That period it’s not at all easy for officials who are trying to lead despite the inherent difficulties of a rapidly changing situation fraught with unknowns.

But the natural inclination of politicians to communicate aspirationally is coming into conflict with that of scientists, who communicate in terms of what we know and what we don’t know. As we’ve seen, that’s played out in the form of mixed messages, resulting in confusion and dangerous behavior.

Any governmental communication should be asked these questions. If the answers are satisfactory, that could be paramount in the next weeks.

– Was the public involved as a partner and did the messages inform, dispel misinformation and allay fears and concerns as much as possible?

– Did the person delivering the message appreciate the public’s specific concerns?

– Did the person providing the message appear to be honest and open?

– Were those providing key, credible messages to the public, working together?

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