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COVID-19 Fully Coordinated and Consistent Messaging Required in Public Health Emergencies

Just ask any public health official how important consistent messaging is.

by Eric Holdeman / May 6, 2020

One of the first mantras of public health officials is to keep your messaging on a disease outbreak "tight." Everyone has to be on the same sheet of music -- as they say. 

You don't have to look very far for this key principle to be broken in our federal government. Today's story is Trump Reverses Course and Says White House Coronavirus Task Force Will Continue 'Indefinitely.

I felt just a wee bit sorry for the NPR hosts for Morning Edition when they likely had recorded their program saying the Coronavirus Task Force would be shut down by the end of May -- per President Trump on Tuesday.  Even before I heard that, the more current news was that President Trump had changed his mind and the messaging on that topic -- from just the day before. 

Why did the CDC, which normally does all briefings on virus outbreaks, stop doing so very early in the COVID-19 outbreak here in the United States? Early messaging from the CDC had worst-case scenarios being shared and that was spooking the stock market. The White House wanted to control all the messaging on COVID-19. Be it for better or worse, that is what they have done! 

I won't belabor the issue, but putting a "bell on the cat" at the White House has been a very difficult task for all the mice at the White House. 

Difficult -- indeed!

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