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Analysis and Commentary

Queen's academics provide their research-led commentary on topics related to Coronavirus, ranging from psychology and wellbeing to law, economics and data mapping.  

How much support is there for conspiracy theories relating to Covid 19? Are people who believe in conspiracy theories less likely to follow government and medical guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus?

John Garry, Professor of Political Behaviour at Queen's, has just published a study on the topic, co-authored with Professor Rob Johns (University of Essex) and Professor Rob Ford (University of Manchester). The paper is entitled "Coronavirus conspiracy beliefs, mistrust, and compliance: Taking measurement seriously" and appears in the journal Psychological Medicine (freely available open access).

Garry and co-authors experimentally demonstrate that previously published estimates of the prevalence of support for conspiracies were inflated because of flawed research design, and their paper reports more accurate levels of support. The paper also empirically teases out the relative importance of trust and conspiracy beliefs in determining lack of adherence to Covid guidelines.

Read the paper now

Coronavirus and Trauma: Lessons from the Troubles and other events

Michael Duffy and Ciaran Mulholland discuss the longer-term mental health implications of the pandemic and what lessons we might learn from the Troubles, 9/11 and other events, in a discussion chaired by Dr Anne Campbell.

Listen to the podcast now

Why has the stock market bounced back when the economy seems so bad?

The economy is suffering as a consequence of Covid-19 and measures taken to contain it, yet share prices have been rising sharply. This raises the possibility that the stock market is now in a bubble, with valuations increasingly detached from business and economic fundamentals.

Read more of this article by Professor John Turner and Dr William Quinn from Queen's Management School

Challenges and opportunities for cancer in the post-COVID NHS

Chaired by Baroness Nicola Blackwood, Professor Mark Lawler, Chair in Translation Cancer Genomics at Queen's University Belfast will join Dame Cally Palmer and Neelam Takyar, Oncology Business Unit Director at Bristol-Myer Squibb General Manager on Wednesday 29 July from 8:00am-9:00am as part of the Integrated Care Journal (ICJ) virtual healthcare breakfast webinar series on 'The Future of Social Care'. The COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous strain on the UK healthcare systems, bringing with it some unintended consequences that could have long-term impacts on health and care systems and patient outcomes. What impact will these solutions have on the future of the NHS and what challenges will they present?

Watch again here

Nightingale’s year of nursing: rising to the challenges of the COVID-19 era

The World Health Organisation designated 2020 the 'year of nursing', little knowing that the pandemic would soon change health professions universally. The events offer an opportunity to reform a beleaguered profession as full of potential and passion as its founder, writes Professor David R Thompson from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen's in the BMJ.

Find out more >

Podcast: COVID-19 and Food

Professor Chris Elliott OBEthe founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's University Belfast, shares his expertise on global food systems, food fraud, food standards and food quality - including the link between Covid-19 mortality and obesity - post-Covid and post-Brexit

Listen to the podcast >

Cancer care at the time of COVID-19 Webinar

Professor Mark Lawler joins Emma Kinloch, Chair of NCRI Consumer Forum, in discuss ‘Cancer care at the time of COVID-19’, hosted by the National Cancer Research Institute. The webinar is focussed on the challenges that cancer care has been experiencing and opportunities that may arise as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Speakers discuss recent data finding and contextualise it to offer potential solutions, and consider priorities and new approaches going forward.

Click here to watch on demand

Podcast: The impact of COVID-19 on the local food industry

Declan Billington, a Northern Ireland agrifood business leader, Brexit negotiator and an honorary professor at Queen's University Belfast talks to IGFS Communications Officer Una Bradley about the impact of COVID-19 on the local food industry

The topics we touched on include trying to quantify the impact on local economy; how food workers can be protected - both in terms of welfare (unemployment, health - catching the virus etc) and reputation (media stories about Covid in meat plants); how Brexit is a complicating factor in the future of food security on these islands; how rebuilding the food system could be an opportunity to make it more resilient and sustainable.

Listen to the podcast >

Podcast: The impact of COVID–19 on the Northern Ireland economy

Queen’s University Belfast and the independent public policy think tank Pivotal have together launched a three–part series of podcasts on the impact of Covid–19 on key aspects of life in Northern Ireland.

