COVID-19 and the Politics of Information

Part of our webcast series, "SNF Agora Conversations: The Politics and Policy of COVID-19"


This conversation will explore the politics of the information environment around COVID-19, including what social science tells us about how public health communications work; what governments, media, and platforms can do to counter misinformation; and how COVID-19 compares to other public health issues, such as gun violence or vaccines.


  •  Colleen Barry is the Fred and Julie Soper Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at BSPH. Her research focuses on how health and social policies can affect a range of outcomes for individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders. She also looks at how communication strategies influence public attitudes about opioid addiction, mental illness, gun policy, and obesity and food policy.
  • Brendan Nyhan is a professor a professor of government at Dartmouth College and a media critic who regularly contributes to The New York Times’ “Upshot” column. His research focuses on misperceptions about politics and health care, including the effects of misinformation during disease epidemics and outbreaks.

Our conversations will be moderated by Hahrie Han, professor of political science and director of the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University.



One Pandemic, a World of Responses

Join us for a conversation about how and why countries’ responses to COVID-19 have been so varied, what have been the effects, and what lessons governments can learn as they think about preparing for future challenges. With:

  • Anne Applebaum, SNF Agora Senior Fellow and Staff Writer with The Atlantic
  • Ho-fung Hung, Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University
  • Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean of Public Health Practice and Community Engagement for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


About SNF Agora Conversations: The Politics and Policy of COVID-19

As coronavirus spreads across the country and around the globe, we are facing a crisis not just in healthcare, but also in how we live, work, learn, engage, and come together to govern ourselves as citizens and in communities.

How do the politics of the pandemic shape the way individual, communities, and institutions respond? Likewise, how does institutional and governmental response to the pandemic shape people’s political views and behaviors? Do people trust what their governments are telling them? Why are some countries controlling the spread of the virus better than others? In the U.S., how will this affect the 2020 elections? And how do we practice social distancing and also protect and promote civic engagement and inclusive discourse?

SNF Agora Institute will host a series of webcast conversations, with experts from Johns Hopkins University and beyond, that will explore the political and policy implications of COVID-19.