Postcard on covid comms vol5

It’s been a strange couple of weeks in many ways with lots of optimism and pace around the vaccine and the amazing job staff are doing to roll it out, set against the continuing daily grind of Covid with no let up just yet.

It’s now been a year of toil for most NHS staff so last week we looked at ways of marking this in a way that was appropriate but at the same time respectful, while also being mindful that most frontline people are exhausted. It’s not an easy balance but this how we tried to tackle it:

You can see our video here

Fake news

Our part of the country has been relatively quiet when it comes to anti-vax and covid deniers but this week we saw the first signs of it with some defaced signs and local graffiti. Anecdotally the problem still feels more like a minority issue with supply and demand the greater concern.

However, there’s a really salutary piece in the FT that talks well about conspiracy theory which got me thinking about the dangers of the Barbara Streisand effect in trying to challenge some of the myths. It talks about the “illusory truth phenomena, where repeated exposure to a falsehood can prime us to implicitly accept it”

You can read it here:

Harsh realities

One way of challenging myths is by highlighting some of the grim realities for both patients who become seriously ill with Covid and the staff looking after them who are dealing with workloads and death rates I struggle to comprehend. 

Susie from Gateshead talks about ITU here

Dr Rob Whittle talks about the reality of ITU in Northumberland here

A harrowing but uplifting story of a firefighter who spent 38 days on ITU Read more here


In a previous blog I mentioned one of the consequences of the pandemic has been much closer working relationships between agencies and better collaboration on communications. This is a real advantage and I hope it continues long after the current situation comes to an end.

We’ve been working really closely with our local councils and all the other agencies on the patch and I think this fantastic council-led campaign is a really good example of how we can deliver key messages together.

Some listening

Not much to recommend this week apart from this excellent podcast looking at the North/South divide through a historical lens

Seals – the seals are out on the rocks at our local beach which was a rare highlight of the increasingly monotonous and cold daily walks.

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