How to home-school your children in social skills


It’s arguable whether we need people around us to develop self-understanding, but it’s hard to imagine how empathy and social skills can be acquired in isolation.

Does it follow that lockdown has caused many children to become less socially skilled and less empathetic? Although the answer depends on several factors — age, personality, personal circumstances, and the extent of social isolation — I’m convinced almost all children will show resilience and regain lost ground once we can feel less self-aware and awkward when interacting with others. After all, children have continued to interact socially with their parent(s) and any siblings throughout the restrictions.

Nonetheless, because EQ is so vital to well-being, it’s important to encourage your children to work on their social and emotional skills. Here’s how:

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1. Show interest in their emotions and be a good role model: Ask how they are feeling and respond appropriately. For example, if they’re sad, ask if they would like you to give them a hug or read them a story.

2. Talk about how others are feeling: Read to them and watch TV together. Ask them to guess characters’ moods and why they might be feeling that way.

3. Manage conflict well: Use arguments with siblings as opportunities to teach self-regulation (everyone has to sit alone and cool down for three minutes), empathy (each child must try to understand how the other is feeling) and compromise (each child must offer two resolutions).

4. Awaken their inner thespian: Encourage them to write and act out plays or sketches, imagining the world through others’ eyes.

5. Use games and apps: There are a number of apps to teach empathy. Try educationalappstore.com.

6. Demonstrate empathy when explaining current restrictions. When you answer questions about why they can’t socialise just now, explain with regard to those they will help, the frail and vulnerable (perhaps a grandparent) and our health and care workers.



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‘This is not fair’: Father-of-five inside Melbourne lockdown fears for his children


Melbourne father of 5 Abdirahman Ibrahim sat down to watch the 6pm news and uncovered that his making was likely into lockdown.

Pondering he experienced until 11.59pm on Saturday like other people in his postcode, the 27-12 months-previous ran downstairs to purchase formula for his seven-month-previous twins but was stopped by law enforcement.

Just two several hours prior, Leading Daniel Andrews had introduced a “hard” lockdown for 9 community housing towers in North Melbourne and Flemington, effective quickly.

Law enforcement swarmed the estates, blocking driveways and doorways and barring people from going out.

Victoria has recorded 108 new coronavirus conditions, forcing the lockdown of nine general public housing towers and two much more Melbourne postcodes.

AAP

Victoria recorded 108 new virus circumstances on Saturday, together with a cluster of up to 30 conditions across a couple of housing estates.

The government’s choice to lock down all nine towers was built simply because of “patterns of movement, friendship groups, household teams,” the leading stated.

He also cited the crowded dwelling in community housing and numerous communal spaces, that means local community transmission was high risk.

Mr Ibrahim, a Somali-Australian who has lived in Australia for 10 many years soon after fleeing his war-torn homeland, reported he couldn’t come across out how to get his particular requirements achieved.

His family provides are small as he and his spouse do their weekly shop on Sundays.

They want method for the baby twins, nappies, milk, weetbix, soap, toothpaste, laundry powder, fruit, greens and meat.

“This is not honest,” Mr Ibrahim instructed AAP.

“There are a great deal of postcodes in lockdown but they are authorized to leave the home for essentials.

“What the Victorian authorities is doing is discriminating the persons who never have a voice.

“We are not distinctive from the relaxation of the Victorian local community which is in lockdown now.”

Mr Ibrahim is a everyday choose-packer in a warehouse in Melbourne’s west and is not paid if he would not convert up.

He reported the imprisonment imposed on him felt like he’d absent back again in time to the trauma his family ran from.

The premier’s office advised AAP urgent requests for food items and materials have been getting triaged via Victoria Law enforcement and overall health office officers on site and interpreters are assisting.

The state government has economic assistance for those who are unable to attend function simply because of house isolation.

Folks in Australia need to remain at least 1.5 metres away from other individuals. Look at your state’s restrictions on gathering restrictions.

Screening for coronavirus is broadly obtainable throughout Australia. If you are encountering chilly or flu symptoms, arrange a exam by contacting your doctor or get in touch with the Coronavirus Overall health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government’s coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is readily available for obtain from your phone’s app retail store.

SBS is dedicated to informing Australia’s assorted communities about the newest COVID-19 developments. Information and info is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus



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Push to ban strip searches in custody for children, replace with body scanning


Tasmanian mother Sarah knows exactly the kind of trauma that can be caused to children who are strip searched in custody.

