This commentary suggests that repeated media exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to psychological distress.
Based on research from previous public health crises (i.e., Ebola and H1N1 outbreaks) and other collective trauma (e.g., terrorist attacks), researchers determined that media coverage had unintended consequences with severe public health repercussions. Repeated media exposure increased anxiety, heightened stress, led to other negative health effects, and created an overburdened health care system by people seeking help for health protective actions. Still, it is essential to communicate urgent health information in real time, while being mindful of potential traumatic responses to that information. Trusted health care providers may help balance this critical information.