The first case of Covid-19 was observed in Ireland on February 29th. In the past month, we have had unprecedented change in every aspect of Irish society. The response to the pandemic progressed from warnings to school and pub closures, to a comprehensive shut down of non-essential workplaces, and strong guidelines on physical distancing, hygiene, and travel.
It is urgent to understand how people are responding to these changes. Adherence to physical distancing and protective health behaviours may be vital in delaying the transmission of the virus and allowing the health system to adapt. Understanding how to promote such adherence is a key topic of research for our community. Understanding the short-run impacts on mental and physical health is a key priority, as is understanding how the impacts of the restrictions are spread across groups of people and different types of businesses.
In the longer term, the Covid-19 pandemic will leave a wide range of public policy challenges in its wake. It would be important to anticipate now what those challenges are likely to be and to explore how research can contribute to finding solutions. It is crucial to understand the implications of different scenarios for inequality, education systems, labour markets, public administration, financial systems, transport, climate change, just to name a few. It is vital that we contribute to this process as scholars and researchers with different areas of expertise.
With these challenges in mind, UCD Geary Institute are launching a series of Covid19 crisis policy response events. The first will take place Friday April 17th and the second will take place Friday April 24th.