New study shows white Americans cared less about COVID once they learned it was hurting minorities even more
President Donald J. Trump, joined by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force, delivers remarks and talks to members of the press Friday, April 17,2020, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Reporting on the racial disparities in the impact of the coronavirus pandemic had a perverse effect among white Americans, according to two new studies.

Matt Pearce of the Los Angeles Times reported, "When white Americans heard about COVID hitting people of color harder, a lot of them mentally peaced out. This is ugly."

The preregistered studies were published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

In the abstract, the authors wrote they "found that those who perceived COVID-19 racial disparities to be greater reported reduced fear of COVID-19, which predicted reduced support for COVID-19 safety precautions."

"Reading about the persistent inequalities that produced COVID-19 racial disparities reduced fear of COVID-19, empathy for those vulnerable to COVID-19, and support for safety precautions. These findings suggest that publicizing racial health disparities has the potential to create a vicious cycle wherein raising awareness reduces support for the very policies that could protect public health and reduce disparities," the authors of the studies explained.

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Findings of two studies on pandemic racial disparity responses.Screengrab.

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