Insights from the dashboard: Leadership and COVID-19
In the past month, both leadership and COVID-19 were trending topics on the EARS dashboard. In this article, we’ll show you how our dashboard can generate new insights into the connection between these two subjects.
In the past months, leadership was a trending topic on the EARS dashboard. In fact, whereas only 39% of articles added to the dashboard in December 2020 related to leadership, this was the case for 67% of all articles in January 2021.
Not only did the topic of leadership occur in 67% of all articles; it also showed significant overlap with the issue of COVID-19. About a third of all articles about leadership also concern the topic of coronavirus. As shown in the graph below, both subjects gained significant importance on the dashboard in January.
Let’s take a look at the recent developments around these two issues in Europe.
In news articles from all across Europe, we see a similar pattern when it comes to the relationship between leadership and COVID-19: discussions about vaccines. Several religious leaders have spoken out on vaccination, most of them urging faithful to get the jab. For instance, the Bishop of Antwerp called Belgian Catholics to get vaccinated without hesitation, Irish bishops have encouraged all citizens to support the vaccination program, and also the Holy See and Pope Francis have urged people to get vaccinated. In Italy, calls rose to prioritise priests in COVID-19 vaccination programs, since the death toll amongst clergy has grown. On the other hand, the Georgian Church has stated to be satisfied that getting the vaccine will not be mandatory. The Church has also said not to promote vaccination efforts, since that is the sphere of doctors, not theologians. 
Not only has the Holy See supported vaccination programs; it has also drawn attention to the damaging social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, in February, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva, focused on the importance of caring for the most vulnerable in society. According to Jurkovič, the pandemic has had adverse effects on everyone’s psychological, emotional, social, and economic well-being. However, COVID-19 has also brought forward latent global problems, such as greed, individualism, and efforts to silence minority voices.
Similarly, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, has emphasised that coronavirus does not justify the limitation of human rights. According to Gallagher, governments should combine the protection of public health with the protection of their citizens’ human rights, such as the right to religious freedom and freedom of conscience.
Leadership and COVID-19
The overlap between religious leaders’ responsibilities and statements or efforts around COVID-19 is clear. For instance, most religious leaders are rather positive about global vaccination efforts, and support both faithful and the wider community to get vaccinated. Nevertheless, they are also aware of the problems the pandemic has caused in society, ranging from economic to emotional effects. In the next few months, the efforts taken by religious leaders might well influence the containment of coronavirus, as well as its direct effects.
The EARS dashboard allows you to gain insight into a large number of topics, including leadership and COVID-19. It is a free tool that enables you to make similar connections as described above, and to find out about new relationships between interesting subjects across Europe. Please visit the dashboard to learn more.