11 – 17 June

A snapshot of media coverage on COVID-19

Since 1 January, LSHTM has featured in more than 55,000 pieces of coverage on the coronavirus outbreak across print, broadcast and online.

Many thanks to colleagues who are sparing the time to conduct media engagement in a period when it is vital for the public to receive informed, clear and accurate information on COVID-19.

David Heymann

(17/06) David discusses China’s response to the fresh outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Beijing, on BBC News. David said: “They are looking at the virus to see if it’s genetic sequence is similar to viruses that have been in China in the past, or if it has come in from somewhere else. They have honed in on an area in the market that sells fish, in particular salmon, and they found in the cutting boards some positive specimens. They are doing a very thorough investigation and trying to prevent this from spreading further.”

(15/06) David says the upward trend in COVID-19 cases could be a result of more testing and a reflection of countries’ different strategies, in New Scientist. David said: “It’s really apples and oranges in the same basket because some countries are doing additional testing for contact tracing and throwing positives into the basket, and other countries aren’t doing that.”

Roz Eggo

(18/06) Roz discusses the role of children in COVID-19 transmission in the Daily Mail. Roz said: “We are very certain that children are less likely to have severe outcomes and there are hints that children are less infectious but it is not certain.” Roz’s comments were also covered in Reuters.

(16/06) Roz talks about the implications of new findings that suggest under-20s are around half as susceptible to COVID-19 compared to those aged 20 or over in Sky News. Roz said: “School closures may be less effective for COVID-19 than for example, influenza. This doesn’t mean that school closures are completely ineffective.”

Adam Kucharski

(16/06) Adam is quoted in ITV News about new findings that suggest a combination of self-isolation, extensive contact tracing and moderate physical distancing is required to keep the COVID-19 pandemic under control. Adam said: “Our findings reinforce the growing body of evidence which suggests that we can’t rely on one single public health measure to achieve epidemic control.”

(13/06) Adam discusses whether current COVID-19 mutations could affect the success of a potential vaccine on BBC World Service (from 27:35). Adam said: “Although this virus is picking up new mutations, these aren’t changing the virus in a way that makes them dramatically different.”

Other LSHTM experts

(17/06) Brendan Wren discusses the likelihood of a second COVID-19 wave in China, following a fresh outbreak of cases in Beijing, on Sky News. Brendan said: “Rather than a second wave, I believe these are peaks because we’re having one continuous wave. We’re in one pandemic at the moment so these localised outbreaks are a real concern.”

(16/06) Peter Piot talks about balancing the competing interests of science, politics and economics during the COVID-19 pandemic on PBS. Peter said: “We need to approach it as a risk management, because we can’t close society forever … On the other hand, if this epidemic is not under control, we simply can’t restart the economy at full speed. So, as societies, we will have to learn how to live with COVID-19.”

(16/06) Andrew Clark is quoted in the New York Times about new estimates that suggest 1.7 billion people globally have at least one underlying health condition that could increase their risk of severe COVID-19. Andrew said: “Increased risk is not equivalent to high risk. Even if they are infected with the coronavirus, not everyone with a condition will progress to a hospital.”

(16/06) Tim Russell explains what the infection fatality rate is in Nature. Tim said: “The studies I have any faith in are tending to converge around 0.5–1%.”

(14/06) Liam Smeeth discusses the “open question” of asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission in BBC News. Liam said: “The uncertainties involved emphasise the importance of lockdown measures in massively reducing the numbers of people infected.”

(14/06) Chris Bonnell tells The Guardian that financial aid needs to be given to individuals that are being told to self-isolate. Chris said: “There is a concern that individuals will not adhere to self isolation if there are financial or other material barriers to this. So individuals need to be properly compensated for lost income, and statutory sick pay will, in many cases, not be sufficient.”

(14/06) In Fortune, Sunil Bhopal highlights the importance of acknowledging the impact of COVID-19 on society’s most vulnerable members: children, migrants and the homeless. Sunil said: “It’s crucial that a variety of voices are heard—those who are voiceless or powerless.”

(13/06) Mark Jit discusses initial lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic on CNN. Mark said: “In terms of patient management, we know the main pressure points will be in the ICU and on ventilators … So we are a bit more prepared for what’s going to happen. We know PPE is crucial to prevent spread of COVID-19 in hospitals, which is very important. We do know a bit more of how to handle this. But on the treatment front, we still don’t have that magic bullet yet.”

(13/06) Martin McKee discusses the effectiveness of face coverings in reducing COVID-19 transmission, in The Telegraph (£). Martin said: “There is growing evidence that face coverings are effective, as part of a package of measures, but crucially in protecting other people rather than the wearer. The clear implication is that there is a strong case for making them compulsory when in indoor spaces with other people, including public transport”

(12/06) In CNN, Gwenan Knight discusses the settings linked to the transmission of COVID-19, in light of recent protests around the world. Gwenan said: “We have not found protests to yet be associated but we are really looking at settings rather than events. I would imagine that protests might not be so risky as they are outdoor but then the individuals may be involved in shouting (which may be risky for transmission) and they may be in close contact for long periods of time.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight comes from Twitter, where we posted our latest Viral podcast episode with Lioba Hirsch, who discussed some of the challenges faced by Black, Asian, and minority ethnic people during COVID-19.

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