Glen Nowak, associate dean for research and graduate studies in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, spoke with “All Things Considered,” of NPR, about messaging surrounding COVID-19 in 2022.
Throughout the pandemic, messaging from the Centers for Disease Control has been a topic of debate and criticism. As the virus evolved and scientists learned more about the risks, there were some contradictions among officials on best practices to avoid contracting COVID-19.
Nowak, who previously served as the director of CDC media relations, said that viruses can be tricky in terms of messaging.
“The situation is much more dynamic. Viruses change a lot and can change in ways that render your recommendations not so effective,” he said.
He said that there has been a shifting balance in control of messaging between the White House and the CDC over multiple administrations and terms.
“You have to be willing to trust that the scientists and the experts who are doing those briefings are going to do what needs to be done, right? And this administration is not unique in terms of their willingness to trust career scientists,” said Nowak.