The COVID Malaise: Sentiment Analysis Update

Continuing our exploration of COVID stories from the past!

A few months ago, I analyzed IHI’s Stories of COVID for their emotional content. I was interested both in the emotional trends and what types of emotions were contained within the stories. The project appeared to be petering out, though, in the last few days, there have been four additional updates, for a total of seven updates since I published the original blog—time to rerun the analysis.

Let’s start with the below graph. This measures the average valence of the posted stories (positive or negative) using the bing lexicon. As compared to the wild swing early in the pandemic, stories are becoming…kind of blasé?

This kind of tracks with at least my experience. There are so many things to be concerned about, from ongoing racial justice protests to the upcoming US election and the corresponding stakes to logistical challenges with school, that the pandemic has become like the cosmic microwave background: omnipresent, uniform, steady.