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Communicate health information with economic information

Combine health models WITH economic models in key messaging

Photo of Gerarda Frederick
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Staying healthy: WHO website, Chief Medical Officer via media, state government health website, emails from service providers referring back to aforementioned health authority websites, politicians referring back to and/or co-messaging with health authorities, social media posts from doctors I personally know

Stopping the spread: Credentialled epidemiologists, 'flatten the curve' under hospital capacity vs. uncontrolled peak (shared via media, social media posts), politicians referring back to and/or co-messaging with health authorities, social media posts from doctors I personally know

Why: I trust those who know how pandemics can spread and be controlled, and that they also look to authorities in other jurisdictions who have dealt with similar experience before (e.g. SARS)

Upload or share a link to this resource/message/source of information to share it with others.

Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

I initially thought that because the death rate from COVID-19 will be less than other diseases, conflict, famine, and climate change, that it's better to let it run its course so that world economies don't collapse from containment measures. Will there be more deaths from financial ruin from collapsing economies than deaths from COVID-19 itself?

I now see that it's in everyone's best interests to curb the spread not only to reduce virus deaths, but also because economies are now very unlikely to recover until there are clear indications that the spread of the virus is under control.

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

In what ways did you share this information?

With my family only at this stage

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • National Government
  • News: Television
  • News: Digital
  • Social Media
  • WHO (World Health Organization)
  • NGO or Non-profit Organization
  • Social media much less, only if posts are from doctors I know personally.

What information do you feel you are missing about COVID-19?

My greatest fear is not that I get or spread the virus. It's the economic depression from virus containment measures. Will I become destitute through no income, evaporated superannuation, creditor attacks, and acute family distress?

What is missing is a message that containment measures mean fewer COVID-19 deaths ('flatten the curve' model) AND how they support an earlier economic recovery demonstrated by economic modelling with/without containment measures.

What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

Sticky messages (simple, easy to remember, preferably visual) to those most afraid, that directly address their fears.

Those who are less afraid, who can do simple things that ease the burden of others, because a united, not divided, community response is the only way we can beat this.

Can't help thinking that behavioural economics ideas that nudge people into desired behaviours will help here.

What is your current profession?

ICT Consultant

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?



Join the conversation:

Photo of Estela Kennen

I agree, Gerarda. Even in the places suffering from the highest levels of coronavirus infection, 99+% of the population is (currently, at least) coronavirus-free -- yet everyone is affected by the economic (and psychological) repercussions. I would love to see epidemiologists and economists work together and (figure out and) communicate models regarding how we can sustainably maintain an adequate public health response.

Photo of Isaac Jumba

Great reading your idea Gerarda Frederick  and your thoughts Estela Kennen .

I'm curious what ways we might envision packaging the information in such a way a majority of the population could understand.

Photo of Gerarda Frederick

Hi @Isaac Jumba 
I'm hoping that communications specialists might have some ideas about this once the economists and epidemiologists have collaborated.
One idea is to add an economic response column to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Pandemic Intervals Framework (PIF) that @Len Hennessy contributed to this discussion, entitled 'Stick Together By Staying Apart: Use the CDC's "Pandemic Intervals Framework" to explain the value and context of social distancing.'
By combining epidemilogy and economics, the hard truth is that COVID-19 is a real life 'trolley problem'. See
Which endgame will we choose?

Photo of Gerarda Frederick

Yes, Estela Kennen . I think getting epidemiologists and economists working together may help us get on the front foot in this very interconnected world we live in. Or if they already are, I would like to see more joined up messages about that.