COVID-19 Science and Policy Newsletter

Below is a selection of science and policy reports and papers from a range of sources, collated in their latest newsletter by The King’s Fund, an independent charitable organisation working to improve health and care in England. The King’s Fund website is full of useful and informative articles on the Coronavirus outbreak, ranging from scientific papers, to policy documents and analysis from across the political spectrum. They are an ideal alternative and independent source of background information on the pandemic, and other issues.

Testing times: the government’s approach to Covid-19 testing
Testing is a central strand of the government’s approach to tackling the Covid-19 outbreak. This explainer looks at how testing works and the thinking behind the current strategy.
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Ethnic minority deaths and Covid-19: what are we to do?
In this blog Michael West and Suzie Bailey consider the disproportionate toll Covid-19 is taking on health and care staff from ethnic minority backgrounds and what it requires from us all to address this. Source: The Kings Fund.

Are some ethnic groups more vulnerable to Covid-19 than others?
This report brings together evidence on the unequal health and economic impacts of Covid-19 on the UK’s minority ethnic groups, presenting information on risk factors for each of the largest minority groups in England and Wales: White other, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black African and Black Caribbean. Source: The Institute for Fiscal Studies

Clinical characteristics and predictors of outcomes of hopsitalised patients with Covid-19 in a London NHS trust: a retrospective cohort study
This report is one of the first studies to describe the characteristics and predictors of outcomes for hospitalised Covid-19 patients in the UK. It finds that older age, male sex and admission hypoxia, thrombocytopenia, renal failure, hypoalbuminaemia and raised bilirubin are associated with increased odds of death. Ethnic minority groups were over-represented in the cohort and, compared to white people, people of black ethnicity may be at increased odds of mortality. Report: Imperial College London

Risky business: economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis on different groups of workers
This report finds that working women are most likely to bear the health risks from coronavirus by being key workers, while young people and the low paid are most likely to work in sectors of the economy that have been shut down. Report: Resolution Foundation

Preparing for the return to work outside the home: a trade union approach
This report sets out the TUC’s recommendations for what the government should do now to ensure a safe transition from lockdown, looking at how to safely return to work outside the home, the enforcement measures needed to protect workers, and how best to protect workers’ livelihoods. Report: TUC

Lifting lockdown: how to approach a coronavirus exit strategy 
This report concludes that the government’s five tests for starting to lift the lockdown are not a good enough guide to the longer-term exit strategy. It suggests that the government must instead set out new tests that explain how it will balance economic and health concerns against each other in lifting the restrictions. Report: Institute for Government

Accounting for the variation in the confirmed Covid-19 caseload across England: an analysis of multi-generation households, London and time 
This paper develops a model that goes beyond correlation to measure the size of the impact of various socio-economic variables on the confirmed Covid-19 caseload. Alongside the proportion of over-70s who share a home with people of working-age, these variables include overcrowding and local area deprivation. It also draws out the policy questions raised by the model. Some of them relate to the policy response to the virus over the coming months. Report: New Policy Institute