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I read the five secrets of Crisis Communication and my opinion is that all of them are important. However “How Do People React in a Pandemic?” and based on this “Managing Panic in a Pandemic” are especially important.
When people become aware of a risk, they overreact, but this is mostly a temporary short-term overreaction. This behavior is advantageous. The earlier people go through this first phase of overreaction the better it is. People who have gone through it come out on the other side calmer and better able to cope. People who are panicking do themselves harm. Not only panic is a problem, but also denial. Denial is not useful, because people don't take precautions. Those who are in denial don't accomplish much, but at least they don't make things any worse. Denial is nature's way of protecting us from the horrible effects of panic. That’s why the five principles against denial are very helpful:"Legitimize fear","Things to do","Things to decide","Love,Hate".
Panic is about a loss of social and internal order. Most of the time people are running around doing what they believe is self-protective. This exacerbated the situation in most cases. In this case trust plays an important part, but this is also a problem. The government must win the trust of the people to ensure a successful fight against panic. People must be shown that they are not alone and that the best possible measures are taken. If you don't have the trust, people aren't going to follow what you say to do. Journalists play a key role helping government manage fear in the general population during a disaster. That’s why an expert panel has the idea of a "psychological first aid" and its five elements: safety, calming, connection, efficacy and hope. Journalists should keep this in mind in their reporting.