In a new story from Axios, Americans are mostly ignoring the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, despite the fact its one of more the infectious variants discovered. Why? Writers Sara Fischer and Neal Rothschild say its “pandemic fatigue” combined with no real appreciation of the greater threat the variant poses.
From the story: “The big picture: The urgency and novelty of COVID news in the early days of the pandemic has given way to fatigue as news readers grow used to the same cycles of coverage.
- The arrival of the pandemic in early 2020 created a media frenzy unlike any other news story in modern history as consumers sought information about what the virus meant for daily life.
- Since then, the COVID picture has vacillated between grim and promising as waves of cases, hospitalizations and deaths rise and fall.
- Partisan debates — about lockdowns, mask mandates, vaccine mandates and alternative treatments — have become repetitive as they draw out.
“[T]hose who engaged in vigilant information seeking in the past may no longer feel the same need to do so,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
- Vaccinated people “may have concluded that there is not much more they can do or need to learn,” Jamieson said, while unvaccinated people “assume that infection is unworrisome or inevitable or that they have already survived infection or that they are invulnerable to it.”
As a winter surge, thanks to Omicron, rises in America, the lack of response to the new variant is troubling, but ultimately unsurprising.
To read the rest of the story and see the data on Axios, click here.