Risk communication in the fight against COVID-19 in Brazil: A rhetorical analysis

Cícera Renata Diniz Vieira Silva Osvaldo Goes Bay Júnior Claudia Santos Martiniano Severina Alice da Costa Uchoa About the authors


The objective was to analyze the information related to the new coronavirus pandemic in Brazil, conveyed by national and state authorities, through the lens of risk communication and community engagement. This is a qualitative and reflective study, anchored in rhetorical analysis. Two groups of speeches were analyzed. The first, nationwide, subdivided into the discourse by the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil and by the Ministry of Health. The second, of the states, represented by their normative actions related to the fight against the pandemic. Some recommendations in the management of the disease have unanimous understanding. Other actions, however, do not find the same support in the national and subnational discourse, reason why the following is adopted for a more detailed analysis in this article: the organization of risk communication and community engagement; the practice of social distancing; and the use of medications to treat the disease. Risk communication is based on the premise that every public health emergency faces communication challenges and may benefit from the lessons already learned. The fact that there are different discourses among the entities of the Federation implies disorganization of information, disagreements, and a greater degree of uncertainty in the population about the disease and how to prevent it.

Pandemics; Coronavirus; Communication; Public Health

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