Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Data: Newswhip, The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Ahead of Thanksgiving travel, new coronavirus cases in the U.S. have never been higher, and online interest in the pandemic has never been lower, according to data from NewsWhip provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The novelty of the virus has long worn off with half a year passed since our lives were upended. But the health risks haven't gone anywhere.

By the numbers: Over the last two weeks, news articles about the pandemic have generated 75 million interactions on social media (likes, comments, shares), according to NewsWhip Data.

  • The last time it was that low over a two-week stretch was in early March.

Between the lines: Online interest in the coronavirus has been associated mostly with how disruptive it's been to people's lives rather than how severe of a risk it posed.

  • Interactions peaked as Americans entered lockdowns and adapted to working and learning from home. It has declined since then, save for an uptick when cases surged in June.
  • Even President Trump getting infected in October only led to a relatively modest bump in interest.

The big picture: Lower interest — not less media coverage — is responsible for the lower engagement.

  • The number of news articles published about coronavirus are comparable to the level of coverage when cases spiked in June and July.
  • The 174 interactions per article last week are the lowest they've ever been during the pandemic.
  • Similarly, mentions of "coronavirus" and "COVID-19" have remained consistently high on cable news over the past eight months, usually averaging between 100 and 200 minutes of monthly coverage on each cable network, with the most coverage coming from CNN, per the Stanford Cable News Analyzer.

Yes, but: The election has been dominating most of the news coverage lately, so COVID coverage has had to compete with that.

Be smart: Sociologists argue that one reason that the public has perhaps become more apathetic towards media coverage about the virus because it's become too redundant and often, alarmist.

  • The media is "overproducing the article of the day" without thinking about what reader value it's creating, said Zeynep Tufekci, a UNC professor and prominent sociologist and writer, on the recent Recode Media podcast.
  • Tufekci cites an example of media outlets covering rare deaths caused by vaccine trials as an example of fear-mongering coverage that forces listeners to tune out.
  • "We end up in an environment in which people don't trust the media as much. You don't just jump on every potential twist when people are freaked out."
  • Her advice to the media moving forward: "Publish less. People are publishing readable stuff but are over-simplifying."

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.