This article claims that US government health authorities made mistakes in providing information on Covid-19 to the American public.
This article argues that despite good intentions, the US public health messaging has been counterproductive in the following ways:
- The assumptions made by US public officials.
- Choices made by traditional media.
The way digital messaging operates in the public sphere.
- Communication patterns between academic communities.
- Some public health experts appearing paternalistic and mistrusting of the public they were trying to help.
This article identifies the following problems experienced by US health authorities:
- Experts assuming that safety improvements—mask-wearing for example —might give people a false sense of security.
- Focussing on offering rules instead of explaining in detail how viruses spread.
- Traditional and social media focussing on public shaming of celebrities instead of providing valid information.
The article notes that Japan provided an excellent example of clear- cut messaging that told people why they should avoid the following:
- Closed spaces.
- Crowded spaces.
- Close contact.
Consider whether Australia can learn anything from the US experience.
Learn more about some of the mistakes that this article claims the US health authorities made in communicating with the public.
- May 2020 The Conversation Governments can learn from consumer psychology when it comes to public health messaging
- Feb 2021 Plus One The effect of spokesperson attribution on public health message sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 2021 Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert
- Mar 2021 The Nation’s Health Public health messaging vital for COVID-19 vaccine uptake: Leaders partnering on communications