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Can Animals Catch and Spread Coronavirus?

As part of a fascinating new podcast series, Dr Simon Doherty, a lecturer at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s assesses the human-animal infection risk at various stages of the food chain. 

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Queen's University launches Covid-19 Research Roundtable video series

In the context of a global pandemic, is sharing our personal data now a societal duty – or is it an intrusion too far? Does COVID-19 put our food supplies at risk? Are we all in this together, or has the virus exacerbated already existing inequalities? What of those with unrelated health conditions, and what will be the long-term effect on our health service? How will the crisis affect other aspects of society, such as our arts and culture?

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Global Campus of Human Rights: Human Rights Preparedness

Professor Thérèse Murphy, from the School of Law at Queen's, and Kalliope Agapiou-Josephides, from the University of Cyprus, are leading GC Human Rights Preparedness, an open-access resource based on multi-disciplinary perspectives and a space for collaboration on the role that human rights must play in addressing the persistent challenges of pandemics and other emergencies. 

The initiative brings together over 100 universities from around the world. 

By identifying good practices in a variety of areas related to human rights and democratisation, GC Human Rights Preparedness will shape significant knowledge with relevance to the post COVID-19 world.

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Queen’s rising to the COVID -19 challenge: The importance of simulation in healthcare

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen unprecedented changes to the way in which we live and work. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the field of healthcare.

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How much of the coronavirus does it take to make you sick? The science, explained by Dr Connor Bamford

Viral load is a measure of virus particles.It is the amount of virus present once a person has been infected and the virus has had time to replicate in their cells.

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Levelling up - Queen's role in Northern Ireland's Economic Recovery

Nesta’s ‘The Missing £4Billion- Making R&D work for the whole of the UK’ report highlights not only how far the UK lags behind other countries in terms of Research and Development Investment, but also that R&D spending within the UK is regionally unbalanced. Professor Emma Flynn examines Queen's role in Northern Ireland's economic recovery.

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TEDxQueensUniversityBelfast: Adapt and Change

In the university’s first TEDx Digital event, academics from across Queen’s have offered informed opinion pieces and reflections on the changes taking place all around us a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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In the future, your phone could test you for coronavirus – here’s how (The Conversation)

It may seem far-fetched, but it’s possible to use your smartphone to detect diseases. Mobile devices can be turned into tools to rapidly identify a variety of disease-causing agents, including bacteria, toxins and viruses.

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Has #clapforcarers exposed the fundamental contradictions about how we value social care workers? (QPol)

While many social care workers welcomed the weekly #clap4carers ritual and messages of support, there also existed feelings of frustrations around working and employment conditions. Dr Katharine Venter of University of Leicester, Dr Martin McCracken of Ulster University, and Dr Denise Currie of Queen's Management School discuss how social care roles are valued by society.

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What can we learn from historical recessions and depressions? (QPol)

While the Covid-19 recession has some unique characteristics, research on past experiences of economic downturns offers valuable lessons on how long recovery takes and what policies might accelerate that process.

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Why calls for reparations from China for coronavirus are an unfeasible distraction (The Conversation)

There have been increasing demands for reparations from China for the harm caused by COVID-19. President Donald Trump called for compensation from China for the economic costs of the virus. Some reports suggest US officials are also discussing whether families of victims could sue China. Obiageli Ezekwesili, a former World Bank vice president, has called on China to pay reparations to African countries.

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The original Sars virus disappeared – here’s why coronavirus won’t do the same (The Conversation)

British cancer doctor Prof Karol Sikora recently claimed that the current COVID-19 pandemic would “burn itself out”. His thinking is that if there are more infections than we realise, and that those milder, unrecorded infections result in robust immunity, then this would quickly lead to “herd immunity”, leaving the virus nowhere to go but extinct. Extend this to the world’s population and the virus eradicates itself.

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Coronavirus: drones used to enforce lockdown pose a real threat to our civil liberties (The Conversation)

Drones are often seen as weapon against terrorist suspects, a state snooping device or a novelty tool for delivering things like pizza. But since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, drones have acquired a new role.

