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Dec 14, 2020 Article
COVID-19 and (hydroxy)chloroquine: a dispute over scientific truth during Bolsonaro's weekly Facebook live streams

by Ana Carolina Pontalti Monari, Allan Santos and Igor Sacramento

As successive studies have shown that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are ineffective in treating COVID-19, this article investigates how the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, disputes the truth around science to convince the population that these drugs can save lives, preserve jobs and restore economic growth. Using Charaudeau's theory [Charaudeau, 2007, 2010} as a methodological framework, as well as understanding that right-wing populism has embodied post-truth communication as a distinctive feature of contemporary politics, we observed Bolsonaro's weekly Facebook live streams — known as ‘lives’ — for 14 weeks, identifying them as a communicative device that offers Bolsonaro the material conditions to interact directly with his public. Finally, we structured our analysis according to the three most common themes — questioning delays due to an insistence on scientific methodology, overvaluation of personal experiences and emphasis on individuals' freedom of choice — to observe the emotional images and discursive scenarios the Brazilian president stages to produce the intended pathemic effects of his discourse: hope and urgency; trust and distrust; freedom and polarization.

Volume 19 • Issue 07 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part II, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
COVID-19 infections on international celebrities: self presentation and tweeting down pandemic awareness

by Wishes Mututwa and Trust Matsilele

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which was first reported in China's Wuhan province in December 2019 became a global pandemic within a few months. The exponential rise in COVID-19 cases globally was accompanied by a spike in misinformation about the pandemic, particularly on social media. Employing Social Network Theory as a lens, this qualitative study explores how selected international celebrities appropriated their Twitter micro-blogging pages to announce their COVID-19 infection to the world. The study finds that these celebrities can take advantage of their huge social media following to counter disinfodemic and promote awareness about health pandemics.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
COVID-19: a metaphor-based neologism and its translation into Arabic

by Amal Haddad Haddad and Silvia Montero-Martinez

‘Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)’ is the neologism coined in reference to the pandemic disease currently affecting countries worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) was the international entity that coined this neologism in all its official languages, Arabic amongst them. However, in mass media, the most commonly used term is ‘coronavirus’, which is a meronymic denomination. This corpus-based case study aims at giving new insights into the creation of these neologisms in English and their equivalents in Arabic, and to the adequacy of the meronymic use of the term ‘coronavirus’ in the English and Arabic mass media.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
The landscape of disinformation on health crisis communication during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine: hybrid warfare tactics, fake media news and review of evidence

by Sonny Patel, Omar Moncayo, Kristina Conroy, Doug Jordan and Timothy Erickson

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world in ways not seen since the 1918–1920 Spanish Flu. Disinformation campaigns targeting health crisis communication during this pandemic seek to cripple the medical response to the novel coronavirus and instrumentalize the pandemic for political purposes. Propaganda from Russia and other factions is increasingly infiltrating public and social media in Ukraine. Still, scientific literature has only a limited amount of evidence of hybrid attacks and disinformation campaigns focusing on COVID-19 in Ukraine. We conducted a review to retrospectively examine reports of disinformation surrounding health crisis communication in Ukraine during the COVID-19 response. Based on the themes that emerged in the literature, our recommendations are twofold: 1) increase transparency with verified health crisis messaging and, 2) address the leadership gap in reliable regional information about COVID-19 resources and support in Ukraine.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
Exit only: harms from silencing employee voice

by Karen Adkins

The nationwide shortage of PPE for health care workers has been well documented. Reporting on this issue has been complicated by hospitals' imposition of gag orders on physicians and health care workers. There are harms that result from imposing these gag orders that go beyond the obvious harms to public and employee health and safety. Using Hirschman's ‘Exit, Voice, and Loyalty’ (1970) as a framework demonstrates that these orders represent a dangerous concentration of power in employer hands — health care workers are reduced to functionaries. Hirschman's argument, in part, is that organisations should seek to balance the availability of exit, voice, and loyalty for employees. Restricting employee options in morally untenable situations to exit only leads to direct and indirect harms. These gag orders are a pernicious practice, and bring with them long-term negative implications for employee morale, employee effectiveness, and public service.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Sep 30, 2020 Article
How public perceptions of social distancing evolved over a critical time period: communication lessons learnt from the American state of Wisconsin

by Kaiping Chen, Luye Bao, Anqi Shao, Pauline Ho, Shiyu Yang, Christopher D. Wirz, Dominique Brossard, Markus Brauer and Lori DiPrete Brown

Understanding how individuals perceive the barriers and benefits of precautionary actions is key for effective communication about public health crises, such as the COVID-19 outbreak. This study used innovative computational methods to analyze 30,000 open-ended responses from a large-scale survey to track how Wisconsin (U.S.A.) residents' perceptions of the benefits of and barriers to performing social distancing evolved over a critical time period (March 19th to April 1st, 2020). Initially, the main barrier was practical related, however, individuals later perceived more multifaceted barriers to social distancing. Communication about COVID-19 should be dynamic and evolve to address people's experiences and needs overtime.

