I think the Hong Kong president’s speech adhered to the majority of CERC principles. Overall, he demonstrated significant empathy (Be Empathy), a crucial element in effective crisis communication to the public. His actions and words conveyed a genuine sense of care and concern, fostering trust and making it easier for people to follow his instructions. Moreover, given his presidential position, it was evident that he should be the first one to speak to the public in this very serious situation (Be First). However, being the first source also requires being right (Be Right), and in his speech, he mentioned that the coronavirus was less severe and less dangerous than SARS while at that moment, there might have no evidence to prove the severity of this virus, as it was caused by an unknown pathogen. Therefore, in my opinion, he might have aimed to calm people and prevent panic, but this approach could have affected credibility (Be Credible), given that the viral threat proved to be fatal (especially on aging people) later on. In such cases, having a spokesperson with a medical background or expert or provide expert’s references, in situations of uncertainty might be necessary. For the ‘Promote Action‘ principle, he did well by providing three short and easy directives to help reduce the spread of the disease: observe personal hygiene, take your own temperature, and avoid crowds. Lastly, he Showed Respect to the public by not dismissing people’s fears. Also, he offered encouragement and expressed confidence that he and the people would overcome this situation together.
For President Trump, overall, in my opinion, he maintained a good crisis communication and aligned with most aspects of CERC too. First of all, even though his expression seemed serious and strightforward, he provided strong empathy (Be Empathy) for his people. His actions can make people believe in him, assuring that no one will be left behind (as evident from the end of the speech: ‘we are all in this together…’). Moreover, like President Lee, he might be the first (Be first) in this crisis communication, or might not; however, he seemed more prepared and had more reality of information than Lee. He emphasized that the coronavirus could be of low risk for young and strong people but can be high risk, especially for the elderly (Be Right). This truth can calm people down from fear while increasing awareness about the impact against the vulnerable population. However, having a spokesperson may still be necessary when the situation getting worse or change. Furthermore, he encourage people about the financial issue by showing trust regarding financial relief strategies. He instilled the belief in all Americans that the situation, especially the economic aspect, can be handled, along with support from the CDC about vaccination. In case if what he promised was not true, it will impact his credibility. (Be Credible). However, he promoted action quite well, providing clear roles for people in an understandable way: ‘wash your hands, clean often-used surfaces, cover faces and mouths when you sneeze or cough, and if not feeling well, stay at home.’Lastly, for the Show respect principle. His words, ‘I have put the well-being of the American people first,’ indicated that he acknowledged the fear and cared about his people but at some point, like others mentioned he may have blamed other countries which not appropriate in the crisis and emergency risk communication.