Americans’ COVID-19 information needs evolving

Helpline calls about COVID-19 are shifting again. Early in the pandemic, almost all COVID-19 calls to 2-1-1s in the U.S. were informational, seeking information about symptoms, exposure and other topics (orange bars in chart below). As the number of COVID cases grew during the summer of 2020, calls about COVID-19 testing surged (blue bars). Since 2021, the majority of COVID requests have sought information about or assistance with vaccination (green bars). These transitions in COVID-19 information needs emerged in an analysis of 211s in 10 states that also serve as their state’s official COVID information helpline. They illustrate the evolution of Americans’ information needs during the pandemic, as well as the flexibility of 211s to adapt in real time to changing community needs. Analyses included 486,820 COVID-related requests received by phone from March 8, 2020 to March 13, 2021; web requests for information are not included. Each bar in the chart shows the weekly total of requests, by topic. Mouse over each bar to see how many requests were received. Data were obtained from 211 Counts, a daily tracking system of community needs used by 211s in 38 states. This reported includes data from AZ, IA, ME, NC, NJ, NV, TX, VA, WI and WY.

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