Our Opinion: There is good news regarding COVID-19

We aren’t quite out of the COVID-19 woods yet, but we are getting closer. How far we go and how fast we get there is up to all of us.


Is there a media bias for bad news about COVID-19?

A recent Guest Opinion by Cynthia M. Allen of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, appearing in the March 30 Brainerd Dispatch e-edition, certainly makes the case that there is.

Allen cites a recently published working paper by a Dartmouth College economics professor and two fellow researchers analyzing media coverage during the pandemic. That analysis found national U.S. publications and networks produced dramatically more negative coverage than international, regional and scientific news sources.

The working paper determined that 87% of U.S. media coverage could be classified as negative, compared to 64% of news reported in scientific journals and just over half of coverage in international and regional/local media outlets.

In general, we in the news media rarely like classifying our news as positive or negative. We report the news, and it’s usually the reader’s reaction to or perception of a story that determines whether it could be viewed as positive or negative.


Plus, 30.4 million COVID-19 cases and over 550,000 deaths associated with the virus in the U.S. since March of 2020 hardly make for feel-good news stories.

But, especially lately, we agree with Allen that there’s a lot to cheer in our collective fight against COVID-19. It was recently reported Minnesota reached more than 1 million people fully vaccinated against the virus, people 16 years and older can now sign up to get vaccinated and the percentage of people hesitant to get the vaccine is also dropping. Death rates and hospitalizations are trending down.

Definitely, every day is looking brighter. And that is good news.

But there is a little darkness around the edges of the shine, too. Positive cases are starting to creep back up as we reopen the country, and COVID variants are popping up as close as Morrison County.

So no, we aren’t quite out of the woods yet, but we are getting closer. How far we go and how fast we get there is up to all of us.

In previous editorials we’ve implored readers to get vaccinated, and we do so again. We also once again remind people to follow guidelines for wearing masks, practicing social distancing and handwashing.

Now is not the time to let our guard down. The quicker we reach some form of herd immunity the quicker we can leave this COVID mess behind us. The personal responsibility we take will determine how fast that can happen.

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