ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Crisis Communication during COVID-19

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As I write this letter, India is in the grip of a second wave of COVID-19, and people are dying across the country due to shortage of oxygen and beds in hospitals. The health sector has further been stressed and is on the verge of cracking up. Over the last one year, India’s response towards the pandemic has been at multiple levels. One of it is the government communication to the public. It is centred on the dissemination of information regarding the dos and don’ts during the pandemic, number of hospital beds, daily status of COVID-19 cases, fighting misinformation and information concerning restrictions, lockdowns, and curfews. Both the central government and majority of the state governments were involved in constant communication with the public. However, there is an overall perception that failure in the communication strategy of the government is one of the reasons that has contributed to the present mismanagement of the pandemic.

It is known that during a crisis situation, the government has to over-communicate, but the central government and majority of the state governments chose to under-communicate. For instance, take the case of hospital beds. Since the pandemic began in India, there was a lack of transparency on the number of hospital beds across India: most of the states used to under-report and provide faulty data concerning the number of hospital beds. If the communication regarding the hospital beds was transparent and accurate since the pandemic began, we could have been better prepared for this second wave by augmenting the capacity of hospital beds across hospitals from the start of the pandemic in the early 2020.

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Updated On : 3rd May, 2021

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