Maxim Ananyev, Michael Poyker, Yuan Tian, 20 October 2020

The death toll in the US from Covid-19 is much higher than that of many other developed nations. This column investigates how the conservative media has affected containment efforts in the country during the pandemic. Using smartphone data to measure mobility and social distancing combined with data on the historical line-up of cable channels as the source of variation in viewing habits, it shows a corelation between exposure to Fox News, smaller reductions in distance travelled, and less inclination to heed public health guidelines. Political polarisation and the politicisation of science thus appear to have harmed containment efforts in the US.

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