Monday, March 16, 2020

March 16, 2020: Coronavirus Status For The Day, Part 2

Regarding panic. Here is what stops it.

1. Credible Information
2. Expert Reassurance
3. Material Help
4. Army of Communicators
5. Access to Experts 
Right now people are truly panicking. The longer this goes on, the worse that panic is going to get. 
It does lot matter that YOU are not panicking. 
The Federal government has at least 1,000 full time public affairs specialists and spends $1 billion a year distributing information - resources that must be allocated to an interagency "war room". 
This is not rocket science. It is my opinion that the faster this force of neutral, credible experts is assembled, the lower the bell curve of PANIC will be (also a disease). 
You can't have people running out of essential supplies. Time to start distributing them. 
You can't have people afraid they will be defenseless. Now is the time for stepped up security patrols. 
These things seem obvious to me. 
The daily press conferences are good but not a substitute. 
*Typo in tweet above - should read: It does not matter that YOU are not panicking. 
The first step? All information on a single website for the ENTIRE government. Remove the single-agency branding from. Get all videos, factsheets, twitter accounts, videos etc up there. 
They need to go past user testing to all the things people are worried about and put the info online in multiple languages. 
They need to have a customer service function built to enable a knowledge base from the public as well as official sources. 
Any personnel working on the response who want to share information or a blog diary should be allowed to do so, as long as they don't talk about things they aren't supposed to. 
Fundamentally the government must over communicate, not under communicate, and do so QUICKLY AND WELL. 
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author's own. Public domain.