• Debate over double masking continues to dominate online discussion. Many members of the public are frustrated with what they feel is inconsistent messaging.
• Several areas of the country are beginning to report more positive trends of declining case counts. People are expressing relief and are hopeful this will alleviate some of the stress being placed on many hospitals. A small number speculate this is an expected decline following increased holiday infection rates.
• There have been positive reactions to news that FEMA has requested thousands of service members from DoD to provide vaccine support. People are hopeful this will help the process go more smoothly.
• There is growing concern among the medical community and the general public regarding new variants being reported in several states. There is particular worry over how vulnerability children may be to these new strains.
• Traditional media and morning front-page headlines focused on:
o The federal government’s interagency response to stand up additional vaccination sites
o Increasing weekly dose shipments, ongoing detection of foreign variants of the COVID-19 virus
o Renewed emphasis on facemasks reducing infection spread
• Public accessibility to vaccination centers or registration sites and consequential mitigation by state and local officials also continue to generate traditional media reports of frustration and a perception of unequal distribution.
• Discussion last night and this morning heavily focused on recent recommendations to wear two masks.
o People are frustrated with what they feel is constantly changing guidance and policies. Many feel if one mask is ineffective doubling up will not make a difference. (example 1, example 2)
• Several areas around the country are reporting a decline in positive case counts. Most people are responding to this with cautious optimism and hoping it will relieve some of the stress on our healthcare system.
o Some are warning people to remain vigilant especially in light of new variants being reported across the nation – stating historically we have not prepared well for additional waves.
• There are conflicting arguments regarding children and COVID-19. Some note that children have been less susceptible to infection meaning schools should reopen. The other side of the argument claims COVID-19 rates in schools are underreported and schools are not taking proper safety precautions for in-person learning.
o A rise in COVID-19 cases among children over the last two week period, where two died in Fort Worth, Texas has led to an increase in concern from parents, who are now actively opposing schools reopening this spring semester.
• Police are warning individuals to avoid sharing photos of their vaccination cards noting it could reveal PII. Many people feel the PII included on the card is readily available information and do not feel it should be an issue to share.
• Reports that the White House is considering a requirement of a negative COVID-19 test for domestic travel are triggering debate. Most online discussion disagrees with the potential policy feeling existing protocols of masks and social distancing should be enough. Some feel it is an infringement upon personal freedoms.