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University College Cork to research impact of Covid-19 public health measures

29 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Estimating the burden of symptomatic disease in the community and the impact of public health measures on physical, mental and social well being.

University College Cork has today been awarded significant funding to research the impact Covid-19 public health measures have had on the people of Ireland, and to also study the genetic makeup of the viruses circulating across the country.

The projects are two of 26 proposals awarded as part of a €5m Rapid Response Research, Development and Innovation programme established by the Health Research Board (HRB), Irish Research Council (IRC), Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

The Programme was introduced to fund research that will provide evidence for the national and global efforts to deal with the virus outbreak.

Professor Ivan Perry of UCC’s School of Public Health will lead a study estimating the burden of symptomatic disease in the community, and the impact of public health measures on physical, mental and social wellbeing.

News of the award comes just days before the announcement of the next phase of measures to battle the spread of Covid-19 on May 5.

The Government has implemented unprecedented public health measures to contain the virus and mitigate its impact. 

However, there is now a critical need for evidence on the impact and sustainability of these measures to inform the national and global response to the pandemic in the weeks and months ahead.

Prof Perry’s research will survey thousands of members of the public on their experiences of the pandemic.

These findings, along with other data, will be used to create a mathematical model that will inform decisions on the best levels and duration of physical-distancing measures, balancing a range of factors including capacity of the health service, the effects on well-being and economic disruption.

The work will be carried out in collaboration with Ipsos, a global market research firm and in collaboration with the National Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Prof Perry said:

"We hope that this project will give us a better understanding of  both the underlying trends in the burden of symptomatic and asymptomatic Covid-19 infection in the community and the impact of physical distancing and related public health measures on our physical, mental, psychological and social wellbeing”.

Professor Anita Maguire, Vice President for Research & Innovation, University College Cork welcomed the awarding of €199,945 for the project.

“I am delighted to see the excellent and innovative research focused on Covid-19 led by Ivan Perry supported under this award, building on his ground breaking research in public health over many years,” she said.

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