2020年02月15日慕尼黑安全會議上，WHO秘書長譚德賽說，我們不只是在對抗流行病，我們也在對抗「信息流行病」(We’re not just fighting an epidemic, we’re fighting an infodemic.)。社交網站上不正確的訊息已造成公共衛生的威脅，目前急需傳播可信賴之信息，包括，透明的確診資訊、資料共享、暢通無阻的溝通、及經過同儕審查的研究。關鍵資訊的接收與傳遞，將決定下一波的流行。
As governments and health officials worldwide grapple with the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, new developments in the accounting of and response to cases are occurring as part of a swiftly evolving crisis. On Feb 11, 2020, WHO announced an official name for the novel coronavirus disease: coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). After a stabilisation in the number of new cases, on Feb 13, 2020, China reported nearly 15 000 new COVID-19 cases and 242 deaths in a single day in Hubei province. Previously, tallies had included only laboratory-confirmed cases, and this spike resulted from reclassification of old and probable cases diagnosed with broader clinical criteria, including radiographical confirmation of pneumonia. These revised criteria have been applied only in Hubei province and might provide a clearer picture of the situation at the centre of the outbreak, as the seemingly low previous numbers had caused doubt and consternation about the accuracy of reporting. WHO has indicated that the trajectory of the epidemic has probably remained the same, but it is still unclear which way it will go and the global community must remain vigilant. How key information is relayed to the public during the next phase of the epidemic is critical.
With as many as 72 000 cases, the national security strategy for COVID-19 within China has shifted to so-called wartime control measures, putting cities on lockdown and affecting an estimated 760 million people. Regional identification, isolation, and treatment implementation have brought a range of high-tech and militarised approaches. Identification of suspected cases has included extensive efforts in contact tracing, using everything from transportation documents to mobile phone hotlines. Harsh criticism has been levied about the silencing of dissenting voices in China, including Dr Li Wenliang, who was arrested after raising concerns about the virus on social media and subsequently died from COVID-19. Other concerns have been raised about reported measures such as isolation and mass round-ups and quarantining of people at makeshift medical facilities for unspecified durations. Western media have also reported that some residential areas have been sealed off in a grid system, with checkpoints and monitoring of movements, effectively detaining residents. Some internal public transport and external travel to China has been halted via advisories and bans restricting commercial flights. However, there is little evidence that travel bans effectively halt the spread of infectious diseases, and instead they can hamper supply chains, lead to stigma and mistrust, and might violate the principles of the International Health Regulations, as outlined in a Comment published in The Lancet.