The Expert Next Door: A Commentary on Interactions with Friends and Family During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic thrust the field of public health into the spotlight. For many epidemiologists, biostatisticians, and other public health professionals, this caused the professional aspects of our lives to collide with the personal, as friends and family reached out with concerns and questions. Learning how to navigate this space was new for many and required refining our communication depending on context, setting, and audience. Some of us took to social media, utilizing our existing personal accounts to share information after sorting through and summarizing the rapidly emerging literature to keep loved ones safe. However, those in our lives sometimes asked unanswerable questions, or began distancing themselves when we suggested more stringent guidance than they hoped, causing additional stress during an already traumatic time. We often had to remind ourselves that we are also individuals experiencing this pandemic, and that our time-intensive efforts were meaningful, relevant, and impactful. As this pandemic and other public health crises continue, we encourage our discipline to consider how we can best use shared lessons from this period, and recognize that our professional knowledge, when used in our personal lives, can promote, protect, and bolster confidence in public health.

Posted on:
October 7, 2021
1 minute read, 197 words
Peer Reviewed Article
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