Building and maintaining public trust is key if you want a coordinated disaster response effort. If people don't trust those responding to the disaster, they won't be cooperate, and may act in counter-productive ways. Without trust, coordination goes out the window.
The Nieman Guide to Covering Pandemics mentions a few interesting, counter-intuitive principles for building trust
in a crisis:
1. Admit the unknowns. Counter-intuitive because people trust those who seem to know what's going on. However, in situations where there are significant unknowns, the alternative to admitting unknowns to be evasive or to put forward guesses that may later turn out to be false. Either route destroys trust. Present an accurate a****sment of what significant facts remain unknown, but also communicate what's being done to fill those gaps.
2. Don't over-reassure. Counter-intuitive because admitting how bad the situation is doesn't sound reassuring at first glance. However, there's no way to make someone panic faster than telling them everything
is all right when they can see it's not. Admitting the magnitude of the problem doesn't reassure that there is no problem, rather it reassures those feeling fear that they are not crazy and not alone, that the crisis at hand can be managed psychologically without resorting to denial.
3. More direct communication from core responders to the crisis. It might initially seem like communicating with the press diverts such people from more direct crisis response tasks. However, due to the effectiveness of direct communication for increasing trust, crisis response might be more effective if you get scientists and doctors (and so on) to the press conference, even if that takes them away from the hospital or the lab for a bit.