Audrey Hinchcliffe | COVID-19 Public Education: Words Count | Remark
Over time, I might just produce a COVID-19 language compendium. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic of overwhelming confusion, anxiety and fear, we are eager to hear, in simpler terms, words we can understand and can withhold instructions and advice on the spread and control of the coronavirus.
This may be at the root of the non-adherence to protocols and skepticism about vaccines. In this regard, a whole new vocabulary emerges as warnings and signals about the coronavirus overtake the media and the airwaves. In my lifetime, and this is a very long time, I have never seen so many experts in medical care, healthcare, science and technology, systems and procedures. Talk to anyone, professional, lay people, students and even academics and you might hear that they are overwhelmed with information overload. A glaring example is that of the status of vaccination. It may defeat the purpose of information and education when people go offline. For example, what is vaccination, immunization, inoculation, variant and mutant?
Information overload arises from talking points on several measures at the same time, sometimes supported by sign language. The means of communication on any subject should be designed to inform and educate, so we should be attentive to the signals and meaning of the communication tools used in the context of the fight against COVID-19 and its related topics.
For the purposes of this article, my preferred definition of communication is taken from quora.com, which states, “Communication is the process of transmitting information and understanding from one person to another”. Simply put, “it is a process of transmission and sharing of ideas, opinions, facts, values, etc., from one person to another or from one organization to another”, and I repeat “in layman’s terms”, and it is this observation that prompts me to point out that words are important in reducing fear-based messages about the disease – COVID-19 and now vaccines, the latter of which opened mass confusion over brands, timing, who gets it and when, and where myths and misunderstandings abound.
I’m not trying to teach communication, just saying by listening to daily COVID-19 briefings, locally and internationally, if what’s presented sometimes comes right through my head and I’m a professional seasoned health, I wonder what is the effect and understanding of other listeners. In addition, the context of the communication is also very important, as we don’t end up believing what was written on a t-shirt that I had years ago, namely “If you can’t dazzle them with wit, so confuse them with B …. S ‘. Let’s be clear, this is not necessarily my point of view locally, but in other jurisdictions, whether through stress, overbearing or outright insensitivity and ignorance, BS listeners can be interpreted as a political orientation on information, education and perhaps for deeds.
In the case of a presentation by the former President of the United States at a briefing, he distorted cleaning surfaces with UV light and chemical cleaning agents because what came out was his interpretation or his understanding that surface remedies for COVID-19 are worth trying to cleanse the lungs by ingestion or injection. It is communication that goes wrong and it is dangerous for life, health and well-being. I can only hope that listeners strongly rejected any suggestion that harmful UV rays and cleansing agents can be introduced into the body.
If not already on the packaging, manufacturers should place the “skull and crossbones” symbol for visual effect under “warning”. What has been heard and what has been interpreted and repeated confirms my view that WORDS COUNT – from cleaning surfaces with light and fluids to cleaning the lungs by injection or ingestion. While this is blatantly ridiculous, I’m concerned that what has been introduced for research will lead to a new era of drugs and drinks – WORDS MATTER. Just imagine the mixologist of the world showing up to treat COVID-19 by starting to make daiquiri with a dash of Lysol; a Dettol martini; Tide Pod smoothie; a bleach spray bottle; or go to the doctor for an injection of disinfectant with light UV rays. God forbid, as already in the United States, the governor of a state has reported that calls have been received to inquire about the use of light and chemicals. There have also been reports of increased calls to poison control centers as the ingestion of harmful substances takes place and even death is reported.
Other forms of communication that I personally find disconcerting are the use of certain words which are clearly unnecessary when intended to educate and inform. Below are some new words, and some not so new, that may be suitable for researchers and, of course, for those who wish to hone their skills as a blacksmith. However, to engage with the public in times of crisis, we need to simplify the language to improve compliance with measures to control the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
• PUT ON AND REMOVE PPE
First, let me start with PPE, which is personal protective equipment. It is simply protective clothing designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection. It includes helmets, face shields, goggles – goggles or masks – masks of different types, gowns, coveralls or coveralls, shoes or boots, gloves and other related body coverings. As you can imagine, we put them on and take them out very carefully without touching any exterior parts that may have come in contact with the hazard – infections or harmful materials causing injury. So, what is “put on” and “take off?” It is simply a matter of putting on and carefully removing protective clothing (or equipment).
The pronunciation is a tongue twister because sometimes I hear “coremobidity”. Why are we using it anyway? Just say if there is more than one health disorder or disease in the same person. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis, or have lupus, asthma, and cancer. Call diseases by their names. It’s bad enough, I’m trying to figure out the signs and symptoms that are making me sick, do I have COVID-19, the flu or any other respiratory illness, and now you are highlighting the comorbidity?
Just say that you are not showing any signs of being sick. I can easily understand this.
• SOCIAL DISTANCING
Tell me to leave a space between myself and the others. Is it the same or should we also say “physical distancing”? What’s confusing is whether it’s three feet or six feet. More recently, while watching television, I heard “two meters or seven feet”.
Someone wrote to ask the MMS that in the event of contagion, are we ready to act and work? Immediately someone asked, “What is this?” Why not just ask if the disease starts to spread among the staff, can we provide some replacement staff? The word contagion can scare people away, but don’t use it.
• MEDICAL CARE VS HEALTH CARE
Medical versus health care has long been my pet peeve. Medical care is care received from a doctor or health care professional. On the other hand, health care is the organization of delivery and efforts to maintain and restore health and well-being, which includes medical care. My simple definition is that it is a system that underpins the business enterprise – people, processes, and products (supply chain). It is as if medicine meets hotel and hospitality services.
The tendency to use them interchangeably is widespread, but clarity comes when there is a problem with the results, there is a wide range of health care, as medical care is not a part of health care. , unlike the health system.
• VACCINATION, INOCULATION, VACCINATION
Immunization, inoculation, vaccination are often used as synonyms but there are important differences between them. Let’s go to end the confusion. Vaccination is about protecting a person from infection, while inoculation is the process and vaccination is the injection (the medicine) for vaccination.
• VARIANT AND MUTANT
Now here is the variant and the mutant. “A variant (a name) is a form or version of something that differs in some respect from other forms of the same or a standard.” Simply put, it’s a variation of the same thing.
Mutant (a verb), on the other hand, is simply a new form of something, and the related use as an adjective is mutation.
Clarity I hope, so much the words count!
The point I’m trying to make in the definitions above is that COVID-19 has created a whole new vocabulary that, for daily briefings and public education, needs to be meaningful to listeners. The literacy level of the Jamaican population, which represents over 84% of men and 93% of women, should help raise communication to a level where education and information can be received, processed, understood and improved. conformity. However, the illiterate, semi-literate and ignorant must also get the message out for the prevention and control of COVID-19 and to reduce fear, for example, what is COVID-19, signs and symptoms, how it spreads, which is at risk and measures to slow it down, prevention and treatment when a person becomes ill. Good communication for public education is what will motivate the push for acceptance and uptake of the vaccine.
Kudos to the government for taking the lead with information sessions on these measures. But in the face of seemingly poor compliance with some measures, the spread of the virus continues to escalate and community spread is in full flight. I believe that part of the cause of the continued spread is concern for personal circumstances, for example, entertainment, a paycheck, privileges and the freedom to exercise one’s God-given rights. It is for these reasons that people hide their illness when known and some unknown because they have no symptoms and some openly challenge accepting personal responsibility for controlling the spread of the virus. This is why I am of the opinion that what is said, how it is said should arouse the interest of the listener, who in turn will understand their personal responsibility in the struggle to control COVID-19 and the acceptance. vaccine. .