World Leaders and How They Handled the Pandemic and Communications Crises in Their Countries
The global pandemic has proven to be difficult to put under control, as many government officials around the world have noted. However, some current, as well as former, political leaders haven’t made the greatest efforts in combating the virus outbreaks in their own countries. Whether that meant downplaying the severity of the virus, completely or partially disregarding scientists and their warnings, or even ignoring to instate crucial health measures such as masks, or social distancing.
However, at the core of all those mistakes were issues with communication that rapidly snowballed into full-on PR crises for those political leaders and their countries.
Of course, India being the latest epicenter of the pandemic is at the top of the list right now, given how there have been around 400,000 new cases recorded each day this month. As negative this statistic as it might be, it still doesn’t completely capture the entirety of the situation that’s currently happening in the country. From patients having to be turned away from hospitals, to a lack of oxygen and lifesaving drugs, the country is in a deep crisis.
The source of the country’s problem is in the statement that its Prime Minister said at the beginning of the year, on how the country effectively contained the virus. A couple of months later he released a statement on how the pandemic was reaching its end when it was actually the opposite.
Unfortunately, the Indian government didn’t make the necessary preparations to contain the emergence of a new Covid-19 variant in March by instating health policies such as mask mandates or social distancing. The misinformation led the public to attend outdoor public events and religious festivals which quickly turned into superspreader events.
Another country that mishandled the global pandemic due to misinformation and ignoring scientists was Brazil, whose President regarded the virus as a “little flu” from the very start. Not only that, but the Brazilian President also used his constitutional powers to hinder the administrative protocols of the Health Ministry. He also ended up vetoing a crucial piece of legislation that was supposed to mandate the use of masks in religious locations and help health professionals deal with the increase in patient numbers.
The Brazilian President also interfered in the government’s efforts in promoting social distancing and used his powers to keep many businesses open that weren’t deemed as essential in other countries, such as gyms or spas. Additionally, he continuously promoted misinformation on the health benefits of unproven medicinal solutions for the virus.
Finally, he also created additional vaccine hesitancy between the country’s citizens by openly claiming he wouldn’t be taking any of the Covid-19 vaccines because of side effects, which further created crises in communications with the public and within the government. Although the number of cases in Brazil has slowly started to decrease in the last couple of weeks, due to the misinformation and miscommunication, the situation is still dire.