HomeInternational Journal on Social Innovation & Researchvol. 11 no. 1 (2020)

Social Cohesion, Trust, and Government Action against Pandemics

Marlon Patrick P. Lofredo



The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 and its corresponding COVID-19 is challenging national preparedness and response-ability to pandemics. No one is prepared well, but governments around the world must respond as effectively and efficiently as possible to pandemics, and every occurrence of such worldwide disease must be a lesson for preparedness. While plans and programs may be in place to arrest the rapid spread of the virus, the success of any state intervention relies much on how cohesive the society is, how trusting the people are, and how trustworthy the government is. Social cohesion begets trust, and trust engenders obedience and calm. The absence of social cohesion produces social unrest and social erosion, lack or absence of social trust creates risk societies, disobedience. When these conditions exist, the spread of a virus is inevitable. Furthermore, they create a pandemic of confusion and fear, of stigmatization and discrimination. The ways that nations respond to the pandemic today and how the society responds to state actions will principally determine their lots and destinies in the next decades or even in the next elections. The pandemic reveals the quality of leaders and people a nation has. Governments that are successful at controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and minimizing fatalities of COVID-19 will enjoy even more social cohesion and public trust, while those that deferred vigorous interventions to control its spread will see greater social stress and distrust, resulting in the paralysis of the public’s faith in leaders and government institutions.