Getting the Information Out: Distributing and Rewording the White House Coronavirus Guidelines

The White House’s “Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread” (Guidelines) could be more effective if they went to a wider audience and were written differently. Some suggestions are below.

I. Bringing the Guidelines To a Wider Audience

Currently, one would only know about the Guidelines if one heard the discussion at a White House briefing or on the off-chance it was mentioned in the media. If more people hear about the Guidelines, it is likely that more people will follow them. Some steps to accomplish this goal are below:

  • Read the Guidelines at the start of every White House briefing. Read all of the guidelines and do not just refer to them as whole. Do it at the start of the briefing because that is when most people are listening.

  • Have every news program (network, cable news, local news, etc.) read them at the start of every hour.

  • Keep a continual reference to the guidelines on cable news. Do this with a graphic or a ticker at the bottom of the screen.

  • Put the guidelines at the top of all of the below. Do not require clicking on a link because the click requirement will decrease the number of people who see the Guidelines.

  • Coronavirus.gov, cdc.gov, and Whitehouse.gov

  • News websites (FoxNews, CNN, Drudge, etc.)

  • Social media websites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.)

  • Search websites (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.)

  • Newspaper websites (nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, etc.)

  • Utilize the Emergency Management System as appropriate

  • Distribute the guidelines in different languages

  • Have Congressmen and Senators inform their electorate

  • Send the guidelines via e-mail lists compiled for campaigns

II. Revising the Guidelines

The Guidelines are too long to be read quickly. The goal should be for someone to read them in a short period of time (1-2 minutes if not faster).

The Guidelines are two pages. To read them, one would have to scroll down on a website or flip a page. To increase the chance of exposure, all rules should be on one page. The one page guideline should apply to websites and mobile devices which would require different formatting for each medium.

In their current format, the Guidelines themselves are in a smaller font than the current headlines on the Guidelines pages (page one headline: “15 DAYS TO SLOW THE SPREAD”; page two headline: “DO YOUR PART TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS”). The rules should have the biggest font since they are the most important.

The most important rules, and those which would have the most impact, should be at the top. The first few rules will be read by more people because many people will not read to the end.

An example of a reorganized and rewritten Guidelines is below. If a rule needs more clarification, one could add more detailed Guidelines on a different page or via hyperlink.

FIVE GUIDELINES FOR THE HEALTHY

  1. Obey the four rules of good hygiene: wash your hands, cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or elbow, don’t touch your face, and disinfect commonly used surfaces.

  2. Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 or people.

  3. Avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, and food courts.

  4. Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips, and social visits.

  5. Work and school should be done at home.

FIVE GUIDELINES FOR THE SICK AND SUSCEPTIBLE

  1. If you are sick, stay home and contact your medical provider.

  2. If your children are sick, keep them at home and contact your medical provider.

  3. If someone in your household has tested positive for coronavirus, keep the entire household at home.

  4. If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.

  5. If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition, stay at home and away from other people.

In all, there are ten (10) Guidelines to follow over fifteen (15) days. A catchy title will make the Guidelines more memorable. An example would be “10 for 15”.

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