Transcript: Episode 53
Coronavirus: The Whole Story Live Finale
Vivienne Parry 0:00
Vivienne Parry: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the grand finale of Coronavirus: The Whole Story. My name is Vivienne Parry. I'm a science writer and broadcaster. And most importantly, of course, a UCL alum. So back in those dark days of March 2020, when I was invited to host this podcast, I thought we'd be doing it at most for six weeks or so. After all, well, your promise back then, that it would be over by Tuesday tea time, or at the very least by the summer. But here we all are in the third wave with rocketing cases. And as with everything, it seems that views about how to handle a virus are becoming polarised. But there is one thing that a whole nation agrees on Coronavirus isn't done with us yet. Now, during the last year, the whole story which I must admit I thought would reach a few 100 people in the UCL community has had more than 80,000 listeners. The Whole Story has bought you reflections on one pandemic from every quarter of UCL and expertise from every discipline from the ones you'd expect, like epidemiology, vaccines, intensive care, mental health, to ones that turned out to have just as important perspectives, including economics, education, anthropology, buildings, transport, disaster management, history, it's been a fantastic journey, and I suspect that those 52 episodes will make vital listening for researchers of the future. Fittingly, the theme of today's episode is the future. I've got four incredible guests, and I'd like to invite them to introduce themselves. So let's start with Anne Johnson.
Anne Johnson 2:06
Anne Johnson: Hello, good afternoon. I'm Anne Johnson. I'm a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at UCL and I've been involved in advising on various aspects of research in the pandemic.
Deenan Pillay 2:17
Deenan Pillay: Good afternoon, my name is Deenan Pillay and I'm Professor of Biology at UCL pro Vice Provost international offices and I have been involved with communication to the public and other scientists.
Susan Michie 2:28
Susan Michie: I'm Susan Michie, Professor of Health Psychology at UCL, and director of its centre for behaviour change. And I also participate in spy be the behavioural science group of sage, and also an independent sage.
Vivienne Parry 2:42
Vivienne Parry: And finally, last but not least, Andrew Hayward.
Andrew Hayward 2:46
Andrew Hayward: I'm Andrew Hayward. I'm a professor of infectious disease epidemiology. And I'm a member of the new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group as well as occasional member of sage and other relevant committees.
Vivienne Parry 2:58
Vivienne Parry: So let's set off Freedom Day. Was that ever anything so misnamed? How do we feel about the lifting of restrictions? Was it the right thing to open up?
Anne Johnson 3:08
Anne Johnson: I agree it so it is a misnomer. I think for me, the biggest word in all this is uncertainty, there is still massive uncertainty about how this virus will continue to spread. And although we have fantastic progress with the vaccine, and we have undoubtedly reduced the link between infections, deaths and hospitalizations, we still have a considerable proportion of the population unvaccinated and the future weeks will depend enormously on overall patterns of behaviour in the population. So if we want to reduce transmission, we do have to go back to all the things that we've learned in the last month about how to keep on top of this virus, as well as go go out and get our vaccines, as well as go out and stay and isolate and test all the things we've learned. And we really do need clear messaging on what people should be doing. I want to come to Susan in a minute on the messaging. But can I ask Andrew, first of all, have we followed the science on this one in terms of the epidemiology?
Andrew Hayward 4:19
I don't think any government ever really follows the science because they have so many other considerations to put into play. And that, you know, obviously, they're trying to balance scientific predictions about the potential hospitalisation rates and mortality rates, which are really very uncertain with impacts on the economy with civil liberties with all sorts of other political considerations. So I think was the science was clear that there is the potential for this to really cause a very big problem the unlocking and it's very clear that it will cause probably the biggest wave of COVID that we've had yet, what was still really uncertain is the level of hospitalisation, deaths and long COVID that will result from that.
Vivienne Parry 5:03
And Deenan, what about the variance because we're always hearing about new variants. At the moment, we're worried about beta, how is freedom day going to affect the variance.
