While there is some evidence for the use of face masks and face coverings, it is weak and highly situational. Face masks are no substitute for social distancing. Hand hygiene and good respiratory etiquette, remain the best ways to limit the spread of coronavirus.
POST has published 20 COVID-19 Areas of Research Interest (ARIs) for the UK Parliament.
ARIs were identified using the input of over 1,000 experts. They were then ranked in order of interest to UK Parliament research and select committee staff, following internal feedback. Each ARI comes with a series of questions aiming to further break down each broad area.
The ARIs focus on the impacts of the global pandemic and range from economic recovery and growth, to surveillance and data collection, long-term mental health effects, education, vaccine development, and the NHS.
This document builds on POST's previous publication, Topics of Interest 2018 (POSTbrief 27). The subjects are listed under under six category headings based on the drivers of change identified in POSTnote 500: demographic change and healthcare; social and cultural trends; geopolitical and governance challenges; environmental pressures and climate change; resource security and sustainability; and technological advance.
In the last century, agricultural production intensified, but this increased its impacts on the environment, waste in supply chains and in some regions of the world, disconnected it from people’s lives. Projections of global population growth and changing consumption patterns out to 2050 suggest further increases in food production will be needed. This POSTnote outlines key drivers of global agricultural trends and the challenge of safeguarding both food production and environment value in a changing world.
Marine ecosystems around the UK can both increase and decrease atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Carbon loss and gain globally by these ecosystems has the potential to influence climate change. This POSTnote summarises the marine ecosystems in the UK that contribute to these processes, their current and potential future extent, and pressures on them.
The UK Government is introducing Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) from April 2022 to map where local habitat improvement and restoration could address national-scale environmental objectives. This POSTnote summarises the LNRS approach, including mapping ecological networks, the opportunities for LNRSs to deliver wider benefits to nature and people, and the likely challenges associated with the strategies and their delivery.
Over 1,100 experts have shared with us their concerns about COVID-19 and COVID-impacted areas in the immediate and longer term future. This report outlines concerns about public health. Experts have concerns about future preparedness for public health crises. These include future waves of COVID-19, as well as other potential public health crises. They are interested in seeing how the National Risk Register and Civil Contingencies Act might be updated to reflect lessons learned from COVID-19. There are also concerns about physical and mental health of the UK public. It's unknown how fear and loneliness are affecting people during isolation. It's also unclear how habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and eating have been affected by the outbreak Experts are also concerned about health inequalities. They note that some groups, such as people with low incomes, might be more likely to catch the virus and experience worse outcomes. Finally there are concerns about housing, and how certain types of housing might increase exposure to the virus, and be overall detrimental to occupants health.
Evolving life sciences and agricultural research approaches may have a decreasing need to access physical resources in future, such as plant seeds or viral material. Information and genetic data may be all that is required for commercial exploitation of biological resources. This POSTnote summarises the challenge this creates for international discussions on the governance of genetic resources and the possible options for addressing these.
The most common scientific terms used in research that relates to COVID-19. This glossary will help you understand materials that describe the biology of Coronavirus and the spread of COVID-19. It can assist in the reading of research papers and help you understand language used in drug and vaccine development. It also has a comprehensive list of international and UK organisations involved in public health, their institutional acronyms and descriptions of their work.
Over 350 experts have shared with us what they think the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic will be in the next 2 to 5 years. This work was done to inform the House of Lords COVID-19 Committee inquiry on Life beyond COVID, and is based on 366 expert responses. Areas of concern include work and employment, health and social care, research and development, society and community, the natural environment, education, arts, culture and sport, infrastructure and crime and justice.
Some occupational groups have experienced higher rates of both COVID-19 infections and related deaths. Many people who work within these groups are involved in caring for people or patients that are more likely to be infected, or have otherwise been unable to work from home during the peaks of transmission. Which occupations have been most affected, what factors are contributing to this risk and are some sectors of the population being impacted more than others?
World food security is dependent on phosphate fertilisers manufactured from finite deposits of phosphate ore. The majority of remaining reserves are restricted to a limited number of countries raising geopolitical risks. This POSTnote describes the uses of phosphate and summarises ways in which dependence on mineral reserves could be reduced.