26 August – 1 September

A snapshot of media coverage on COVID-19

Martin McKee

(27/08) Martin McKee discusses the role of travel in the recent surge in cases of COVID-19 in Europe in TIME Magazine. Martin said: “Increased travel combined with relaxed restrictions has almost certainly led to a rise in cases…In a tourist resort, where people are coming from many different places, the probability that somebody will be infected is increased.”

(27/08) Martin speaks to The Telegraph about the progress made in understanding the virus, and the dangers of the autumn months. Martin said: “We have learned an enormous amount in the intervening period…We are in a different position from March – we know an awful lot more. But this is still a very dangerous virus. If we let down our guard too much it will come back with a vengeance.”

Pauline Scheelbeek

(26/08) Pauline Scheelbeek discusses the first analysis of nine government backed dietary recommendations from the Eatwell Guide in The Guardian. Pauline said: “Our study demonstrates that the Eatwell Guide forms an effective first step towards more healthy and sustainable diets in the UK…Further adherence to the guidelines would not only result in population health benefits, but is also associated with lower environmental footprint due to reduced greenhouse gas emission.”

(26/08) Pauline explained to The Telegraph about the benefits of adhering to the analysed Eatwell Guide recommendations. Pauline said: “We found that for each and every single recommendation that you adhere to, we see a positive health and environment impact in return.”

Nicholas Jewell

(27/08) Nick Jewell discussed the trial he co-led with the World Mosquito Program in The Guardian, which showed mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria can dramatically reduced dengue transmission in Indonesia. Nick said: “Doubly exciting is that the trial design used here provides a template that other candidate health interventions can follow.”

(27/08) Nick told Nature that the trial results, a 77% reduction in dengue cases in areas that received Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes, were “pretty staggering”. Nick said: “I’ve never been involved in a study quite as successful as this. We’ve never had anything like this. Condoms provide this level of protection.”

Brendan Wren

(01/09) Brendan Wren comments on the detection of the first case of COVID-19 reinfection by the University of Hong Kong, in the New Scientist. Brendan explained: “This is a very rare example of reinfection and it should not negate the global drive to develop COVID-19 vaccines.”

(31/08) Brendan also commented on the reinfection case to HuffPost UK, and potential implications for vaccine development. Brendan said: “It is to be expected that the virus will naturally mutate over time.”

Rachel Lowe

(29/08) Rachel Lowe is interviewed by BBC Weather World (from 08:52) on the potential impact of winter on the COVID19 response. Rachel said: ” As we move into the Northern Hemisphere winter we’ll have to be very aware of how cold of how this winter may be, and how that will impact not only this coronavirus but also all the other pathogens that we have in winter. This whole package could overwhelm the emergency services if we’re not well prepared.”

Dr Rachel Lowe on BBC Weather World

(13/08) Rachel co-authors an opinion piece in the BMJ about the impact of COVID-19 in Latin America. The authors said: “A vigorous & coordinated effort is required for the region to withstand not only the health crisis, but also the unprecedented economic impact of the pandemic.”

Other LSHTM experts

(01/09) Graham Medley talks to BBC World at One (from 21:30) about the potential rise in infections from the return to schools and work. Graham said: “It’s about how we learn as individuals, and as a society, to live with COVID-19.”

(30/08) Amiya Bhatia co-authors a piece published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization about the need to integrate prevention of violence against children into COVID-19 response measures. The authors said: “Efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 response measures on violence against children should be an essential component of pandemic response and recovery.”

(30/08) Beate Kampmann explained to The Guardian the dangers of fast-tracking vaccine development. Beate said: “I’m more and more concerned that things are getting done in a rush…We have to be careful because what we do with COVID-19 could have repercussions for trust in all vaccine programmes.

(29/08) Martin Hibberd tells iNews that on-the-spot tests will be a useful additional control measure. Martin said: “While large scale PCR and serological [antibody] testing is still needed to combat COVID-19 disease, these new, rapid, ‘point of care’ tests can add a very useful additional control measure, that should now be integrated into the control measures.”

(28/08) Mishal Khan co-authors a Nature Medicine correspondence asking – can schools of global public health dismantle colonial legacies? The authors wrote: “The school’s Decolonizing Global Health and Black Lives Matter groups reflect a new generation of global public health professionals who are more empowered to question unexamined assumptions, legacies and the so-called heroes of the industry. And they are rightly demanding more of their institutions.”

(27/08) Heidi Larson speaks to BBC News about attitudes towards the flu vaccine amidst concerns about a second COVID-19 wave. Heidi said: “Some years it really isn’t that effective against all strains…But I would certainly urge people to take it anyway as you wouldn’t want the strains that it does protect against…It’s also important to limit the stress on the system.”

On social media

This week’s social media highlight is the final episode of it’s first season, looking at COVID-19 alongside pandemics of the past and public health.

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