S13: Health Communication Promotes Compliance to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Through Plain Language
Temple University United States
This communication review evaluated health communications across different states in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic.
We compared medical communication for the top 3 states with the highest and lowest incidence
of COVID-19 infection. Additionally, the information was evaluated for use of plain language,
incorporation of infographics, and transparency.
Many Americans lack health literacy, which may increase the risk of exposure and disease
transmission. Health communication using plain language can help the public make informed
decisions to reduce exposure. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encouraged the public to use health precautions, including quarantine, social distancing, the use of masks, and travel restrictions. Even with this information, the transmission of the virus and active infections varied across the population of each state. The states that emphasized and promoted the CDC guidelines in plain language and used infographics had fewer COVID-19 cases per capita per 100,000 people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating around the world, particularly in the United
States, which has had the highest COVID-19 cases. States communicated public health
precautions differently and acted independently to reopen their economies, allow social
gatherings, and lift travel restrictions. Comparing medical communications showed that state
and local guidances had fundamental differences in medical communication and compliance
with regulations, which could influence the incidence of disease.
Concerted efforts to improve health communication can increase health outcomes over time.
Clear communication for the COVID-19 vaccine can help decrease the spread of disease
across the United States. The use of plain language to convey health information at the state or
local level can help individuals make informed decisions about their health, take safety
precautions, and reduce disease exposure.