COVID-19 Facts and Figures

Peggy O'Mara
13 min readMay 2, 2021

Information sheets on the disease and the vaccinations to help you make informed decisions.

Photo by JHVEPhoto

I’m overwhelmed by the news about COVID-19 and don’t even know what to think anymore. A study from Dartmouth University analyzed the tone of 43,000 English-language news articles about COVID-19 written since January 1, 2020, and found that 87% of stories by US major media outlets are negative in tone. This is in contrast to 50% of COVID-19 coverage in non-US major sources and 64% in scientific journals.

The researchers find that demand for negative news stories is particularly strong in the US and that media outlets are more willing to respond to it than are outlets in other countries. COVID-19 stories published by US media outlets are 25% more likely to be negative in content than are those in major media outlets outside the US.

This media bias is attributed by the researchers to the lack of fair and balanced media laws in the US and the lack of publicly owned media outlets.

It may also be due to the influence of dozens of well-funded groups like the Public Goods Projects, which advocate for a public health perspective through aggressive marketing to the media, and Stronger, which works in partnership with Google and the Biotechnology Innovation Organization.

Informed Consent

The negative and biased tone of the news makes it difficult for me to exercise my right to informed consent. Informed Consent is an ethical and legal doctrine that has developed over the last century in tandem with the growth of participatory medicine and all 50 states have legislation that delineates the required standards for informed consent.

Informed consent means that a patient must receive enough information to make a reasonable decision regarding treatment. In order for informed consent to occur, the patient must:

  • Be informed of the benefits and risks of a surgical procedure, medical procedure, drug or other course of treatment.
  • Be informed of alternatives to the procedure or drug.
  • Not be coerced into making a decision.
  • Provide written consent.
Peggy O'Mara

Peggy O’Mara is an award winning journalist. She was the Editor and Publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years. Her focus is Family, Health, and Justice.