understanding data and knowing how to prioritize resources.
- In addition to its website, the HHS posts important information across its social media pages: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Each of these social media platforms has a number of followers that are quickly and adequately informed. 1,000,000 followers, 78,900 subscribers, 284,366 followers, 42,900 followers, and 234,367 followers, respectively.
- Leaders across the US were overwhelmed by the pandemic as it grew and spread across the US. As such, different leaders took steps to handle this pandemic. One example is how leaders in Seattle allowed medical professionals and the CDC to take charge of managing the pandemic.
- To make matters worse, leaders with ulterior motives are taking steps that are endangering the lives of Americans. The public has expressed distrust in the government because of the public health measures taken that oppose science and factual data. Organizations that were being affected by the lock down also had a part to play in quickly reopening economies and spreading anti-science ideas that would be both financially and politically advantageous.
- As demonstrated in the previous research, political leaders have also played a critical role with a sharp contrast based on political parties. President Trump and the Republican party have opposing views on how to handle the pandemic and where they get their information. These differences have polarized the nation. The results of the Pew Research are also presented below.
- It is important to note that US leaders would be inclined to trust the following sources of information, although this may differ across the board. At the early stages of the pandemic, the primary sources of COVID-19 news were the CDC with 85%, WHO with 77%, and state government with 70%.