23-29 July

A snapshot of media coverage on COVID-19

Peter Piot

(26/07) Peter shares his experiences of the after-effects of COVID-19 with The Telegraph. Peter said: “The medical profession is accumulating experience but it’s clearly an area that is under researched. We have to look at it because the burden will be not only on individuals but the health system as a whole, so we need to know how to support people. I think there will be a long tail of symptoms and some people will go through life with chronic conditions after this.”

(26/07) Peter speaks to The Telegraph about the current COVID-19 testing measures. Peter said: There’s still a lot of unused testing capacity in universities and private labs. Academic centres are ready to contribute but at the moment it’s been limited to the NHS and the public sector.”

(24/07) Peter’s address to the Common’s Science and Technology Select Committee also appears in The Telegraph (£): “Whether we will have a major problem or a more controllable problem in the winter will depend on what we do now in terms of policies but also individual behaviour.”

Beate Kampmann

(26/07) Beate comments on fake news surrounding vaccines in The Telegraph. Beate said: “There is already stuff going around on social media saying that this vaccine was tested on children in Africa and they all died…and once that’s out there it’s very difficult to fight that false information.”

(25/07) Beate talks to BBC Radio Scotland (from 13.55) about the feasibility of a COVID-19 vaccine. Beate said: “The news that we had from Oxford…basically shows that the vaccine does what you expect a vaccine to do in early phases, which means it’s safe and it induces the kind of immune response that you think will give some protection.”

Jimmy Whitworth

(28/07) Jimmy discusses a second wave of COVID-19 in the UK on BBC Radio 4 Today programme (From 2:41:20). Jimmy said: “We’re over the peak of the first wave of the outbreak but what we’re having now are clusters, local spikes of infection that are occurring and I think this is to be anticipated. The virus has not gone away and remains as transmissible as ever.”

(27/07) Jimmy explains the risks of the current rise of illegal raves during the pandemic in GQ. Jimmy said:It goes without saying that the more people you’re in contact with, the more likely you are to get infected – and on average one infected person infects two to three others, so it can easily snowball.”

(26/07) Jimmy discusses the use of a potential vaccine to control COVID-19 on LBC. Jimmy said: “You don’t have to vaccination absolutely everybody as long as you get to a reasonable number, and it depends on how infectious the condition is. For this coronavirus we’d need probably two thirds of the population of the world essentially to be able to control it.”

Heidi Larson

(25/07) Heidi discusses the need to dispel anti-vaccination rumours in the Daily Mail. Heidi said: “There is a view that coronavirus vaccines have been developed too fast and shortcuts have been taken, when in fact this has been possible from better technology, new knowledge and funding which did not previously exist. This is not being stated strongly and clearly enough, and the Government and scientists need to do this.”

(24/07) Heidi talks to LBC about the Government’s plan to give half of the population a flu vaccine in the next 12 months. Heidi said: “The last thing we need now, and which would be really quite dangerous for health, is to get a convergence of another wave of COVID-19 coming back and the flu.”

Other LSHTM Experts

(29/07) Graham Medley comments on the resurgence of coronavirus in Europe in the Financial Times. Graham said: “All of a sudden the numbers have got bigger, but in fact they’ve been growing slowly over the past month or two. There isn’t a particular trigger — it’s just part of that process of exponential growth.”

(28/07) Sam Clifford discusses the possibility of lessening the required quarantine period to 8 days in The Guardian. Sam said: “Combining PCR (testing) with a week of quarantine could prevent up to 94 per cent of infectious persons entering and could help people get back a week earlier than under the current two-week quarantine policy – which we estimate catches up to 99 per cent.”

(27/07) Rachel Lowe discusses whether the virus will spread more in winter with BBC News. Rachel said: “I think it [a winter surge] is something we absolutely have to prepare for, the biggest danger is people becoming complacent about protecting themselves.

(24/07) Stephen stresses the importance of a phase III in the Oxford vaccine trial in Medical News Today. Stephen said: “For the vaccine to be really useful, we not only need the larger studies conducted where COVID-19 is still occurring at a high rate, but we need to be reasonably sure that the protection lasts for a considerable time. The results on efficacy have not been presented.”

(24/07) Sally Bloomfield speaks to BBC Somerset (from 2:11:15) about the benefits of wearing masks to control the spread of COVID-19. Sally said: “In the last month there have been half a dozen publications come out, and they really do show the benefits of masks…from Hong Kong, from Beijing, from Germany, showing that in those countries where masks were worn early on it had a really big benefit in terms of keeping down the numbers.”

(24/07) Adam Kucharski tells the Daily Mail about the effectiveness of track and trace measures. Adam said: “If it takes four or five days to get a result and then one or two days to contact trace, then in terms of contact tracing a lot of these contacts would have already infected others.”

(24/07) Julie Watson tells CrowdScience for the BBC World Service (from 28:38) about new ways to encourage children in Iraq to wash their hands. Julie said: “Children were very aware of why they should wash their hands yet the rates of handwashing in the camp were very low, so we were trying to a novel way of encouraging children to wash their hands that didn’t involve messaging around health.”

(23/07) Martin McKee speaks to BBC Foyle (from 1:16:00) about the effect the pandemic is having on the economy. Martin said: “We know very clearly from the historical evidence from 1918-1919 that the way to deal with this is to get rid of the virus and then you can open up the economy, until you do that you can’t.”

Social Media Highlight

This week’s social media highlight comes from Twitter, where we hosted our 4th live COVID-19 Q&A session with Peter Piot, director of LSHTM, and John Nkengasong, Director of Africa CDC, hosted by Sarah Boseley, Health Editor of The Guardian.

Comments are closed.