Lockdown, freedom and responsibility

Two years ago, we learned a new word: ‘lockdown’. This was in fact an old word which acquired a new meaning during the Covid-19 pandemic. That new meaning gradually changed over time. Now ‘lockdown’ has more or less lost its meaning and just stands for something to be avoided at all cost or something that …

Superimmunity

From the start of the pandemic in the distant spring of 2020 linguists and communication researchers have kept an eye on language. They observed the emergence of new words, such as ‘covid’ and ‘covidiots’ and the increase in use and understanding of older or jargon words, such as pandemic, coronavirus, lockdown, social distancing, bubbles, and …

Endemic confusion

A few days ago, I saw this tweet by Bill Hanage and smiled: “For some reason there seems to be a lot of talk about endemicity again. For the avoidance of doubt, omicron is not endemic right now in much the same way that the moon is not a hamster”. I read many of the …

Pandemics, time and learning

I was reading a thought-provoking article by Katherine J. Wu, Ed Yong and Sarah Zhang in The Atlantic, entitled “Omicron is our Past Pandemic Mistakes on Fast-Forward”. As a metaphor-collector, I loved the first paragraph – which was all about speed: “With Omicron, everything is sped up. The new variant is spreading fast and far. …

Science, politics and integrity

On 12 October three things appeared in my Twitter timeline: a report, an academic paper and an interview, all dealing with science and politics in the context of the management of the coronavirus pandemic. Most importantly, there was the House of Commons report which showed for all to see what a shambles the UK government’s …

Covid, cowering and cowardice

We all remember Boris Johnson saying in March 2020 that we should take covid on the chin, followed by him saying in April that year that Covid was an invisible mugger that one should wrestle to the floor. This metaphorical framing of the virus as a physical assailant and of those having to deal with …

Walls and covid

A few weeks ago, I wrote a brief blog post about the wall metaphor used during the pandemic. I approved of it, as it highlighted community action: the more individuals get vaccinated, the more protection there is for everybody – one brick doesn’t make a wall, but many do. The metaphor is now being used …

Coronavirus and mental health: Risks, protective factors and care

This is a guest post by Dr Rusi Jaspal who is Professor of Psychology at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. E-mail: rusi.jaspal@ntu.ac.uk Twitter: @ProfRJaspal *** For several years, my colleagues and I have studied the effects of major social change on people’s sense of identity and psychological wellbeing. We have done so primarily through …

Covid, consensus and conspiracy: Mapping a change in narrative

I have written about the concept of consensus before, in the context of climate change. Now it’s time to write a few words on how consensus is used as a concept in the context of covid, or more precisely, in the debate about the origins of the coronavirus. The emerging literature surrounding this origin story …

From ‘deadly enemy’ to ‘covidiots’: Words matter when talking about COVID-19

This article, by Ruth Derksen, is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here. I thought it would make a great addition to the covid collection on ‘Making Science Public’ and I am grateful to Ruth for her permission to republish it. Dr. Ruth Derksen is a Senior Instructor  …