How not to be overwhelmed with COVID-19 news

To avoid becoming “saturated” with the daily deluge of COVID-19 news, consider dialing it back, says health communication expert Kasisomayajula “Vish” Viswanath.

Viswanath, Lee Kum Kee Professor of Health Communication at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discussed this topic and others in a March 31, 2020 video interview with WebMD chief medical officer John Whyte.

Overall, Viswanath said, the media is doing a good job covering the pandemic. But he said there hasn’t been enough of a focus on health equity issues. “That’s what keeps me awake in the night,” he said. “The immediate consequences as well as the long-term consequences of this COVID-19 crisis will be felt by people who are less well off, whether it’s racial minorities, blue-collar workers, or daily wage laborers. And I don’t think we are paying sufficient attention to it.”

Viswanath recommended that people avoid constantly checking news about COVID-19. “If I am reading newspapers, if I am watching TV, if I am also following social media, then what I am experiencing is saturation coverage — and that’s where I begin to feel that the sky is falling,” he said.

Watch the WebMD interview: Coronavirus in Context: 3 Practical Tips to Stay Informed, Not Overwhelmed