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A History of Pandemics Podcast

A new podcast that sheds light on how societies and people across millennia have battled infamous pandemics and plagues - facing many of the same issues that we face today with coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Prepare to sleep and sleep to be prepared

To protect the mental health of our frontline health care professionals it is imperative that we focus on sleep now more than ever. Professor Chérie Armour, Professor of Psychological Trauma & Mental Health in the School of Psychology, looks at the mental health impact of a lack of sleep, particularly for frontline workers.

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Supporting Children in Isolation

How are children coping with lockdown? Professor Chérie Armour, Professor of Psychological Trauma & Mental Health in the School of Psychology, explains how you can support children during the pandemic.

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Has #clapforcarers exposed the fundamental contradictions about how we value social care workers? (QPol)

Dr Katharine Venter of University of Leicester, Dr Martin McCracken of Ulster University, and Dr Denise Currie of Queen's Management School.

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Supporting Pets During Lockdown

Lockdown can be just as challenging for animals as it is for their owners. Catherine Reeve and Grace Carroll, Lecturers in Animal Welfare and Behaviour, explain how you can support your pet during the pandemic.

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Economics Observatory: Questions and Answers About Coronavirus and the UK Economy

A collective initiative by the economic research community to answer questions from policy-makers and the public about the economics of the Covid-19 crisis and the recovery.

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Queen's research finds an increase in faith online during the coronavirus pandemic

A research study from Queen’s has revealed how faith leaders and communities on the island of Ireland adapted and responded to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

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School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics: Life in Lockdown blog

Contributions from students and academics on a range of topics including lockdown, loneliness, learning new skills and political commentary.

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Global trading: the good, the bad and the essential

Dr Lucy McCarthy, along with academics from the University of Nottingham, considers some of the flaws in our globalised food systems and the historical trading patterns upon which they are based.

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Global food supply chains in times of pandemic

The public health crisis unfolding before us is unprecedented, unimaginable and catastrophic. It will profoundly impact our values and lifestyles as it exposes the implications of national austerity measures on public services and the precariousness of our globalised production and consumption systems.

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The impact of lockdown on isolation and loneliness

Researchers from Queen’s Centre for Improving Health-Related Quality of Life are examining the impact of physical distancing regulations on social interaction, isolation and loneliness.

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Watch: Cancer Care in the Era of COVID-19

Queen’s has been playing a leading role in the fight against COVID-19, particularly in the cancer domain. In this panel discussion, two leading cancer specialists from Queen’s, Professor Mark Lawler and Professor Joe O’Sullivan, are joined by pioneering patient’s advocacy campaigner Mrs Margaret Grayson MBE to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on cancer care.

‘Giant’ of astronomy to host live school lessons

Leading astronomer Professor Stephen Smartt from Queen’s Astrophysics Research Centre (ARC) is hosting a series of live video lessons for children aged 8-12.

How the pandemic is further alienating the disabled community

From early press briefings with no sign language interpretation to resuscitation guidelines that prioritise neurotypical patients, the pandemic has brought societal prejudices against those living with disabilities to the fore, says Dr Bronagh Byrne, a Senior Lecturer in Social Policy at the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s.

COVID-19 in China: From ‘Chernobyl Moment’ to Impetus for Nationalism (Made in China Journal)

Dr Chenchen Zhang from School Of History, Anthropology, Philosophy And Politics examines thei mpact of COVID-19 on Chinese Nationalism.

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Listen: COVID-19 and Older People: a Queen’s University podcast

In this podcast episode, Professor Stuart Elborn, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, hosts a discussion of the impact on older people, and their families, of the current coronavirus pandemic.

Home cooking means healthier eating – there’s an opportunity to change food habits for good (The Conversation)

Danielle McCarthy, Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, discusses the dramatic transformation in our access to and the availability of food in the past month.

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Engaging your child to learn during lockdown

With the news that two thirds of school children haven’t logged into online lessons, Professor Karola Dillenburger, Director of the Centre for Behaviour Analysis at Queen's offers tips and advice to help your child overcome barriers and learn something new.

How Can and Should the European Union respond to COVID-19 beyond short-termism…?

