Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico
empty supermarket shelves ;

Understanding the impacts on society of COVID-19

Academics from all across the Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy are using their expertise to help us understand the effects and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some recent publications and articles:

How COVID-19 might change the way we live and work for good

high rise flats

With millions of people now staying inside and working at home, COVID-19 has highlighted the huge impact that our housing has on our lives and wellbeing.

Professor Phil Hubbard of the Department of Geography asks whether the pandemic will reverse the recent trend of creating smaller homes and change the way we design urban spaces in the future.

Half a billion more people in developing countries pushed into poverty

street vendor

Professor Andy Sumner and Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez, from the Department of International Development, have carried out new research which revealed up to half a billion more people in developing countries could be pushed into poverty by the pandemic. Their research, conducted with colleague Christopher Hoy of the Australian National University, was published by UNU-WIDER and featured in a report by Oxfam calling for global action. The story was widely covered by media including The Guardian, BBC, Huffington Post and the Sydney Morning Herald.



Don't believe the myth that we must sacrifice lives to save the economy & why we need to bail out the private sector and increase national debt.


Professor Jonathan Portes, of the Department of Political Economy, has challenged the theory that a fall in GDP translates into a fall in life expectancy. He says that a recession – a short-term, temporary fall in GDP – normally does not reduce life expectancy.Overall it can actually lead to people living longer as, while suicides go up, other causes of death, such as road accidents and alcohol-related disease, fall. In another article he says normal rules do not apply in this current pandemic, so we should be bailing out private companies, as well as increasing national debt to avoid turning a recession into a depression.

Covid-19 and why state resilience in the United Kingdom needs to be strengthened


Rod Thornton of the Defence Studies Department, says the UK’s response to COVID-19 has shown the weakness of the state’s resilience system. He says the shortages of basic medical items demonstrate a system that is not ready for times of extreme duress which is why the military is stepping in. He calls for the state’s resilience system to be strengthened.



Mental health and social change in the time of COVID-19


social distancing road sign

Professor Nik Rose and Professor Craig Morgan from the Centre for Society & Mental Health have warned against rushing to frame people’s natural worries and distress around the pandemic in mental health terms. They say there has been a flurry of advice from governments, experts and amateur gurus about what needs to be done – yet not much of this is evidence-based. They warn that the impact of COVID-19 falls most heavily on those with the fewest social and economic resources to alleviate the effects of social restrictions and can acutely affect those with existing mental health problems.




What Coronavirus means for politics and policy


IK graphic

The Policy Institute has published a series of experts analysis pieces on a whole range of issues around the COVID-19 pandemic, including homelessness, psychology, homelessness, global medicine production, the economic effects and how it could change the nature of government.


Who can make decisions in the prime minister's absence & the lack of constitutional protections in the new Coronavirus legislation


Dr Andrew Blick, of the School of Politics and Economics, says there is no clear constitutional precedent that designates a member of the cabinet to step in if the Prime Minister is unwell or unable to fulfill the role. He says that, while deputy prime ministers or members of the cabinet have chaired government meetings in the past, questions remain over who would have the final say if a contentious decision needed to be made. Dr Blick also argues that the new emergency legislation introduced by the Government to deal with the pandemic has weaker constitutional protection that the existing law which could have been used.

Preparing Africa for COVID-19: learning lessons from the Ebola outbreak

community clinic worker

As COVID-19 expands its global reach, Africa is the next frontier for the pandemic. Dr Ann Kelly and colleagues from Edinburgh University say lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leon suggest that investing in laboratory capacity will be of critical importance to help Africa cope as the virus spreads across the continent.


Living in fear during the COVID-19 crisis: migrant women with insecure immigration status and domestic violence

frightened female

Professor Cathy McIlwaine, of the School of Global Affairs, highlights the need for urgent action to protect migrant women with insecure immigration status and at risk of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the current pandemic brings into focus the enduring inequalities and fears faced by migrant women and warns that the previous lack of funding of the specialist women’s sector, especially for refuges, could mean deaths from domestic abuse will be another legacy of COVID-19.


Coronavirus: How the Saudi-led blockade prepared Qatar for the pandemic

Qatar Doha skyline

Dr Andreas Krieg, of the School of Security Studies and a fellow at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies, has outlined how Qatar has proved resilient in the face of COVID-19 because of lessons learned from being subject to air, land and sea blockades by its neighbours for nearly three years. It is benefiting now from having learned how to weather a storm, diversify its supply chains, localise supplies where necessary and build up strategic reserves.



Testing capacity: State capacity and COVID-19 testing

vietnamese seller

Robyn Klingler-Vidra and colleagues have used emerging research from Viet Nam to argue that states are the ultimate convener and mobilsers during pandemic responses. The country has made headlines for responding to the outbreak efficiently, with limited resources, committed leadership and an entrepreneurial-spirited society. They outline how the state has mobilised the army, created compulsory quarantine centres, organised mass surveillance, used social media and mobile phones to keep citizens informed, has a public database of all people infected with the virus and was one of the first countries to develop affordable test kits and export them to Europe.

In this story

Andy  Sumner

Andy Sumner

Professor of International Development FAcSS FRSA

Eduardo  Ortiz-Juarez

Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez

Lecturer in Development Economics

Jonathan  Portes

Jonathan Portes

Professor of Economics and Public Policy

Andrew  Blick

Andrew Blick

Head of the Department of Political Economy and Professor of Politics and Contemporary History

Robyn Klingler-Vidra

Robyn Klingler-Vidra

Reader in Entrepreneurship & Sustainability

Cathy McIlwaine

Cathy McIlwaine

Vice Dean (Research), Faculty of Social Sciences and Public Policy

Craig Morgan

Craig Morgan

Professor of Social Epidemiology

Andreas Krieg

Andreas Krieg

Senior Lecturer School of Security Studies

Rod Thornton

Rod Thornton

Senior Lecturer in Defence Studies Education

Making sense of the impact on society

Across society, each and every one of us are experiencing unprecedented changes to all aspects of our daily lives. Using their expertise, our researchers are working tirelessly to assess and…

Latest news

Demystifying Impact 6

21 June 2024

Demystifying Impact 2024

IoPPN researchers and NHS Trusts staff discussed the effect and importance of partnerships and…