This editorial calls on public health leaders and politicians to utilize innovative communication, mitigation, and health care approaches to combat COVID-19.
Political leaders and public health experts must stand firm and committed to implementing proven, and sometimes unpopular, public health strategies to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, three priority areas must be communicated and enforced:
- Coordinated and consistent stay-at-home orders nationwide
- Rapid scale-up of COVID-19 testing
- Improved health care capacity to respond
Consistency in strategy implementation and communication is key to effectiveness. Given COVID-19 is the first global pandemic of the social media era, there is a tremendous opportunity to communicate accurate public health information to millions of people. Unfortunately, there has also been the dissemination of inaccurate and, in some cases, dangerously incorrect information. Having well-reasoned, correct information delivered through consistent messaging is a proven pillar of individual behavior change. Because social media is the most predominant way people get information today, it is imperative that public health communicate mitigation plans through these platforms. Expediting novel testing strategies, committing to the safety of health care workers, and coordinating efforts to increase health care capacity and public safety strategies can truncate the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce the number of lives lost.