The Shifting Perceptions of COVID-19 in the United States
Updated: May 27
David MacNeil, Marketing Officer
Since the beginning of November, multiple large-scale events have taken place that have shifted the public’s outlook towards Covid-19. For what feels like the first time since the beginning of the global pandemic, there appears to be some hope and optimism that there is in fact light at the end of the tunnel.
The graph below displays Orenda’s social positioning scores for Covid-19 since the beginning of November in comparison to its daily engagement rates (number of posts).
As you can see, since November began we can clearly identify a meaningful change in social positioning scores regarding Covid-19. What this means is, the public is beginning to speak on the topic in a more positive light. On November 9, social scores reached one of its highest points of 2020, which was an especially noteworthy change for a topic which is so commonly discussed in a negative way.
So, the question is, what happened to trigger these changes? At Orenda, we were able to identify two main causes – the 2020 United States election, and the announcement of a 90% effective Covid-19 vaccine.
2020 US ELECTION
Dire, grim, and uncertain. These are some of the ways we can describe the public outlook towards Covid-19 in the United States prior to the 2020 US election, which to this point has already claimed approximately 250,000 American lives to go along with over 10,400,000 positive cases. As months pass, the number of cases continue to proliferate across the country leaving its people desperately awaiting a solution.
It has become increasingly evident that a sizable portion of the population are losing their patience and growing displeased with the way that President Donald Trump has been handling the virus. Trump’s lackadaisical attitude since the beginning of the pandemic has not gone unnoticed, and the already controversial President has been the primary source of blame from Americans who are fed up with the lack of response to the global pandemic in the United States.
As the November 2020 election approached, many US citizens saw an opportunity to use their vote for change. On November 7th, it was revealed that Joe Biden had won the election and was named President Elect – shifting attitudes across not just the United States, but the entire globe.
Of course, this optimism will not last long if changes are not made soon. People want a solution, and they want it fast. When it comes to who America thinks should be leading the charge in the White House, the country has never been more divided, which means the pressure is on Biden and his staff to find a quick and effective response to Covid-19.
PFIZER INCORPORATED’S 90% EFFECTIVE VACCINE
On November 9, American multinational pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer announced that they had successfully developed a vaccine for covid-19 which is currently 90% effective based on the thousands of tests conducted. Having a vaccine that is this effective 9 months into a global pandemic is exceptional news and comes much earlier than anticipated.
Pfizer remains cautiously optimistic, as there is still work to be done. However, the positivity of this news is undeniable, and had a tremendous impact on public’s confidence that a solution could be coming soon. This announcement can be directly correlated with the peak in social positioning scores on November 9 mentioned above.
We will continue to analyze this change in public perception as time goes on, as it should be interesting to see if this optimism persists, or if it will fade away as the pandemic continues to drag out across the globe.