Coronavirus and SBS

What the AIDS Response Can Teach Us for Addressing COVID

The ways in which epidemics interact with human society suggest that much can be learned from previous epidemics. Drawing on the historical response to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, Donald Nicolson describes four parallels between the responses to these outbreaks and suggests what lessons can be learned by public health authorities responding to COVID-19.

2 years ago
empty classroom

Coronavirus UK – Why Closing Schools is (Generally) a Bad Idea

School closures are widely seen as a quick fix for COVID-19 transmission. The UK government’s resistance to this measure has provoked considerable concern, including a petition to Parliament that has gathered over a half-million signatures at the time of writing. In practice, argues Robert Dingwall, the effects would mainly be risky for children and the consequences would other institutions’ efforts to work as normally as possible.

2 years ago

Breaking Bad News: How to Talk With the Misinformed

It’s also common to encounter people who are misinformed but don’t know it yet. It’s one thing to double-check your own information, but what’s the best way to talk to someone else about what they think is true – but which is not true?

2 years ago

Twixt Duck and Rabbit: Psychological Biases and Bad Coronavirus Policy

Crises rarely see human decision-making operating at its best. Politicians and policymakers have to make important decisions in unfamiliar circumstances, with vast gaps in the available information, and all in the full glare of public scrutiny. The psychology of decision making doesn’t just tell us a lot about the potential pitfalls in our own thinking – it alerts us to ways in which some of the world’s governments may go astray.

2 years ago
Working on laptop on couch

Coronavirus UK: Self-Isolation Must Not Mean Self-Imprisonment

The United Kingdom’s reputed the self-isolation proposal, and its attendant controversy about the alleged influence of social and behavioral scientists on the government’s approach, is a nice indicator of how limited the social science influence actually is – and why it needs to be greater.

2 years ago
Queue for temperature testing

How Coronavirus Became a Political Problem

The Italian government’s decision to expand its lockdown from two small areas of the north to encompass the entire country is a sign of its increasing desperation to control the spread of novel coronavirus. The number of positive cases by the evening of March 9 stood at at least 7,000 with more than 400 people having lost their lives. This has even been described as Italy’s “darkest hour” by Giuseppe Conte, the country’s prime minister.

2 years ago
Photo of actual viruses

Coronavirus, Wuhan, and Social Science

As a social scientist in globalization studies, I am interested in the role some of the less visible layers of globalization — such as awareness of our connections with the lives of people elsewhere — have in shaping our responses, including emotional responses, to global threats, like this one and those to come…

2 years ago