Coronavirus: On Crisis, Emergency, and the Power of Words   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Document: "Encouraging the public to follow official guidelines was one of the challenges faced by decision makers during the first wave of the Covid-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic in Israel, and the public's failure to follow these guidelines is considered among the reasons for the outbreak of the second wave. This suggests that the leadership has not succeeded in instilling in the public an understanding of the danger of the virus, which requires them to continue to follow the official guidelines. Precise and credible communication plays a critical role in preventing the renewed and uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus. Accordingly, any public appeal to new, required rules of conduct must use a correct lexicon. The term 'crisis' does not encourage a change in behavior, while an alternative term that can serve the leadership when appealing to the public is 'emergency.' Using the concept of an emergency to frame the pandemic can have a dual effect: it can warn people about the pandemic, and at the same time instruct them to change their behavior. Israel's approach to emergency management must take into consideration the cognitive element, which includes terminology suitable for the situation. Appropriate definitions, especially when appealing to the public, are a part the building of a systemic organizational infrastructure for times of emergency and are meant to help increase the public's preparedness and involvement, as well as its mobilization for the collective effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus."

Report Number:
INSS Insight No. 1353; Institute for National Security Studies Insight No. 1353
Institute for National Security Studies
Retrieved From:
Institute for National Security Studies: https://www.inss.org.il/
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