Controlling covid19: Where science meets policy

This is a GUEST POST by Abigail Woods, Professor in the History of Human and Animal Health, King’s College London. Since covid19 control shot up the agenda just over a week ago there has been an ongoing stream of commentary about how ‘the science’ connects up with ‘the policy.’ Many people seem to be struggling …

Metaphors in the time of coronavirus

On Sunday, 15th March, Kenan Malik wrote an article on metaphors for The Observer. This was inspired by Matthew Cobb’s new book on The Idea of the Brain which delves into the many metaphors of and for the brain that have been used over time. I have just started to read that book – a …

Flattening the curve to curb an epidemic

In my last blog post I noted the sudden appearance and wide spread of phrases like ‘flattening, stretching, extending, pushing down, drawing out the curve’ and/or the epidemic, meaning that if we can delay or slow down or ‘lower’ the peak of the epidemic for a while and make ‘it’ less steep, we can buy …

Mathematical models, political decision making and public perceptions

On Tuesday, 3 March, Boris Johnson revealed the government’s action plan on how to deal with the novel coronavirus and the spread of Covid-19. Despite doubts about the usefulness of experts expressed some years ago by some of his colleagues, he was flanked by experts, namely Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, and …

Warnings, war metaphors and infectious diseases: A little lit review

We are living through another global outbreak of an infectious disease: this time it’s a new version of the coronavirus. This outbreak of disease is, as usual, accompanied by an outbreak of metaphors….As Robert Dingwall has pointed out in a great Wired article: “As countless media outlets have characterized it, governments around the world have …

Searching for Zika: Where are the women?

Newsflash: Article based on more qualitative analysis now out!! Media coverage of the Zika crisis in Brazil: The construction of a ‘war’ frame that masked social and gender inequalities (open access) *** The Zika virus has attracted a lot of attention over the last year. For some people it’s a faraway threat, for some it’s a …