It has now been 7 months since the UK was first locked down due to Covid-19. In that time, we have seen dramatic changes across the nation, shaping the way we are responding to the virus. In an ever changing landscape, the Thursday night clap, Sir Tom Moore’s fundraising efforts and the toilet paper shortages seem a long time ago. Where we were once (relatively) happy to effectively close down the country, the population has become fatigued with lockdown restrictions and unclear messaging from the government, which seems to change its mind arbitrarily each week.
In this podcast, Caroline brings her experience working with the NHS team that manages the supply chain for Covid-19 testing kits around the UK to the table; she is joined by Ian and Ahmed with Georgia as our host.
Behavioural science is at the core of today’s conversation. Messaging is vital during the pandemic but simple tricolons such as ‘stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives’ and ‘hands, face, space’ have given way to more confusing and varied advice. Part of the problem is that the advice is changing each week and the advice given differs between areas. But the key question really is how to avoid the continuation of this confusion and clarify a situation that is becoming increasingly nuanced without over-simplification.
Of course, behavioural science and messaging are just one aspect to managing the spread of the virus. Track and trace must also live up to expectations, particularly when so much of the messaging emphasises its role. Timing is key for all testing and for it to scale effectively in the future, we need more lab techs to manage the workload as well as faster methods.
Which leads us to the implications of short-term and long-term planning. It is now clear for everyone to see that Covid-19 is not a short term problem and it is fair to assume that there will be pandemics in the future. Though the UK was one of the better prepared nations, we have been hit hard by the pandemic and have the third highest number of recorded coronavirus deaths in the world. There has never been a better time to learn from our experiences, be critical about how we have handled this pandemic and create long-term plans for the future of our health.