Deenan Pillay 5:14
Those who've been vaccinated may have waning immunity, we know that people are being reinfected after vaccines. And of course, every time there's transmission, there's a possibility for new variants to emerge. The other thing is that we've got into a mindset of variants being relatively fixed. But of course, it's an incredibly fluid situation, the world is a mixing pot. And it comes back to the we are only free of COVID when the world is free of COVID. And I think, therefore, the terminology being used is misplaced. And we need to just be a little bit more modest about our role in the world. And not to be a country that is now exporting to unvaccinated populations, new variants.
Vivienne Parry 5:58
Susan, we've seen this called Freedom Day, a lot of the press according it Freedom Day, but actually a lot of the public are still very hesitant. And there are really big divides in how people's behaviour is being affected by these recent changes. So how ready Do you think we all are to start following this new advice?
Susan Michie 6:21
Well, the recent polls suggest that about two thirds of people intend to carry on wearing face masks and enclosed spaces, to socially distance where they can and feel very reluctant to go into restaurants and pubs and other shared public spaces whilst there's such high transmission levels. And I think that's very sensible. But one of the problems is that having taken away the legal requirement for people to engage in these behaviours that don't just protect ourselves, but protect each other and protect others, more vulnerable than ourselves. It's sows seeds of division between those who are wearing masks those who are not between different for example, businesses and employers who are asking their employees to be wearing masks or not. There's a degree of confusion about what people should be doing, where, when, why. And all of this really undermines what is required for a very effective pandemic response, which is a collective effort.
Vivienne Parry 7:31
So let's now turn to the rest of the year. What do you think the autumn and winter is going to look like? And I want to come to you in particular Anne, because I know the Academy of Medical Sciences, of which your president has just produced a report on this very thing, tell us where you think we'll be in the autumn.
Anne Johnson 7:47
One of the things we've highlighted in the report was this uncertainty, again, about how much Coronavirus will be circulating in the autumn, the alongside that because they're all mixing with one another more and we're all out and about, we always get other respiratory viruses circulated in the autumn, we're suggesting we may see more than usual, because we've all been locked down, we haven't been mixing with one another that stop the transmission of some of these other viruses like flu. And then other ones will disturb this official virus which causes infections, particularly in children. So less of that's been circulating the the concern is, with all those various issues, we may see a bigger resurgence of other respiratory viruses coming up this this autumn alongside coronaviruses. And all those things colliding together would cause a very big pressure on the NHS. But in the report, there are a number of things which we can do to mitigate that. And we need to start preparing now, particularly with respect to flu, we have a flu vaccination campaign every autumn. And if we can really step that up, that would be terrific and get high rates of uptake that would reduce the potential impact of flu. And also the other thing we talked about is that we haven't tended to use tests for flu we do have tested through the light COVID test, we had testing for flu alongside testing for COVID, we'd be able to distinguish who had COVID who had flu to get people the right treatments more quickly. So that's a lot of report address all the things we can do to prepare now and make sure that we are more resilient in time for winter.
Vivienne Parry 9:21
There's an interesting question here from Dan Osborne, who says, we'll large numbers of peoples of different backgrounds on university campuses in the autumn, drive up infections, hospitalisation, and the risk of new variants. Because classically, the autumn term, everybody gets terrible colds because everybody is coming back bringing viruses from all over the country and all over the world together, Andrew?
Andrew Hayward 9:46
Yes, is the short answer to that, of course that will be mitigated by students coming from some area of the world facing restrictions about for example, whether they might need to isolate but I think obviously we have a very international student body, and many people will be travelling and those measures to prevent importation of infection into the country are never 100% effective. We know that young adults have a high rates of infection anyway. And of course, people come to university to mix so so it will contribute to further transmission. But I think on the positive side, UCL has been doing an extraordinary amount to make things as safe as possible through the pandemic. And and a really important part of that will be, for example, access to vaccines and understand what we're working with the NHS on vaccination sites on site so that we can make sure that students who haven't had their full vaccines get those so we can do a lot to minimise that.
Vivienne Parry 10:47
Now, there is still a lot of questions that need to be answered that determine how this year is going to play out. For example, should we start vaccinating children Deenan?
