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Most Americans think the media have exaggerated the risks of coronavirus, poll says


Bipartisan skepticism

Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Have you felt like the national media has overhyped the risks of the coronavirus? If so, a majority of Americans apparently agree with you.

Stay calm?

During the time of national and global emergencies, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the information coming in. The coronavirus pandemic is no exception.

Americans are being updated — not daily, not hourly — by the minute with stats on infections and deaths.

We're being told to stay home, keep our distance, stock up on necessities (but not too much), and prepare for the worst.

Schools are closed.

Businesses are suffering.

Sports are canceled.

The markets are ... not doing great. And experts are warning of a recession — maybe even a depression.

The White House warned that unemployment could hit 20%.

All the while, Americans are being told to stay calm.

What's the data?

With all of the craziness being reported by the media, most of our fellow citizens believe that the media have overblown the actual risks of COVID-19, according to a survey from Pew Research.

Pew reported Wednesday that though 89% of Americans say they're following the coronavirus news closely, 62% of them believe the media have exaggerated the risks, with more than a third (37%) saying the risks have been "greatly exaggerated."

Nearly half (48%) of those polled said they have seen at least some made-up news about COVID-19.

A graphic showing how Americans are following COVID-19 news very closely and think media are covering it very or somewhat well. But most think the media have exaggerated the risks, and about half say they have seen at least some made-up news about COVID-19.

Republicans are significantly more likely to hold this view, but it's not just GOPers — a group long distrustful of the national media — who feel the media have exaggerated the risks. Nearly half of Democrats feel the same.

According to Pew's numbers, 77% of Republicans and 49% of Democrats say the news media have exaggerated COVID-19 risks.

Majority of Americans think the news media have exaggerated COVID-19 risks at least slightly; Republicans more likely to say so than Democrats

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