Auteur : Tony Pape

On the Rhetorical Use of “Stealth” and “Invisibility” in Pandemic Communication

Soon after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the novel coronavirus was described as a “stealth virus” because those who carry it are highly contagious before they show any signs of infection. This is indeed a major public health issue: If people are contagious well before they show any symptoms, strategies of contact tracing and containment are bound to play catch-up. However, the label of the “stealth virus” was also instrumentalized, especially in political rhetoric, to insinuate a lack of transparency of the virus itself. This post briefly explores how the label of the “stealth virus” was rhetorically weaponized for political purposes.

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