Deenan Pillay 10:57
Clearly there there there have been a number of reports recently in JCVI, put out their report m HRA of approved vaccine trials have demonstrated safety and in older children. And of course the issue is is that balance between individual risk for children but also the contribution of children to continuing transmissions across the age group. My sense is that overall, I would support extending vaccines to adolescence over and above what has been approved recently by JCVI, or proposed which is about those most vulnerable children. It's a question of watch this space as well. And there's an active discussion, of course, about the degree of morbidity, whether it's acute or long COVID that may be experienced by younger adolescents.
Vivienne Parry 11:45
And Susan, the behavioural side of this is incredibly important, isn't it because children learn by mixing, they're missing out on an extraordinary amount. There are some social reasons, perhaps more than medical reasons why children should be vaccinated.
Susan Michie 12:03
I think one of the great tragedies of the pandemic has been how much schooling children have missed over time, because of the high transmission rates that have been allowed to happen. And as you say, it's not just what children have lost out, educationally. It's also what they've lost out in terms of social and emotional development, the loss from not being at school has hit those indust, disadvantaged communities much, much harder than others. And it has knock on effects, because it disrupts parents being able to work, it creates tensions about children going back to households with vulnerable people living there. So I think anything that can be done safely, to reduce transmission, in general, but especially amongst young people should be done because they really have been the big sufferers of this pandemic.
Vivienne Parry 13:05
So Freedom Day is supposed to heralds the return to normal. But what is normal? And what is living with COVID? And what does it all look like? Andrew, let's start with you on that one. What do you think?
Andrew Hayward 13:21
Well, I think normal will not quite look the same for a while in terms of I think some of the changes that we've experienced may become more baked in particularly obviously, with remote working and people realising what they can do remotely. So I think there'll be much more mixed models of that. I think we will get back to social mixing in unconstrained ways. And I think we will get back to situations where when we're not routinely testing every infection that we have, because it's not really sustainable, long term and the mortality rates associated with COVID in the long term won't justify that. I would hope that we see more of a cultural shift towards people not going to work when they have respiratory infections, which I think before it's been a very normal thing for people to do. So I do see more or less are returned to normal. But I think it's not it's not yet I I would doubt that that's until sometime next year.
Vivienne Parry 14:24
That's an interesting point about staying at home when we have a kind of horrible cold or something like that. Susan, do you think that that has changed as Andrew suggests that we'll be much more circumspect about spreading our germs around rather than doing that thing of struggling on?
Susan Michie 14:41
I think we need to have a very different kinds of safety culture across society. I led a reports for the behavioural science group for sage that was published two weeks ago, which is all about how do we develop a societal why safety culture to really embed and maintain paying these kinds of behaviours, long term, which includes staying at home when you're ill, but it does require all the social and material infrastructure around people's activity to make that work with governments, with employers, with every section of the society doing their bit to ensure that people actually can stay at home, we know even now, just 20 to 30% of people with symptoms are staying at home, even in the middle of a pandemic. And many of the reasons are to do with people being concerned about losing their job because they're in precarious employment, or not being able to afford on the very low levels of sickness pay we have in this country compared to other OECD countries. So all of these sorts of infrastructures needs to be put in place to enable people to do the right thing to protect themselves and protect other people.
Vivienne Parry 15:53
The ping-demic, as it's called, it seems to be undermining trust, because people are being pinged multiple times. You know, children in that school bubble, all those kinds of things, and somebody could find themselves off work for weeks.
Anne Johnson 16:09
I mean, the problem with the cut, the contact tracing is important. But the most important thing in terms of reducing transmission is that initial act of isolating and we do need to support people, when they're self isolating what Susan said is absolutely right, that a lot of people don't feel able to self isolate, and it's difficult, difficult to access some of the payments and so on. So one of the big recommendations of the Academy of Medical Sciences report you mentioned earlier, was the importance of supporting people who are self isolating in the longer run. And we need more scientific data on this. There are real questions about whether we can reduce the requirement to self isolate. In certain circumstances, for example, people have been double vaccinated, we still need to understand more about the risks of getting infected and transmission with this new variant. But that is now as you know, being rolled out the health and social care workers. So we did a lot more research on this. And I think actually we need we really do need to understand much better the overall effects of these various interventions and how we keep the public on board with the messaging so that they're able to comply with the guidance and that the guidance be based on solid evidence of abuse and transmission.
Vivienne Parry 17:25
Now the pandemic and lockdowns have changed so much. And I was wondering whether you thought that some things have been for the positive let's, let's talk about the positives. First, Deenan..
Deenan Pillay 17:39
First of all, there's no doubt that there's been a component of the response, which is demonstrate the collective will of the population, very few things have brought the population in the UK together. It's been a fraught time the last five years. And I think that demonstration does identify what is possible in a sort of thinking about public health and beneficial. And the second is, I do think there's been a far better communication and understanding of science within the population. Of course, it there are always pros and cons of that. And there's always different arguments, but it does set the scene we need to take advantage of that better communication, better understanding with the public, and that'll be important for scientific advances in the future.
Vivienne Parry 18:22
I mean, who would have thought genomic sequencing would be on the front pages every day? Susan, what are the positives for you?
Susan Michie 18:28
The blended ability to work from home and travelling in I mean, my research team, people come from Reading from Brighton from Cambridge, it's no way to live a life. It's bad for your mental and physical health. It's a waste of time. And it's very bad for planetary health. So I think thinking about local working hubs where people can have interactions with other real life, human beings, without having to travel a lot is really helpful. And also, I think, blended teaching surprisingly, although one really needs the interactions, the actual process of teaching has been really effective, being able to use the chat function alongside asking questions and discussing on screen and also have being able to go flexibly into very small groups. And so it's been much more inclusive in involving people who are much more reticent to speak out in large groups. So I hope that we keep that and also uploading teaching materials in small accessible chunks in advance that we can go back to and and refresh. So I think there have been real positives that we can build on in the whole teaching process.
Vivienne Parry 19:36
Andrew positive for you.
Andrew Hayward 19:38
For me, one of the positives was for a brief while we managed to end homelessness with the Everyone In campaign, we did show a really internationally excellent response to homelessness and we learned a lot about you know how important it is to give people the dignity of their own space their own room, not only to protect them from COVID. But also to be able to work effectively with people and help to get them more settled. Unfortunately, that seems to be unravelling very fast with mhclg guidance yesterday saying it's fine to reopen these communal night shelters, even though might need a double vaccinations to get into a nightclub, it's fine for a person with chronic illness and no vaccination to go into a commune or night shelter. So I think some of the benefits may not last.
Vivienne Parry 20:28
I don't want to dwell too long on the negative but I wanted to put in particular to a question about the NHS, because the NHS in, in one sense has been magnificent in its response, not only just sort of on the fly, reacting very, very quickly to all sorts of different circumstances. But it has had an extreme negative impact on the NHS in terms of burnout of staff in terms of waiting lists. How long do you think it's going to take for the NHS to recover?
Anne Johnson 21:00
is going to take a long time? I don't think I can answer your question about how long but we have a very long waiting list. And obviously, the extent to which the length it takes the NHS to recover, is going to evolve, not only how much we invest in it, and when I say invest in it, that's financial, but it's also the support we give to staff to further their, you know, ability to cope with the stresses and the burnout, to continue to train them to build to change some of the working practices. So we use the services we have, in ways that will improve health in the most efficient way possible, we must seize the opportunities in the newly structured NHS to invest wisely to think about how we plan not just for individual health or individual sickness very often, but about population health, and how we optimise our resources we build in we've been saying for years, we don't do it, we build more into preventive services, we integrate care we work actively to reduce inequality is something which has been really painted, written large in this pandemic. And part of reducing inequalities is reducing inequalities in access, inequality, inequalities, and in time to getting diagnosed, and so on. So these, we could see these as intractable challenges. We could also see them as a warning of the ways we could work together for the future, to think about how we deliver health and social care in a way that will improve population health, and reduce inequalities, and deliver the amazing advances we constantly see in biomedicine, but also in the social sciences and the data sciences to improve the health of our population.
Vivienne Parry 22:56
Time for the audience questions, and there have been an absolute tonne from you all. The question that's most popular of all is crystal ball time.r And five years from now? So Deenan, what do we see in in a year and five years,
Deenan Pillay 23:14
I think it's not about the question of whether this Corona COVID-19 will still be around, I expect there'll be circulation of this virus, where until the world is clear of the virus, it will continue. So what I'm imagining is that in a year, in five years time, we would have a different level of tolerance of constraints, whether it is infection control, whether it's the way we run our lives, whether it's travel, I think there's some things that are not going to go back to normal. And I think that's that's where we will be as long as Of course, these viruses are in the world. And I can imagine that these viruses will still be in the world in five years time.
Vivienne Parry 23:53
Here's a question from Alice Pink, in your opinions, which countries have handled the pandemic well? And what do you put this down to? Susan, I'm going to get to you on that.
Susan Michie 24:04
I mean, what's very obvious is that countries in Southeast Asia and Australia, New Zealand have done very well, countries in Southeast Asia have obviously had the experience of sars have known what works and one of the interesting things is that those countries who actually impose restrictions quickly and hard, have done best in terms of not only health, but also protecting the economy. And also in terms of civil liberties, very interesting paper comparing those who did go for elimination strategy, versus those who didn't and and find those advantages and those who did. And I think we really need to learn from these other countries. And unfortunately, our country has done really very badly given, you know, a very good NHS and very good research basis in terms of health, illness, and now long COVID So, I would Say, look overseas and learn the lessons.
Vivienne Parry 25:02
Anne What countries do you think have done particularly well,
Anne Johnson 25:06
this sort of obsession with who's done better and who's done worse. I mean, clearly we we in this country have had a bad pandemic, and we've had a very high death rate, we've now got a very high vaccination rate. So we're not going to know. I mean, maybe for a decade or more, what the real outcome of this terrible pandemic is going to be in terms of long term impact. And what seems like a great success one week or one year may not seem like such a success this year. And so I'm very resistant to producing any kind of league table at this time. The main message is the one Susan's always said, we have to learn from each other about this, to build resilience in the global health community, and between nations, if we are to avoid these kinds of things in the future. And the most important thing is to try to stop them happening in the first place.
Vivienne Parry 26:03
Let's ask now another question, which is about lockdown. When do you think lockdown Andrew might occur? What's the level at which you think, actually, there are too many cases we have to lock down?
Andrew Hayward 26:18
I can't see it locking down again, unless the hospitals are about to collapse, have to turn people away. I mean, we've never really had a societal discussion about when we think about living with COVID. Essentially, we also mean dying with COVID, and how many deaths were prepared to accept for our liberties. And I think that is something to think about whether you know in a normal year, we might go with 10 or 20,000 deaths from flu, and how many, you know, what are we prepared to trade? It sounds very mercenary. But I think as a scientist, you're sort of trying to think about calibrating these risks and benefits.
Vivienne Parry 26:56
And it's a very difficult thing, of course, to discuss openly, because people will say, well, you know, one death is too much if it's somebody you know, and love. So it's a very difficult thing to openly debate.
Andrew Hayward 27:09
Yes, although, of course, governments take decisions all the time, or fail to take decisions all the time that lead to death. And that's always a balance between the deaths and the economy. So it's, it's nothing new. And I think it merits debate.
Susan Michie 27:23
You know, we used to have many, many more deaths on the roads. And we didn't sit around and say, how many deaths do we think is an acceptable number of deaths to have on the roads each year? Let's have a national discussion about this. What we did was did the research and find out what are the effective mitigations that will reduce those deaths, and that included speed limits included very strict fines for drinking and driving included wearing seatbelts. And I remember, when the idea of compulsory seatbelts were brought in was massive resistance in our civil liberties are being taken away from us. Now, nobody bats an eyelid, about wearing their seatbelts, and the number of deaths have plummeted on the roads and also the number of long term disabilities plummeted on the road. So I think there should be much more national consultations and conversations that they should be about, what mitigations can we put in place now, to really bring down deaths long COVID, and all the symptoms and illness and mental health problems that go along with it? Rather than thinking we have to live with it as if we're not going to have radical changes in our society? I think we should think big.
Vivienne Parry 28:37
Thank you. I want to ask you now about conspiracists because this has been an ever present part of this pandemic. How difficult is it dealing with conspiracies?
Deenan Pillay 28:49
I think it's an it's a really important question, because without trust of the population, public health measures of the sort that we've had to impose are not going to work. And we see it in many different ways. There are many different sort of ways of conspiratorial ideas. But we've got to remember that if we could focus on vaccination that we mustn't get lulled into thinking that anyone against the vaccinations are anti vaxxers, and don't believe in vaccinations, there's a large group of people still, and there's still a big inequity by by ethnicity with regard to vaccine uptake, unfortunately, that are hesitant, and they're hearing different stories. And we need to make sure that the messaging and the trust that is engender to stimulate vaccine uptake is really supported that we have different ways of messaging, dealing and understanding people's views. It needs of course, control of social media, which is sort of exponentially used to thread this but it needs a government and ultimately that can be trusted.
Vivienne Parry 29:53
Susan, how about you on there? So conspiracies, how has that affected you?
Susan Michie 29:58
I think the key thing is not to give Give it oxygen. And that means ensuring that people have access to information and knowledge that they can understand and that they can engage with. And that means several things, it means ensuring that the people delivering that knowledge, are respected, are trusted by local communities. So that will vary according to kind of community. It means allowing two way conversation, so that it's not just about delivering information. It's about listening to people's concerns, responding to those concerns, setting up situations where people feel comfortable doing that, where all those things have been done, they've been very effective, but just not enough has been done, or bits been done, and then it stopped. So I think we need a national concerted effort. And it does involve engagement of communities at all levels, and what's called co development or co creation of the strategies, rather than having an office or whoever deciding on a common strategy, getting out there and working with people on the ground to really think about what messages delivered in what ways at what points by whom are going to be the most effective for those communities. This is something actually that the spy be the paper science of sage has said month after month after month in their reports, but we still yet to see this happen in any systematic way.
Vivienne Parry 31:23
Deenan, a very quick question for you. Interesting, practical question from someone here. If I were to catch COVID, after having been doubly vaccinated with this strengthen my immunity or weaken it?
Deenan Pillay 31:37
That's a really good question. I think what is clear is that vaccination after natural infection does really significantly boosts your immune system. And I take the view and whilst we await more data about the reverse, it follows that basically, the more exposure your immune system has, and is boosted, and you broaden the so called repertoire of of your immune responses, then the better you will be protected, which we wait to see. But what I would not do is encourage Yes, if you're vaccinated go and expose yourself consciously because that's going to help you I would never do that, because of course, we're seeing some vaccine failures. And of course, vaccine effects, you know, immunity do weigh in I mean, I, I was lucky as a health care worker, I got my vaccines more than six months ago, and I did a react test the other day and antibody tests, I had such a faint band on that, that I thought bloody hell, you know, I'm almost not protected anymore if one thinks of that. So basically, as a practical advice, do not go and get yourself exposed on the basis that's going to increase your immunity. I'd far rather strategy of booster vaccines as research provides the evidence.
Vivienne Parry 32:49
So another tricky question for you, which is if you've been double jabbed, and then you get COVID, do you need a booster Anne or Andrew, any ideas?
Andrew Hayward 33:00
I mean, you would expect a natural infection to act as a booster to some extent, although you might be asking yourself why you've had an infection despite the fact that you were immunised?
