Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Preparing democracies for pandemics

Pandemic communications: follow the science but lead with psychology

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 30 November 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4647
  1. Joseph Zacharias, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon1,
  2. Megan Joffe, psychologist2
  1. 1Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Blackpool FY3 8NR, UK
  2. 2Edgecumbe Consulting, Bristol, UK
  1. drjzacharias{at}

The evolving pandemic has exposed weaknesses in our society. This is particularly obvious in countries where democracy and autonomy are paramount.1 “Follow the science” is a phrase we hear from politicians. But science is not a straight and narrow stream that flows steadily in one direction. It often meanders along, taking the occasional wrong turn, trying to course around areas of resistance. Eventually, it finds a way through when the …

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