This article focuses on the need to use social media channels, involve all stakeholders, and maintain relationships with the media for effective risk communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because lessons in risk communication are usually retroactive, it is important to look at previous, similar public health pandemics (e.g., SARS) for useful risk communication strategies. One potential way to ensure appropriate risk communication is by using social media. This channel can help public health messaging achieve several goals: reaching diverse audiences, establishing interactive and ongoing community engagement, facilitating public control and empowerment, and increasing the transmission of urgent public health messages. Risk perception also has a “trickle up” effect where the public’s perception of risk informs policymakers. Therefore, other important lessons learned include involving all stakeholders and ensuring ongoing, consistent relationships with the media. As noted, the importance of risk management and effective communication cannot be overstated.