In addition, about half (51%) of those who rely most on Trump and the task force say the outbreak has been made a bigger deal than it really is, compared with just 8% who say it’s been downplayed too much (40% say it’s been approached about right). In no other group do more than a third say the coronavirus outbreak has been blown out of proportion; those who rely mainly on public health organizations and officials for coronavirus news are more likely than other groups to say that the outbreak has been underplayed.

Overall, those who rely most closely on the White House for coronavirus news make up 16% of all U.S. adults. The group is almost entirely Republican or Republican-leaning (92% of this group, accounting for 32% of all Republicans), overwhelmingly non-Hispanic white (82%), and older than the public overall. Indeed, of all five news sources analyzed, those relying on the task force include the largest percentage of adults 65 and older (39%) – an age group especially vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. It is worth noting that the views of people relying on the White House may be formed not only by what they hear from the president and his task force, but also by the information they get from other sources, their political ideology and party identification, life experience, and prior beliefs that they bring with them as an audience.