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How Halloween highlights the COVID-19 communication paradox

THE BIG STORY | posted Wednesday, Oct 21st, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, Trick or Treating is cancelled in some Ontario hotspots, and it’s easy to be upset on behalf of the kids and wonder why. After all, we’ve been told the safest things are done outside, wearing masks. This seems like something that kids—who are also in closed school rooms all week—should be allowed to do. And this is the problem of communication during this pandemic—when numbers in Ontario and elsewhere have been climbing for a month but death rates and hospitalizations haven’t kept pace with the spike.

The more we learn about COVID-19, the more our understanding of risk and recommended best practices evolve. But the more you change the messaging, the less people can follow it. So when we’re in the middle of a spike and we’re hearing we should all be extra cautious, holding off on Halloween may be more of a communications problem than a safety issue.

GUEST: David Fisman, epidemiologist, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

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