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Letter by Professor Paul Anand published in The Guardian

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Paul Anand, Professor of Economics at The Open University, has had a letter published in The Guardian, Tuesday 13 October 2020. He writes:

In recent research I did with colleagues in Oxford, Manchester and New York, we produced model-based evidence that COVID-19 transmission is linked to living in shared accommodation or the sharing of a kitchen. The finding is particularly robust in both the UK and US, and deprivation is a significant factor that forces people to live together in settings where physical distancing is difficult. The three-tier system that has emerged from the government (Tempers flare over new Covid rules as Johnson warns: ‘We must act now’, 13 October) is disappointing in that it fails to make use of these simple but predictable and important facts.

As a result, forcing people to stay at home when some threshold case rate is triggered is a reaction that may not be very protective for some households or have as much benefit in lower-income neighbourhoods, where the sharing of accommodation is more prevalent. The government’s record on consultation has been something of a curate’s egg and in this case it really should be engaging with communities about ways in which they can protect themselves, rather than just handing out overly simple messages that fail to account for important differences in the way people live.

Read the letter in The Guardian.

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