This commentary highlights the need for clear, accurate, and timely communication to reduce the worldwide spread of COVID-19.
According to the authors, COVID-19 is a test for the world to cooperate by sharing information and relying on evidence-based approaches to epidemics to promote global health. Given how rapidly the virus has spread, individuals are anxious about COVID-19. Different from previous epidemics is the extent and speed at which information is also spreading. Clear, accurate, and timely dissemination of information from trusted sources is critical during this pandemic, and because traditional communication channels are inadequate, sources should utilize social media daily to provide up-to-date information. Although this can be beneficial for providing current information, it also allows for a tremendous amount and diversity of information as well as the propagation of false information. Trusted sources must actively involve individuals with information during this pandemic.
In addition to communication, several other critical issues also require coordinated efforts for successful public health interventions:
- Better understanding of virus transmission
- Rapid, sensitive screening tests
- Clinical criteria to differentiate individuals’ severity
- Optimal timing and benefits of various treatment options
- Support for frontline health care workers
- Vaccine development
Communicating clear, concise information about these topics is critically important to help reduce worldwide spread of COVID-19.