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2.
Humanities & Social Sciences Communications ; 9(1), 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1805749

ABSTRACT

While far from the first pandemic to impact knowledge-production, the widely constructed singularity of the biosocial ramifications of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has produced a set of epistemic and social circumstances that are experienced by many as unique. In relation to biomedical research these include the reworking of the social, spatial, and temporal organisation of science through lab closures and social distancing requirements. Drawing on a small number of qualitative interviews rapidly conducted during a 2021 ‘lockdown’, this exploratory article reflects on how COVID-19 has shaped the research of postdoctoral UK-based biomedical scientists. We consider: (a) how challenges are constructed and negotiated, and (b) in relation to these, scientists’ account of why researchers might (not) ‘pivot’ towards COVID-19. Accordingly, this paper indicates how the experiential conditions stimulated by the pandemic interact with pre-existing professional discourses within biomedical science—e.g., in relation to funding and career strategy—to inform and delimit knowledge-production, and to substantiate particular practices. We suggest some of the ways in which future studies might develop our provisional findings to cast new light on the effects of the pandemic on biomedicine, as well as on the entangled social, economic, and epistemic dynamics of science more generally.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312919

ABSTRACT

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence COVID-19 in Europe. The future challenges and developments will strongly depend on the progress of national and global vaccination programs, the emergence and spread of variants of concern, and public responses to nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). In the short term, many people are still unvaccinated, VOCs continue to emerge and spread, and mobility and population mixing is expected to increase over the summer. Therefore, policies that lift restrictions too much and too early risk another damaging wave. This challenge remains despite the reduced opportunities for transmission due to vaccination progress and reduced indoor mixing in the summer. In autumn 2021, increased indoor activity might accelerate the spread again, but a necessary reintroduction of NPIs might be too slow. The incidence may strongly rise again, possibly filling intensive care units, if vaccination levels are not high enough. A moderate, adaptive level of NPIs will thus remain necessary. These epidemiological aspects are put into perspective with the economic, social, and health-related consequences and thereby provide a holistic perspective on the future of COVID-19.

4.
Engag Sci Technol Soc ; 6: 347-350, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1675366

ABSTRACT

In 1990, the sociologist Phil Strong wrote about "epidemic psychology" as part of his research on the recent history of AIDS. Strong described vividly how epidemics of fear, of explanation and moralization, and of (proposed) action accompanied the epidemic of the AIDS virus per se. In this essay, I draw on these formulations to think through the current COVID-19 crisis, illustrating too a pandemic of inequality. In so doing, I provide a sketch of a pandemic sociology.

5.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 13: 100294, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587066

ABSTRACT

In the summer of 2021, European governments removed most NPIs after experiencing prolonged second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most countries failed to achieve immunization rates high enough to avoid resurgence of the virus. Public health strategies for autumn and winter 2021 have ranged from countries aiming at low incidence by re-introducing NPIs to accepting high incidence levels. However, such high incidence strategies almost certainly lead to the very consequences that they seek to avoid: restrictions that harm people and economies. At high incidence, the important pandemic containment measure 'test-trace-isolate-support' becomes inefficient. At that point, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and its numerous harmful consequences can likely only be controlled through restrictions. We argue that all European countries need to pursue a low incidence strategy in a coordinated manner. Such an endeavour can only be successful if it is built on open communication and trust.

7.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 8: 100185, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331031

ABSTRACT

How will the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic develop in the coming months and years? Based on an expert survey, we examine key aspects that are likely to influence the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. The challenges and developments will strongly depend on the progress of national and global vaccination programs, the emergence and spread of variants of concern (VOCs), and public responses to non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). In the short term, many people remain unvaccinated, VOCs continue to emerge and spread, and mobility and population mixing are expected to increase. Therefore, lifting restrictions too much and too early risk another damaging wave. This challenge remains despite the reduced opportunities for transmission given vaccination progress and reduced indoor mixing in summer 2021. In autumn 2021, increased indoor activity might accelerate the spread again, whilst a necessary reintroduction of NPIs might be too slow. The incidence may strongly rise again, possibly filling intensive care units, if vaccination levels are not high enough. A moderate, adaptive level of NPIs will thus remain necessary. These epidemiological aspects combined with economic, social, and health-related consequences provide a more holistic perspective on the future of the COVID-19 pandemic.

9.
ProQuest Central; 2020.
Preprint in English | ProQuest Central | ID: ppcovidwho-2112

ABSTRACT

We argue that predictions of a ‘tsunami’ of mental health problems as a consequence of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the lockdown are overstated;feelings of anxiety and sadness are entirely normal reactions to difficult circumstances, not symptoms of poor mental health. Some people will need specialised mental health support, especially those already leading tough lives;we need immediate reversal of years of underfunding of community mental health services. However, the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on the most disadvantaged, especially BAME people placed at risk by their social and economic conditions, were entirely predictable. Mental health is best ensured by urgently rebuilding the social and economic supports stripped away over the last decade. Governments must pumfunds into local authorities to rebuild community services, peer support, mutual aid and local community and voluntary sector organisations. Health care organisations must tackle racism and discrimination to ensure genuine equal access to universal health care. Government must replace highly conditional benefit systems by something like a universal basic income. All economic and social policies must be subjected to a legally binding mental health audit. This may sound unfeasibly expensive, but the social and economic costs, not to mention the costs in personal and community suffering, though often invisible, are far greater.

10.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 166, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-657527

ABSTRACT

We argue that predictions of a 'tsunami' of mental health problems as a consequence of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the lockdown are overstated; feelings of anxiety and sadness are entirely normal reactions to difficult circumstances, not symptoms of poor mental health.  Some people will need specialised mental health support, especially those already leading tough lives; we need immediate reversal of years of underfunding of community mental health services.  However, the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on the most disadvantaged, especially BAME people placed at risk by their social and economic conditions, were entirely predictable. Mental health is best ensured by urgently rebuilding the social and economic supports stripped away over the last decade. Governments must pump funds into local authorities to rebuild community services, peer support, mutual aid and local community and voluntary sector organisations.  Health care organisations must tackle racism and discrimination to ensure genuine equal access to universal health care.  Government must replace highly conditional benefit systems by something like a universal basic income. All economic and social policies must be subjected to a legally binding mental health audit. This may sound unfeasibly expensive, but the social and economic costs, not to mention the costs in personal and community suffering, though often invisible, are far greater.

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