Professor Dagmar Schiek looks at the EU's response to date to the Covid crisis and asks what more should the European Union be doing?

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Why careful consideration must be given to when we reopen schools and how (QPol)

Professor Tony Gallagher puts forward several key considerations which should be applied before any decision to reopen schools in Northern Ireland is taken.

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COVID-19 pandemic – A focused review for clinicians (QPol)

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 remains a significant issue for global health, economics and society. A wealth of data has been generated since its emergence in December 2019 and it is vital for clinicians to keep up with this data from across the world at a time of uncertainty and constantly evolving guidelines and clinical practice.

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Coronavirus: how economic rescue plans can set the global economy on a path to decarbonisation (The Conversation)

As states contemplate how to restart the global economy after the pandemic, it’s important to remember that we’ve been here before. The global financial crisis of 2008 didn’t cause as much social and economic harm as COVID-19 has, but it did force governments around the world to intervene in the economy, to limit the fallout from the crash.

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Performing Artists in the age of COVID-19: A moment of urgent action and potential change (QPol)

In this special long read, Drs Ioannis Tsioulakis and Ali FitzGibbon take an indepth look at the devastating impact the COVID pandemic is having on the performing arts sector.

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Who counts when we count cases and deaths from covid-19?

Carmel Hughes, Michael Tunney and Kate Lapane look at why covid-19 deaths in care homes are not being counted, and what needs to be done to protect those most at risk


Stay well: Our expert guide to wellbeing during lockdown

Social distancing measures isolating us from those we care about can leave some feeling lonely, anxious or depressed. Dr Karen Winter from Queen’s School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work has these stay-well tips to help you look after your mental health during lockdown.

Coronavirus and the need for a new social and economic contract (QPol)

In order to stem the inevitable economic downturn that will follow the COVID-19 crisis, we need something that provides every single person with the basic economic security they are entitled to. We need a Universal Basic Income says Patrick Brown, PhD student, Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice.

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Working parents are feeling the strain of lockdown

The logistics of working from home while juggling childcare duties is leaving many parents challenged with an impossible juggling act. They will need the support, trust and understanding of employers to get through it, says Queen’s PhD student Caroline Millar.

How is coronavirus affecting animals?

From wildlife roaming free in deserted urban areas to a captive tiger with coronavirus, Dr Neil Reid, Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology at the Institute for Global Food Security and the School of Biological Sciences at Queen's University Belfast, discusses the impact coronavirus has had on animals around the world.

The Threat Posed by COVID-19: Talk by Professor Stuart Elborn (QPol)

Professor Elborn discusses the current threat posed by Covid-19 and recent relevant research.

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Coronavirus: why young and old must pull together to survive this (QPol)

Thinking and acting in terms of solidarity and cooperation is going to be increasingly important as the virus spreads and more social and economic consequences are felt says Dr Gemma Carney.

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Coronavirus treatments: what drugs might work against COVID-19? (The Conversation)

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, killing thousands and bringing economies to their knees, doctors, scientists and governments are on the lookout for safe and effective treatments to help those who are sick. And yet a large issue with COVID-19 is that there is, as yet, no cure.

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Coronaviruses – a brief history (The Conversation)

Most of us will be infected with a coronavirus at least once in our life. This might be a worrying fact for many people, especially those who have only heard of one coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the cause of the disease known as COVID-19.

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The Coronavirus Act: Where it Falls Short

As the UK government works to patch the holes in hastily drawn up crisis legislation, Professor Dagmar Schiek from Queen’s School of Law says there is a renewed case for an adequate welfare state.

Is Ireland turning to religion during the Covid-19 crisis? (RTE)

Dr Gladys Ganiel of Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice, explains how religion may play a greater than expected role for many in Ireland as the crisis unfolds.

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Economic rebirth after COVID-19

While our primary focus should be humanitarian, the economic damage of COVID-19 is devastating. However, Queen’s Senior Economics Lecturer Dr Graham Brownlow is hopeful the crisis might jump-start a self-cleanse of the UK economy.