Volume 19 • Issue 05 • 2020 • Special Issue: COVID-19 and science communication, Part I, 2020

Jul 08, 2020 Article
Expertise and communicating about infectious disease: a case study of uncertainty and rejection of local knowledge in discourse of experts and decision makers

by Jennifer Manyweathers, Mel Taylor and Nancy Longnecker

Despite Australian horse owners being encouraged to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus to reduce the risk of this potentially fatal virus to horses and humans, vaccine uptake has been slow. Discourse around the vaccine has been characterised by polarisation and dissenting voices. In this study we interviewed horse owners (N=15) and veterinarians (N=10), revealing how expert knowledge, disqualification of lay knowledge and inadequate handling of uncertainty impacted divisive discourse around Hendra virus. We assert that more inclusive, reflective and ultimately more effective risk communication practices will result if the legitimacy of diverse knowledge sources and the inevitability of uncertainty are acknowledged.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Jun 22, 2020 Practice Insight
Mission Mosquito: building and expanding an international network for innovation in health communication

by Tanya Maslak, Kia Henry, Natasha Sadoff, David Maurice Jones, Joshua Glasser and Amy Leibrand

The Mission Mosquito Information Sharing Program (ISP), a collaboration between the U.S. Department of State and Battelle Memorial Institute, is a public diplomacy effort to build and expand an international network of health communicators to increase engagement on mosquito-borne disease. Nineteen professionals from countries experiencing mosquito-borne diseases engaged in a two-week multi-directional information exchange across the United States in May 2018. Program alumni applied knowledge and tools from the ISP in follow-on projects and public outreach campaigns in their home countries. This paper summarizes the ISP and lessons learned, and highlights a science communication case study examining skills and understanding gained.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 2020

Jun 16, 2020 Commentary
Are we Foot and Mouth Disease ready?

by Jennifer Manyweathers, Marta Hernandez-Jover, Lynne Hayes, Barton Loechel, Jennifer Kelly, Simone Felton, Marwan El Hassan, Rob Woodgate and Yiheyis Maru

A transdisciplinary pilot study with Australia's livestock industries is bringing multiple stakeholders together as equal partners, to examine the complex problems around animal disease management. These problems include disease surveillance and on-farm biosecurity practices. The pilot groups are established in industries susceptible to foot and mouth disease, namely dairy and beef cattle, pork, sheep and goats. The Agricultural Innovation Systems framework is being evaluated to determine its effectiveness as a tool to improve partnerships between stakeholders. These stakeholders include livestock producers (farmers), private and government veterinarians, local council representatives, and industry personal including from saleyards and abattoirs. Stimulation of innovative solutions to issues arising from conflicting priorities and limited resources around animal disease management are also expected. Using a participatory communication approach, the impact of the pilot on trust and relationships is being evaluated. The sustainability of the Agricultural Innovation Systems approach to address complex issues around animal health management is also being assessed. The aim of the study is to strengthen Australia's preparedness for an emergency animal disease outbreak, such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 2020

Jun 16, 2020 Commentary
Health vs. hedonism: public communication of nutrition science

by Catherine Lockley

Do differences in narrative approach; hedonic language vs. scientific language, influence public perception and opinion of Nutrition and food consumption? Our study investigated this question using qualitative research via Focus Group (FG). The stimulus films and subsequent meals exemplified hedonic language and biomedical language respectively. The FG was chosen to elucidate alternative narrative tools for further research and public health communication. Five sessions were held over 4 weeks with 8–10 non-repeating participants at each session. Film clips were viewed in a dining room environment and food served in buffet style after viewing. 47 people participated in the focus groups (15 males, and 32 females [ages 18–78]). Recruitment was by social media, local news outlets, word of mouth, and printed material and followed up via email. Study eligibility included self-identifying as primary food provider/cook, being over eighteen years old, and providing informed consent. Qualitative content analysis and grounded theory was used for coding and analysis. Interpretive reading of the transcript identified manifest and latent content before a coding frame was arrived at based on the frequency of relevant categories. Cross-coding was undertaken and patterns identified according to our primary research question. Communication disparities suggested by previous research were confirmed in our findings with participants emphasizing that the personal impact of hedonic and psychosocial narrative on their personal food experience held greater weight than the ‘health’ narrative alone. We conclude that scientific nutrition communication paradigms are less effective than emotional narrative that engages passion, memory and deep feeling. The findings support a move towards nutrition communication strategies that incorporate wider human emotional experience through gastronomic narratives.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 2020