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

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Reproduced from Nielsen; Chart: Axios Visuals

While usage of most mobile apps has remained neutral during the coronavirus pandemic, social media app usage has exploded during the lockdown, according to new data from Nielsen.

Why it matters: Prior to the pandemic, consumers and tech companies were both becoming more aware of the overuse of social media and actively trying to limit it. In a time when people can't connect with friends and family in person, companies have put these efforts on pause.

By the numbers: Prior to the pandemic, social media usage for most of January, February and early March remained relatively flat at around 20% of total mobile app usage, according to Nielsen's data.

  • But beginning in mid-March, when statewide stay-at-home orders went into effect, social media app usage began to increase significantly, and now consumes around 25% of all mobile app usage for U.S. adults.
  • Other media app usage, like video, lifestyle, and finance apps have mostly remained the same, in part because consumers are now leveraging other devices, like desktops and television screens, for more activities while home.

The bottom line: The coronavirus pandemic is deepening users' immersion in social media at a moment when society had just begun to question it.

Go deeper: Tech companies target your sanity

Go deeper

Jul 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

The Axios Harris Poll 100 reputation rankings: The Corona companies

Data: Harris Poll COVID19 Tracker Wave 20; Table: Axios Visuals

Americans really love Clorox right now.

The big picture:: The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a new wave of public approval for companies that have helped modernize and digitize the American household, according to a new Axios/Harris poll.

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.