Coronavirus and the new appreciation of teachers

From embracing remote learning opportunities to providing emergency childcare, our teachers have stepped up to the plate. They more than deserve the new-found appreciation being shown to them, says Professor Tony Gallagher from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at

‘Make room for fun’: home-schooling for parents

Don’t be too hard on yourself – or them - make time for fun and seek out reliable online resources. Professor Tony Gallagher from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen’s shares his advice for parents during lockdown.

The ethics of ordering non-essential items online during the coronavirus lockdown (The Conversation)

Laura Steele, Queen's Management School, on the ethical considersations of online shopping for non-essentials during lockdown, including the working conditions of those who handle the goods.

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Coronavirus jargon buster – how to sound like an expert (The Conversation)

Lindsay Broadbent, Research Fellow, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, explains several terms that you will have heard recently but may be new to you.

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Coronavirus: once you have antibodies, are you safe? (The Conversation)

Connor Bamford of Queens' Wellcome-Wolfson Centre for Experimental Medicine, on the prospects and pitfalls of relying on antibodies to protect us, how our immune system behaves during a coronavirus infection, and how it could protect us in the future.

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COVID-19: Don’t bank on a rapid economic recovery

Hopes that government-administered CPR can jolt the economy back to life after the coronavirus recession are too optimistic, says John Turner, a Professor of Finance and Financial History at Queen's Management School.

COVID-19: Curbing a loneliness epidemic

With a government-imposed lockdown isolating us from our family and friends, clinical psychologist Dr Christopher Graham, a Senior Lecturer in Queen’s School of Psychology, shares his tips for keeping in touch while keeping your distance.

Why a collaborative research culture is needed to address the COVID-19 challenge

With scientists around the world mobilised to use their skills to help fight COVID-19, institutional and international cooperation is key, says Queen’s leading haematologist Professor Ken Mills. Has the landscape of global research changed forever?

COVID-19 Cases Tracker - Northern Ireland

Conor Graham is a Geographical Information Science (GIS) researcher and educator at the Centre for GIS and Geomatics, School of Natural and Built Environment. 

Working with Dr Brian Johnson, Professor Jenny McKinley at Queen’s and partners at ESRI Ireland, Mr Graham is mapping the confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Northern Ireland, as published by the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency, via their Daily COVID-19 Surveillance Reports.

View map tracker >

How to exercise safely during a pandemic

Dr Grace C Roberts is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine. As a Molecular Virologist and a running coach, Dr Roberts provides some advice on the safest ways to stay fit during a pandemic.

How soap kills the COVID-19 virus

Dr Dan Corbett from Queen’s School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering explains why old-fashioned soap is an unlikely weapon in the war against COVID-19.

Explained: the importance of behavioural responses when implementing a lockdown

How do life-changing situations affect our behaviour? Dr Martin Dempster from the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast is working to find out.

Coronavirus and Spanish flu: economic lessons to learn from the last truly global pandemic (The Conversation)

As news of the global spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) emerged, global financial markets reacted pessimistically and behaved in ways not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. The closest parallel is the 1918 influenza pandemic, popularly known as the Spanish flu. Dr Chris Colvin from Queen's Management School explores the lessons from this historical pandemic for policymakers today.

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Five tricks your mind might play on you during the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread panic faster than the virus itself. Clinical psychologist Dr Christopher Graham, a Senior Lecturer in Queen’s School of Psychology, talks about our natural human responses in this crisis, and suggests positive ways to channel anxiety.

This is what an emergency looks like - Lessons from the pandemic for addressing our planetary emergency

Imagine Belfast Festival 2020

Professor John Barry, School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics. "Which is more important? Wealth or health? This is one of the lessons from the coronavirus, what happens to states and citizens when we are forced to choose health, specifically public health, as the over-riding social imperative?"

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An expert’s guide to working from home

John Moriarty, a Lecturer in Queen’s University’s School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, gives his advice for how to stay happy and healthy working from home during the COVID-19 crisis.

Hard Choices at the Frontline - Nuffield Council on Bioethics 

Article by Professor Emeritus David Archard, from the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics and Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, on rationing of care for COVID-19

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Coronavirus is changing funerals and how we deal with the dead - The Conversation UK 

Professor Heather Conway, School of Law, on how how funerals are changing and how we deal with the dead in relation to COVID-19

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