Questions and answers about coronavirus and the UK economy

Health, physical & mental

Why are people in some socio-economic groups more vulnerable to coronavirus?

Covid-19 infections and mortality have been more prevalent among disadvantaged groups of people in the UK and elsewhere. Differences in vulnerability seem to result from a combination of socio-economic differences in exposure to the disease, health behaviours and health conditions.

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What does coronavirus mean for the future of sport and fitness clubs?

With the closure of indoor sports facilities, many people have shifted to alternative forms of exercise. Even after re-opening, this is likely to affect gym owners and staff. Some previous gym users may also be getting less exercise, leading to concerns about rising obesity.

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Can we get accurate short-term forecasts of coronavirus cases and deaths?

In a pandemic, policy-makers need to plan healthcare provision carefully and adjust the intensity of measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. That requires real-time forecasts of cases and deaths that are timely and accurate indicators of what will happen over the next week or so.

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Does environmental damage increase the risk of pandemics?

It has become painfully obvious that humanity has not conquered the threat of infectious diseases. Future health risks may interact with other risks of environmental degradation – including from pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change – to threaten food security and potential global catastrophe.

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What are the long-run economic consequences of pandemics?

Historical epidemics provide only a loose guide to the likely economic impact of coronavirus. What history does suggest is that when they occur in societies already under stress, they can provoke wide-ranging and long-term changes in attitudes, culture and institutions.

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How will the response to coronavirus affect gender equality?

The Covid-19 crisis presents a potentially major setback for gender equality with its effects likely to persist long after lockdown has ended. Why have women borne such a heavy economic and caring burden – and will the negative impact persist?

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How should we allocate limited capacity for coronavirus testing?

Re-opening the economy while minimising infections requires testing – but capacity is limited. To target testing well, policy-makers must consider the types, quality and timing of tests, the costs of errors and the risks of infection across different social groups.

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Sport: what could be the long-term effects of coronavirus?

Professional sports events without spectators look set to be the norm for the foreseeable future. How is this likely to affect the economic viability of clubs, how might fans respond and what are the potential implications for grassroots participation in sport?

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How will the Covid-19 crisis affect the NHS?

The lockdown was implemented largely to ‘save lives and protect the NHS’ amid fears of capacity being overwhelmed. What are likely to be the effects of the crisis on the supply of NHS healthcare, and on demand for healthcare, now and in the future?

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Coronavirus and the economy: what are the trade-offs?

The Covid-19 health emergency has caused economic havoc on a scale not seen in living memory. It is important to understand the interactions between the epidemic and the economy to be able to deal with the difficult trade-offs facing policy-makers and the public.

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How will lockdown and the recession affect children’s health?

The combination of a global health emergency and an economic downturn is unprecedented. But research evidence on the effects of previous crises and other challenging circumstances can shed light on the potential impact of lockdown and the recession on children’s health.

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What are the effects of recessions on health?

An economic downturn affects people’s lives in many ways. Economic research has investigated how recessions affect their health and health behaviour – and how these outcomes vary across different generations and different socio-economic groups.

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Does the Spanish flu offer lessons in how to tackle a pandemic?

The influenza pandemic of 1918-19 – commonly known as the Spanish flu – infected perhaps a third of the world’s population. Many researchers, including economists, are looking back to that experience for insights into the spread of Covid-19 and potential responses.

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How can we encourage medical breakthroughs to combat Covid-19?

Public and private sector organisations across the world are working on vaccines and medicines to fight the coronavirus. What kinds of incentives are most effective in promoting the development of new medical technologies and the rapid manufacture of tests and treatments?

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Funded by

UKRI Economic and Social Research Council
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