The researchers didn’t compare countries’ reading levels with Covid-19 outcomes like the infection and mortality rate. But they did touch on how these scores can be correlated with how a country manages the coronavirus. “Nonadherence to readability standards may have a greater influence in communities with lower health literacy, potentially exacerbating the disparate effects of the pandemic,” the researchers write. “As such, efforts should focus on the urgent development of plain-language Covid-19 resources that conform to established guidelines for clear communication and are more accessible to all audiences.”

Of course, many of these countries and public health agencies offer materials that aren’t in English, so this study doesn’t encompass the full breadth of what they communicate. But it seems that a successful coronavirus communication strategy meets citizens where they are, like Taiwan’s humor-driven approach. Each country has unique insight into what will motivate its citizens to comply with advice from the medical community; the real challenge is in turning that knowledge into digestible, actionable information.

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