25 June – 1 July

A snapshot of media coverage on COVID-19

Peter Piot

(30/06) Peter emphasises that face masks should be compulsory in all public and enclosed spaces, in The Guardian. Peter said: “Britain is a nation of people who want absolute evidence, and the evidence for masks is more ecological, as we say. There are very few randomised controlled trials. But even if they are not 100% effective, if everybody wears one, we know from other countries that it works.”

(26/06) Peter discusses the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 in Horizon. Peter said: “Epidemics often reveal the fault lines in society and exacerbate inequities. That goes way beyond the biological and medical aspects, but that’s what we need to plan for now.”

Adam Kucharski

(30/06) In The Guardian, Adam discusses why under some conditions, the reproduction number can be misleading. Adam said: “We have to be cautious about putting too much on a single value. Outbreaks have many dimensions to them.”

(30/06) Adam explains the importance of understanding why some people infect many others, while others don’t spread COVID-19 at all, in the New York Times. Adam said: “Otherwise, you’re in the position where you’re always one step behind the virus.”

Other LSHTM experts

(01/07) On ITV’s Peston show (from 26:23), John Edmunds cautions that there is more risk in contracting COVID-19 indoors than outside. John said: “Mixing indoors is much more risky than mixing outside. Going to pubs and cinemas does carry some risk. You can’t reduce that risk to zero.”

(01/07) In The Guardian, Martin McKee highlights that the lack of public community testing data makes trying to understand the pandemic difficult. Martin said: “It is clear that there are some parts of the country where the epidemic is still progressing. This means there is a need for a much more granular and localised assessment of when areas can open up.”

(30/06) Heidi Larson reinforces the importance of restoring public confidence in vaccines, in Science. Heidi said: “We better use every minute we have between now and when that vaccine is ready, because it’s real fragile ground right now.”

(30/06) David Heymann discusses the changing incidence of COVID-19 and how to potentially curb transmission in New Scientist. David said: “It may be better to think about suppressing and unsuppressing. That’s what the countries are going to have to do: unlock their suppressing activities and if they see suppression isn’t working as they wanted it to do, they’ll have to lockdown again.”

(29/06) Brendan Wren comments on Leicester’s spike in COVID-19 cases, in inews. Brendan said: “Why this outbreak occurred in the east part of Leicester is unclear and we may never know as the 900+ number of cases may be too high to drill down to the fine detail of the original source(s) of the infection.”

(26/06) In The Telegraph (£), Neil Pearce discusses the latest ONS figures that show that those working in social care, the NHS, and in occupations such as cleaning, construction and security, are more likely to die of COVID-19 than other working age people in the UK. Neil said: “The report strengthens the evidence that, for working age people, COVID-19 is largely an occupational disease … All of these occupations should be supplied with appropriate PPE and required to use it – this is a workplace health and safety issue. It is not just health and social care workers who need PPE – it is anyone working with the public.”

(25/06) Martin Hibberd highlights that antibody tests are an important component of the public-health response to COVID-19, in BBC News. Martin said: “If used successfully, the data generated will be important surveillance information for understanding the effectiveness of control measures put in place.”

Further LSHTM coverage

(25/06) Gillian McKay explains how efforts to contain the 2014 Ebola outbreak in DRC were hampered by violence and mistrust, in The Telegraph. Gillian said: “Clearly we were not listening to the community and their needs if we were having this extreme level of pushback. But protocols were changed after responders listened to the locals, to understand their concerns and complaints. I think the big lesson will be the need for a two-way communication system.”

On Social Media

This week’s social media highlight comes from Twitter, where we spotlighted the work of social epidemiologist, Mishal Khan.

Comments are closed.