Presenting basic information is helpful many cases, but many derive great utility and comfort from stories that help make sense of what’s happening. Bare statistics without any analysis or context can potentially do more harm than good. Sharing a phone number without explaining precisely who should call it and under what circumstances could prompt unnecessary calls to a government seeking to unburden itself or discourage those who need help most from calling in the first place. As an authority that can inform life-and-death decisions made by the public, government has an obligation not only to provide information but also to help craft a reliable narrative for those looking to it for guidance.
This is part of StateScoop and EdScoop’s special report on coronavirus response. Read the rest of the report.