During a time of crisis, when speaking to the public the first and most important principal is to use clear, consistent and truthful communication based on facts as they are known. Inconsistent, untruthful information can lead to behaviors and actions that could be catastrophic. When that crisis is a national healthcare crisis—as is the coronavirus pandemic—this principal can mean the difference between life and death.
When it comes to COVID-19 medical care, there is no preventative vaccine and no well-proven treatments. We only have hard earned experience about what seems to work in treating patients. That leaves our individual behavior as the best tool to slow the spread—wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart, avoid crowds (especially inside) and wash hands often. However, to get 340 million Americans—or as many as necessary to slow the spread—to engage in what sounds like simple behavior, requires clear, consistent and truthful communications. Perhaps no one does that better than Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. His experience is born out of being center stage in the emerging HIV/AIDS crisis in the early 1980s when an illness was ravaging the gay community in America, and no one knew why or what it was.
At the August 6th Brazda Breakfast briefing, an event sponsored by APCO and hosted by our partner, The Alliance for Health Policy, Dr. Fauci showed this principal in action as he walked over 60 reporters through what we know now about COVID-19, how it spreads, where it is spreading, the status of vaccine development, and most importantly, what we all can and should do to slow the spread. In both a warning, but also an optimistic message, he told the Brazda Breakfast briefing: “This is up to us as a society. It is within us to control this pandemic… We can control this and get it to a place where we can open the country and return to some sort of normalcy. It shouldn’t be lockdown vs. let it fly. There is a middle ground and we can get there.”
An important message.
You can watch a full recording of the briefing and discussion here: