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COVID-19: Reflections on trust, tradeoffs, and preparedness

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  • Dominic H. P. Balog-Way
  • Katherine A. McComas

Abstract

The global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has already had an enormous impact and will surely have profound consequences for many years to come. The authors reflect on three risk communication themes related to the pandemic: trust, tradeoffs, and preparedness. Trust is critically important during such a rapidly evolving event characterized by scientific uncertainty. Reflections focus on uncertainty communication, transparency, and long-term implications for trust in government and science. On tradeoffs, the positive and unintended negative effects of three key risk communication messages are considered (1) stay at home, (2) some groups are at higher risk, and (3) daily infections and deaths. The authors argue that greater attention to message ‘tradeoffs’ over ‘effectiveness’ and ‘evaluation’ over ‘intuition’ would help guide risk communicators under pressure. On preparedness, past infectious disease outbreak recommendations are examined. Although COVID-19 was inevitably ‘unexpected’, important preparedness actions were largely overlooked such as building key risk communication capacities.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominic H. P. Balog-Way & Katherine A. McComas, 2020. "COVID-19: Reflections on trust, tradeoffs, and preparedness," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(7-8), pages 838-848, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jriskr:v:23:y:2020:i:7-8:p:838-848
    DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2020.1758192
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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economics of Welfare > Health Economics > Economics of Pandemics > Specific pandemics > Covid-19 > Behavioral issues > Trust

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    Cited by:

    1. Cristina Bicchieri & Enrique Fatas & Abraham Aldama & Andrés Casas & Ishwari Deshpande & Mariagiulia Lauro & Cristina Parilli & Max Spohn & Paula Pereira & Ruiling Wen, 2021. "In science we (should) trust: Expectations and compliance across nine countries during the COVID-19 pandemic," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(6), pages 1-17, June.

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