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Coronavirus briefings should be standardized at all levels of government

03/25/20

Read the full article by the San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board here.

Which brings us to the San Diego County government, which has the most responsibilities of any local agency for public health. The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board could hardly have been more critical of how county officials responded to the hepatitis A epidemic in 2017.

But by having county doctors and health officials join in regular 2:30 p.m. briefings that last an hour — with about 15 minutes for updates and statements and about 45 minutes for questions that are emailed or texted by offsite reporters — the county is providing a needed service.

This is “not ideal,” as county communications director Michael Workman acknowledges, in the sense that in the pre-coronavirus days, journalists’ access was more direct and immediate.

But so far at least, it appears to strike a balance between health officials’ need to handle pressing responsibilities and stay safe themselves and to provide updates. At other times of day, Workman and his staff have been very accessible, at least in our experience.