U.S. COVID-19 Coverage & Conversation: April 6-7

The U.S. has been paying close attention to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s condition, and coverage focused on the update about his transfer to the ICU due to his symptoms worsening.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt has been seeing a spike in positive cases of COVID-19. As of this morning, at least 173 crew members have been tested positive.

As the United States passed 10,000 deaths due to COVID-19 we also saw coverage about the increase of cases slowing down over the past two days in New York. They are also reporting daily hospitalizations and intubations are also down.

More and more people are now pleading for others to practice social distancing properly to prevent the virus from spreading. In addition to this, there is more coverage on the need of wearing masks when in public.

Peter Navarro, President Trump’s adviser, had a heated exchange with CNN’s John Berman about hydroxychloroquine. Navarro argued that his training in statistical studies as an economist made him qualified to push back against health experts on the potential use of the anti-malaria drug as a treatment option for COVID-19. This came after Navarro’s heated confrontation with Dr. Fauci over the weekend.

We continue to see coverage and intrigue around the tiger that tested positive for COVID-19 in the Bronx Zoo over the weekend. Coverage is focusing on the condition of the animals that have tested positive as well as queries into how the virus might act in a different species.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evans issued an executive order on Monday afternoon to postpone the primary election in the state to June 9th due to the pandemic. However, later in the day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Wisconsin Republicans who had challenged Evans’ order. Even before this election, officials in the state were seeing an extraordinary amount of requests for absentee ballots from voters who wanted to avoid the pandemic.

John Krasinski did it again – with his new web-based show “Some Good News” he was able to surprise a 9-year-old girl who had planned to see Hamilton for her birthday, but due to the pandemic the show had been cancelled. As a big fan of the play she was crushed, but Krasinski brought the full original cast of Hamilton on a Zoom call where they serenaded her with her favorite song.

Note: The map showcases the different types of topics that have been covered and talked about in the past 24 hours. The map details how each of these topic clusters are tied to or connected to other topic clusters.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The World Health Organization’s spotlight: With cases in the U.S. increasing every day, the public is looking for information that they can get their hands on. To meet this demand, the WHO is meeting the public where they are: on social media. The organization continues to create and share informational content on COVID-19 during media briefings. Additionally, to celebrate World Health Day (04/06) the organization showed appreciation for those who are on the front lines fighting the pandemic.
  • The treatment debates continue: We are seeing more and more coverage around the anti-malaria drug (hydroxychloroquine) and its potential to be used as a treatment for COVID-19. Health officials have been very clear that the drug might be lethal if taken in high doses and emphasized that there still needs to be rounds of testing before it can be assessed as a potential treatment. However, yesterday we saw coverage of Peter Navarro going against what health officials have been saying and sharing his belief on the efficacy of the drug.
  • Questions around COVID-19 and other species: After the news about a tiger in the Bronx Zoo testing positive for the virus, we continue to see coverage around the impact the virus might have on other animals. As part of the conversation, people are now asking if cats are at risk as the Zoo is monitoring the condition of the 5 big cats (2 tigers and 3 lions) that tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Will we return back to “normal”?: On Monday, Dr. Fauci continued to update the nation on the pandemic and efforts being put into action. He stated that while the precautions the U.S. is currently taking will work and there will probably be a “good vaccine” for COVID-19 someday, going back to the world as it was prior to the pandemic will likely not happen. As we start thinking about the post-COVID-19 world, it is likely that we will have major shifts in how we operate and socialize.
  • Grocery stores and the changes in how we shop: Kroger joined Walmart in protocols to restrict the capacity of their stores during the pandemic. With this announcement, Kroger will be limiting the number of customers allowed in stores to 50% of the building capacity to allow for proper social distancing across their locations. These new measures are going into effect today and will be nationwide. We have also seen coverage around Walmart and Kroger experimenting with “one-way” aisles to allow shoppers to be able to practice social distancing.
  • A few bright spots in coverage: As media and social conversations are still focused on the pandemic, its spread and implications on our lives, people are also craving positive stories to help them cope with the pandemic. Recently, two stories shined in coverage. The first was John Krasinski surprising a 9-year-old Hamilton fan by having the original cast of the show serenade her (via Zoom). We also see a positive story from New Zealand gain traction where the Prime Minister gave the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy key worker status for the lockdown.

COVERAGE OF COVID-19 BY THE MEDIA
Volume: 56.3K (Δ +22.5K)

In the past 24 hours, journalists and outlets that have the influence and engagement around COVID-19 were:

CONVERSATIONS ABOUT COVID-19 ON SOCIAL MEDIA
High Engagement Conversation Volume (500+*): 24.2K

  • After a brief pause, social media users have once again elevated the popularity of stories reporting the deaths of notable people who had coronavirus. Most notably, the Manchester City Football Club announced the death of an 82-year-old mother of one of their players in Barcelona.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) remains in the spotlight as they continue to release informational content about COVID-19 during media briefings. To celebrate World Health Day yesterday, the WHO also showed appreciation for the bravery, courage, and resolve of the work being done by nurses and midwives around the globe.
  • People are standing behind celebrities and figures who are using their popularity to make a real difference for COVID-19 relief. Thousands of fans were amazed by Lady Gaga after she announced she had raised 35 million dollars for the cause, and other singers including Selena Gomez included a link to donate to the PLUS1 COVID-19 Fund in her album promotion materials.
  • UNICEF is speaking out on social media about one of the lesser-discussed groups during this global crisis: teenagers. The organization is promoting teenage strength by sharing mental health strategies for young people, as well as showcasing a video of the relief efforts accomplished by a 16-year-old girl in Goma, DR Congo.
  • Religious figure Franklin Graham shares reminder on social media that people in remote areas are also in need of great assistance during this time. His organization, Samaritan’s Purse, took off for Alaska to help people in many remote, native villages with hospital beds, masks, and other supplies at the request of Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s office.
  • In contrast to social media posts emphasizing class disparities among treatment and care opportunities in the United States, Rahul Gandhi, Indian politician and member of the Indian National Congress, is promoting national unity across India. He shares that this is “an opportunity for India to unite as one people, putting aside differences of religion, caste & class; to forge one common purpose: the defeat of this deadly virus”, which sparked much attention.

CORPORATE/WORKPLACE COMMUNICATIONS

Food Companies are the next hotspots. A growing number of positive cases and workers’ infection concerns are slowing down food supply operations, especially at meat plants. Simultaneously, the demand for food is at an all-time high as consumers continue to flock to supermarkets. With COVID-19 hitting vital plants in the food supply chain, farmers, suppliers, and regulators scramble to find ways to keep up with demand and effectively distribute food while major plants shut down to stop the spread. 

BRAND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Brand news continues to focus on how companies are contributing to larger COVID-19 efforts, by helping consumers manage financial hardships. Additionally, consumers are looking to brands to continue acknowledging essential workers who are on the front lines during this pandemic.