Like most people, I read the news feed on my phone most days, or at least take a glance at the headlines. 12 months ago, my feed was made up of approximately 30% Coronavirus related articles and updates and the rest made up of other headlines and my profile of other interests.
This week I’ve only seen 2 articles in my feed despite the fact that new variants are being discovered and infection rates remain extremely high. There is an argument that says public attention spans will only last so long before media outlets find consumers of their articles switching off, so they focus coverage elsewhere.
But what effect does that degree of media coverage have on our behaviour?
If the media announces food or fuel shortages, it immediately triggers panic buying, either off the shelves or at the pumps. The media has the huge power to direct public focus on en masse.
Don’t get me wrong there is still coverage of COVID-19 and Lateral Flow Testing in the news, but it just doesn’t feel as important as it used to. It’s no longer a top headline.
So what happens when media coverage on a subject reduces?
Ultimately, people start to pay less attention to it and where it’s less at the forefront of our minds, it then becomes something that is all but forgotten.
Official statistics show a decline in positive cases, but with the end of free testing, many people no longer saw a need to contribute test results to the NHS or buy lateral flow tests to for self-testing so I suspect the actual figures present quite a different landscape.
There are a huge number of lives still being impacted by COVID-19 and a huge number of positive cases going undetected and unreported.
Keyword Research Tools hold the insights
As a marketer, we use lots of different tools in our business and one type of tool that can give us an insight into public behaviours is Keyword Tools. In a nutshell these tools can show you how much search traffic there is on Google for a particular term.
Of course terms like ‘buy lateral flow tests’ or ‘buy rapid antigen tests online’ have seen rises, but they simply don’t equate to the 80% decrease on 3,350,000 searches.
The reality is
There are a lot of people out there in good health whom are at little risk of the pandemic. The more relaxed attitude towards coronavirus home testing means more cases than ever before are going unrecorded and the asymptomatic continue to boost transmission rates unknowingly.
There’s also a lot of people who do work in special settings, those with vulnerable relatives and many other groups who still need to take precautions.
Anyone travelling internationally, visiting hospitals or care homes, NHS staff and those who have been discharged from hospital should all be taking regular tests.
We as the public can help by continuing with regular home testing for COVID-19 at key times.
For example taking children to see grandparents when they break up from school. Equally if you’re fortunate enough to get some time away this year, make sure to test before returning to school or work.