CORONAVIRUS UPDATES: Communications, Coverage and PR Best Practices

coronavirus outbreak

Check back regularly for our latest coverage related to communications, PR and the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.


THE LATEST 

October 14, 2020

Johnson & Johnson and Eli Lilly Hit the PR Pause Button on COVID Trials

by Sophie Maerowitz

For PR pros, the race to find a vaccine and treatment serves as a natural experiment in healthcare communication. After all, communicators can always learn from examples of messaging, especially when it comes to delivering unhappy news.

Read more...


October 13, 2020

A Flight to Nowhere Proves It’s The Experience, Not the Destination

by Seth Arenstein

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is selling out its planes—though they never leave the ground. Customers are paying to eat airline food in parked aircraft, the BBC reports. Each 'seating'—the planes are half full owing to social distancing—lasts three hours. Movies are available while dining. Economy (starting at $40 US) and first-class seats ($500) are available. BBC reported the first two seating dates sold out in 30 minutes. There's a waiting list for future dates.

Read more...


October 9, 2020

NFL’s COVID Chaos Leaves Fans, Players Confused

by Nicole Schuman

The NFL had the good fortune of six months of lead time since coronavirus emerged to develop a plan with the NFL Players Association. It also has had the benefit of seeing how seasons and tournaments played out with other major league sports, including the NBA, NHL and MLB. If you remember, not too long ago, the MLB dealt with a COVID outbreak. And yet, football fans and players are left with a glut of silence from the NFL. The lack of information and messaging is allowing for much speculation among fan communities on social media. No one is happy.

Read more...


October 6, 2020

Why Hope is Necessary for Crisis and Its Worst Enemy

by Seth Arenstein

It’s rare when one event, or several, suffocates coverage of a crisis. The exceptions are out there, though. A good Super Bowl can do it. As can a controversial confirmation for a Supreme Court justice nominee. The latest example, of course, was the president’s positive coronavirus test. The news broke Thursday night (Oct. 1). His visit to Walter Reed, which started late the next day and ended Monday night (Oct. 5), dominated the news cycle all weekend.

Read more...


October 5, 2020

Trump Hospital Visit Leaves Gaping Informational Holes, Opportunity for Misinformation

by Nicole Schuman

The president has been managing his daily workload as usual, according to White House videos and photos. Subsequently, Trump is delivering an image of normalcy to the media and public. However, few details of his infection are known. Clarity has been marred by contrasting information (see Dr. Sean Conley and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows) and a lack of transparent detail from the White House, leading much of the media to speculate and drum up outside sources.

Read more...


October 2, 2020

President’s COVID-19 Night Highlights Need for Transparency

by Seth Arenstein

Many Americans awakened this morning to the news that the First Couple has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The president tweeted the news a bit before 1 a.m. ET. News operations had an inkling something was afoot long before that, however. Yesterday evening, around 8 p.m. ET, media reports quoted sources saying presidential advisor Hope Hicks, the former White House communication official, had tested positive.

Read more...


September 17, 2020

Big Ten’s Reversal on Season Raises Questions

by Nicole Schuman

The confusion continues across the country surrounding what is safe and unsafe during the pandemic. While many colleges, universities and public schools reopened with safety measures in place, several have had to close again due to COVID outbreaks and spread. This also rings true for businesses. JPMorgan Chase welcomed back traders and staff to its Manhattan location just after Labor Day, only to send employees home this week after a worker contracted the virus.

Read more...


September 15, 2020

The Pandemic and Communication are Intimately Related: Discuss

by Seth Arenstein

A politically-appointed communicator at HHS, under fire for several things, reportedly has decided to resign his post. The communicator, Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign official, was accused in Politico exclusive Friday of toning down CDC scientists' reports about COVID-19. The reports, Caputo argued, failed to support the president's messaging about the virus. Two days after that article went live, Caputo hurt his cause. During a Sunday session on Facebook Live, Caputo alleged the CDC and its scientists were housing a “resistance unit” designed to undermine the president.

Read more...


September 13, 2020

9/11 and COVID-19: A Communicator Reflects on Life Lessons

by Seth Arenstein

Veteran PR pro Rob Densen was in his office in one of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. He also was there years earlier, when a truck bomb detonated underneath the complex, killing 6 and injuring 1,000. Densen is an optimist. After 9/11, he almost has to be. Given a chance, he says, people will do the right thing. It's how he explains why NYFD, NYPD and other first responders ran up the stairs, into the Towers on 9/11, as he and others were scrambling down.

Read more...


September 4, 2020

Coronavirus Communication and Sanjay Gupta’s Sobering Labor Day

by Seth Arenstein

Instead of lauding Memorial Day weekend 2020 as the end of the pandemic, historians one day will see it differently. Social activities that weekend led to a spike in the South and West. July 4 parties poured gasoline on the flame. Now, with many states and localities easing restrictions and schools reopening, some public health experts are experiencing sleepless nights pondering Labor Day weekend 2020's legacy.

Read more...


August 24, 2020

Crisis Plans for Back-to-School Include a Closing Strategy

by Nicole Schuman

Many school districts across the country face issues regarding preparation and safety with staggered openings. At the beginning of August, Georgia’s largest school district—Gwinnett County Public Schools—which serves 180,000 students, returned only to find 260 employees test positive for the virus in the days following. The district moved to on-line learning, but may bring some students back.

Read more...


August 7, 2020

Schools Work to Create Clear Communications Plans for Return

by Nicole Schuman

It’s a tense time for education. Teachers are fraught with worry over possible outbreaks of the virus in their classrooms. Parents fret about sending children to college, where safe behavior cannot be guaranteed. For those with younger children, a concern is that schools have loose guidelines around masks, and a lot of speculation.

Read more...


July 30, 2020

Australian Premier Releases Impressive Coronavirus Statement

by Nicole Schuman

In some countries, leaders are not taking any chances when a COVID spike occurs. As of this morning, the premier of Victoria, a province in Australia, released a statement announcing mandatory face coverings for the entire state, not just heavily-populated urban areas. Victoria is home to Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne.

Read more...


July 17, 2020

Communicators Say ‘We Need to Help a Confused Country’

by Seth Arenstein

What happened? Things were supposed to be different. Five months into the pandemic, many of us expected the virus would be receding. Political officials told us so. Instead, cases in nearly 40 states are on the rise. Yesterday, the U.S. set a record for new cases in a single day, at 70,000. Problems many believed were over are not. Hospitals and medical staffs in the south and southwest are overwhelmed, and there are reports of PPE and testing shortages.

Read more...


July 2, 2020

Vanilla Ice, Airlines Need to Read the Room via Social Listening

by Nicole Schuman

It’s not a surprise that many people need to take social media breaks nowadays. With the daily deluge of bad news and waves of hot takes, everyone has an opinion, and no one is afraid to share it. However, some brands and public figures could benefit from spending MORE time on social media, particularly before making big announcements or decisions. While market research is not a new tactic, it may adhere to a newer term called social listening, which takes the temperature of how people feel about topics and brands on social platforms. Read the room is not just a phrase, it's a strategic tactic.

Read more...