Anne Johnson 33:12
Hmm. I'd like to see some more immunology. I mean, you know, these are all things we have to study in the long run. That's ducking it, I know, but we don't have the answers. And I constantly say, we need to be absolutely clear, not just about what we will, but about what we don't know. And what we know what we need to know more about Deenan's, right. This is the viruses landed in a completely susceptible human population. And interestingly, most of us you're acquiring immunity to common respiratory virus infection, the day we're born. And suddenly a whole bunch of us have been exposed as an adult, which is very unusual. And that's across society. So how this is going well, this is going to play out in the longer run as it is, I think, very uncertain. Right now we are on a very remain on a very steep learning curve.
Vivienne Parry 34:04
Will we ever know the origin of SARS COVID?
Deenan Pillay 34:09
All I'd say we're aware of this debate and so on all I'd say is the last 30 years, every 10 years, there's been a new Coronavirus that has come originating in animals in whatever way that happens. So it's predictable, and therefore we should be predicting another one in 10 years time. The key issue here is is whether it was manufactured in the laboratory or not. And I don't know if anyone saw Tony Fauci's discussion today in Congress, but it seems to me very unlikely that this was artificially manufactured, when in fact we know nature is a very good manufacturer of these cross species infections.
Vivienne Parry 34:54
I've got one final question for you all. How has UCL done during This pandemic, Andrew,
Andrew Hayward 35:02
I think UCL has come into its own. It's made maybe not being quite as high profile as Oxford, for example, in some aspects, but the interdisciplinarity that we've brought to this has been really good. You know, I think we've been very well represented on advisory boards influencing policy influencing practice communicating to the public to explain this terrible problem. So I'm pretty proud of what UCL has done. And I think UCL has also had a really strong response as an organisation for how it's managed the personnel issues and supported people through the pandemic and students through the pandemic, we were really pleased to get some of the most positive feedback that we've yet had on teaching. So I'd give us a pretty good mark.
Vivienne Parry 35:47
Susan Michie 35:48
Oh well, in answering this, I paid tribute to David Prices, vision of the Grand Challenges he set up some 10 years ago. And that has supported throughout UCL different disciplines and faculties to come together to really address the big challenges facing the world and in six different themes, but also thinking about how to translate that multidisciplinary expertise to policy and practice in the real world out there where it can be used. And so I think that's put UCL staff including myself, in a really good position to be able to really roll our sleeves up and get stuck into trying to help both in terms of our scientific research, but also in terms of communication and other translational activities.
Vivienne Parry 36:35
Deenan Pillay 36:36
In typical UCL fashion, it's a whole eclectic mix a large mix of different people. And I think a lot has been positive about that. I would just put a cap add a caveat, though, is that I think what this pandemic has identified is how, however good science, you have measured traditionally what is needed to actually have impact. And I think UCL is not alone, in not being strong enough in terms of engagement with government to actually influence government bring rationality to government. I think that's not just a UCL issue. I think that's that's going to be an issue for how universities function and what the role of universities are post pandemic. But I'm very pleased to be part of UCL and that no one's, you know, stopped me working or sacked me from saying various outrageous things in the press.
Vivienne Parry 37:27
Marvellous. Well, thank you to all the panel, just from my own point of view. I think UCL has been magnificent during this pandemic. And I think it's the collaborative nature and the way that so many disciplines have come together to look at Coronavirus the whole story. So, I suppose that all that there is left for me to say now is that you've been listening to Coronavirus: The Whole Story. This episode was presented by myself Vivian Perry, produced by UCL with support from the UCL health of the public and UCL grand challenges and edited and can I give them an enormous plug here by the various splendid Cerys Bradley and wrangled every week by the wonderful Steph Lumuaco archive, so thank you to both of them. I was joined today by Professor Dame Anne Johnson, Professor Deenan Pillay, Professor Susan Michie and Professor Andrew Hayward. If you'd like to hear more of these podcasts from UCL, there is a fantastic back catalogue. And so you can subscribe wherever you download your podcasts, or you can visit ucl.ac.uk/Coronavirus. This podcast is brought to you for the very last time by UCL Minds bringing together UCL knowledge, insights and expertise through events, digital content, and activities are open to everyone. Thank you so much for tuning in every week. And I hope to be with you again soon for another project. But for now, goodbye