In a new study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), researchers discovered that news coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in urban areas affected citizens in the more rural parts of the country; so much so, they were more likely to follow social distancing and other pandemic protocols in their areas.

From the paper’s abstract: “For some rural residents, their local news often focuses on urban communities with issues quite different from their own. We show that rural residents are more likely to engage in social distancing behavior than otherwise similar rural residents if their local news is produced in a city that is more impacted by COVID-19. Despite the urban-rural differences, coverage of the pandemic’s impact in the more urban counties is able to slightly, but significantly, impact the willingness of rural residents to engage in social distancing.”