YouTube started demonetizing videos related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a few weeks ago in compliance with its sensitive events policy, which forbids advertising for topics that talk about "a loss of life, typically as a result of a pre-planned malicious attack". This type of content is not considered advertiser-friendly by that policy, but that's changing soon.
Today, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote in a blog post that the service will restore ads for coronavirus-related content in the coming days. However, content monetization will be limited only to a number of channels including some news organizations and creators who make their content reporting transparent in accordance with YouTube's advertiser-friendly guidelines.
Regarding the platform's change of heart, Wojcicki explains:
"We know many of you have had questions about our sensitive events policy, which currently does not allow monetization if a video includes more than a passing mention of the coronavirus. Our sensitive events policy was designed to apply to short-term events of significant magnitude, like a natural disaster. It’s becoming clear this issue is now an ongoing and important part of everyday conversation, and we want to make sure news organizations and creators can continue producing quality videos in a sustainable way."
YouTube will also expand this kind of monetization to more creators over the coming weeks as it's working to finalize the policies and enforcement processes. Wojcicki also addressed the spread of misinformation around the virus, saying that YouTube will continue removing videos that violate its policy including "those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits".