April 29, 2020

About Seven-in-Ten U.S. Adults Say They Need to Take Breaks From COVID-19 News

2. COVID-19: Both a national and local news story

Most Americans pay equal attention to national and local COVID-19 newsAs evidenced in the mix of sources Americans rely on for news, the coronavirus outbreak is touching people’s lives both nationally and closer to home.

A majority of U.S. adults (61%) say they are giving about equal attention to both national and state and local coronavirus news. About a quarter (23%) are paying closer attention to state and local elements of the outbreak, while 15% are most engaged in national-level news.

Within the news coverage, many Americans are closely following a wide range of topics, again with both national and local orientations.

Americans are following a range of national coronavirus topics very closelyAmong six national-level storylines asked about, roughly four-in-ten or more U.S. adults are very closely following the economic impact (46%), advice from national health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (40%), the health impact on people like them (40%) and the tally of cases and deaths (38%). About a third are following the actions and statements of the federal government very closely (34%) and the ability of hospitals across the country to treat patients (33%).

Among local COVID-19 topics, government actions and the stocks at local stores are most closely followedAmericans are following each of seven local and state coronavirus topics asked about quite closely as well, though at percentages a bit lower than for the national storylines.

The two local storylines followed very closely by the largest segments of U.S. adults are actions by state and local governments (42%) and the availability of food and other essentials in local stores (38%). About three-in-ten are very closely following the status of local schools (30%), businesses (29%) and hospitals (28%) and the availability of COVID-19 tests (29%). The availability of unemployment benefits and other aid is being very closely followed by a quarter of Americans.