Review: Not a perfect storm – COVID-19 and the importance of language

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Review: Not a perfect storm – COVID-19 and the importance of language

Review: Not a perfect storm – COVID-19 and the importance of language

This article suggests that we need to be conscientious with our language when discussing COVID-19 so that we do not deter people from taking personal action to help reduce the spread of the virus.

The messaging around COVID-19 has demonstrated how important language is in characterizing our perceptions of the outbreak. Naturalizing the rise of a pandemic as a “perfect storm” might imply that a health crisis is beyond the scope of human agency, which downplays our capacity to effect change. Using a perfect storm metaphor frames the issue as being a product of chance and dismisses the efficacy of public health prevention efforts. COVID-19 is not simply a natural event; its emergence and containment is the result of human action (and inaction).

|2020-04-23T10:37:11-04:00April 23rd, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|Comments Off on Review: Not a perfect storm – COVID-19 and the importance of language

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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