On 14 March 2020, the Spanish Government declared a state of alert for the first time since the reinstatement of democracy, confining millions of people to their homes in effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid emergency situations such as this, people need to be informed (Seeger et al., 2003). In light of this demand for information, the media responded by heightening the attention afforded to the pandemic and its news coverage, a phenomenon which has occurred repeatedly in similar situations (Ducharme, 2020; Pieri, 2018). Based on a survey of over 2,000 Catalan citizens during the period of lockdown, the main aim of this article is to analyse how the pandemic changed their information habits, gauge their perception of the media’s coverage and determine whether this coverage produced information overload. The results show an upsurge in media consumption as well as information overload among virtually half the population. This generates a paradox: despite the increased consumption of information, the media did not help to improve people’s understanding of the pandemic, but instead resulted in information fatigue, thus hindering comprehension.