Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (Image: AAP/Darren England)

With something as devastating as the coronavirus, we can’t afford to get things wrong. This week's spectacular slip-up in Queensland -- for which officials are refusing to apologise -- shows why it's so important for public officials to get their facts right if they don't want public health to be undermined.

Over the weekend the state’s health officials blamed a young man for hosting a party of 25 people in his home while he waited for the results of a COVID-19 test which proved to be positive.

Understandably, in a state where residents have willingly followed instructions to stay virus-free, that accusation caused outrage. Trolls focused their attention on the young man, who is now in hospital, and talk erupted over whether specific laws should target those who recklessly put themselves over others. The media, too, had a field day.