GCI Health/Harris Poll finds ‘clear desire for non-COVID-related content’

Americans want to hear about topics that are hopeful and inspirational, found a study from the two organizations.

Bellevue Hospital in New York City. (Photo credit: Getty Images)
Bellevue Hospital in New York City. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

NEW YORK: People are growing tired of coronavirus-related content, according to the COVID-19 Health Impact Survey by GCI Health and The Harris Poll.

The study, which was conducted online April 14-16 among 2,033 U.S. adults, found that 93% of respondents are interested in non-COVID-related content. Another finding: 40% of Americans want to see stories of hope and inspiration (41% and 39%, respectively). Similarly, two-thirds (66%) feel overwhelmed by news coverage of the topic.

“There is a clear desire for non-COVID-related content,” said GCI Health CEO Wendy Lund. “At the beginning of all this, there was a significant need to be sensitive. We should still be sensitive, but this is an important time for communicators to rethink our strategies. People want to hear more about topics that are more hopeful and inspirational.”

Not everyone is experiencing the pandemic in the same way, the survey found. For people living with a chronic illness, about half (48%) feel there is the right amount of information available to them about COVID-19, while 33% feel there is too much and 13% feel there isn’t enough. Half of Americans (52%) are having trouble finding information on other health conditions due to coronavirus coverage. 

The study also found that people managing a chronic health condition are more likely than others to want to hear about preparing for emergencies (47%), tips for improving mental well-being (46%), stories of hope (44%) or information on alternative medicine (32%).

Lund said the findings show communicators should take a customized and diverse approach to coronavirus-related content.

“This pandemic is impacting everyone differently, so as communicators we have to be really thoughtful about not having a one-size-fits-all approach to this,” she said. “People want to hear less about COVID-19 and more about other things.”

Lund added that information communicated in authentic ways with a more empathetic, supportive and grateful tone that balances the negative news about COVID-19 will be well received.

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