Her teenage son has been searched numerous times.

“It causes shocking anxiety for him and for me. It’s horrible,” she said.

Sarah, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, said she and her son had made complaints.

“Even though, yes, they may have done the wrong thing to be going there [reception prison], he’s still a child, he’s still my child.”

She said in one instance, an apology had been issued to her son from the Director of Prisons, after a review of one search at the Hobart Reception Prison found procedures were “not fully complied with” and may have caused him “distress and confusion”.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People in Tasmania, Leanne McLean, described strip searching of children as “extremely undignified”.

“If you put yourself in the shoes of a child in that position, it would be an awful process,” Ms McLean said.

Children’s commissioner Leanne McLean says strip searching children can’t be justified.(Supplied)

Last year, Ms McLean called for the routine strip-searching of children in custody to end.

“As a routine practice, it can’t be justified. That is the advice I gave the Government. And the Government have accepted that advice,” she said.

She said following operational changes, including the introduction of a risk assessment process, the number of children strip searched at both the Hobart and Launceston Reception Prisons had reduced significantly.

Where, previously, almost all young people were strip-searched, between July 1, 2019, and the end of February 2020, that had dropped to about 35 per cent, or about 70 children.

Those children were subjected to either a “full personal search”, in which the child removes half their clothes at a time, and is required to bend at the waist and part their buttocks, or a “modified personal search”, in which the buttocks inspection is not required.

“I remain concerned at the numbers of children continuing to be strip searched, and will continue to monitor the effect of the changes in practice and policy and the effect of the proposed legislative reforms,” Ms McLean said.

Aboriginal children over-represented in searches

Despite making up 4.6 per cent of the Tasmanian population, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people made up 21 per cent of the 199 young people strip searched.

Michael Mansell, from the Aboriginal Land Council, said police were still using discretion in who they searched.

“We need to change the law and the Parliament needs to legislate to prevent police and custodial officers from strip searching children, and unless that legislation is in place nothing’s going to change,” Mr Mansell said.

Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell in office.
Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell wants the law changed to ban strip searching children.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

“The Parliament needs to take that discretion away, and make a statement saying this is forbidden.”

Of the nine recommendations Ms McLean made regarding the strip-searching of children in custody last year, the Government has accepted six, and three “in-principle”.

In a statement, the Attorney-General Elise Archer said the Government would consult on draft legislation later this year to address the recommendations.

“We remain committed to implementing any measures that will ensure the dignity and self-respect of children and young people in the custodial process.”

Rodney Dillon is the Aboriginal advisor to Amnesty International, and said technology like that used in airport screening should be replacing strip searches.

 Aboriginal elder and former Tasmanian ATSIC Commissioner Rodney Dillon
Rodney Dillon believes scanning technology will minimise trauma for children.(ABC News: Sam Ikin)

“This is only about money and we should invest in the appropriate machines so we can have this done with the least amount of privacy invaded.”

A spokeswoman said the Department of Justice was considering electronic security as part of a broader upgrade of technology, and would continue to explore technologies that might offer an appropriate and effective alternative to personal searches.

Tasmania, along with other states and territories, is looking at whether the age of criminal responsibility should be raised.

Both Mr Dillon and Ms McLean would like it raised from 10 to 14.

But Ms McLean said that could only happen once Tasmania had a supportive and therapeutic youth justice system.



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Push to ban strip searches for children, replace with body scanning


Tasmanian mother Sarah knows exactly the kind of trauma that can be caused to children who are strip searched in custody.

Her teenage son has been searched numerous times.

“It causes shocking anxiety for him and for me. It’s horrible,” she said.

Sarah, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, said she and her son had made complaints.

“Even though, yes, they may have done the wrong thing to be going there [reception prison], he’s still a child, he’s still my child.”

She said in one instance, an apology had been issued to her son from the Director of Prisons, after a review of one search at the Hobart Reception Prison found procedures were “not fully complied with” and may have caused him “distress and confusion”.

The Commissioner for Children and Young People in Tasmania, Leanne McLean, described strip searching of children as “extremely undignified”.

“If you put yourself in the shoes of a child in that position, it would be an awful process,” Ms McLean said.

Children’s commissioner Leanne McLean says strip searching children can’t be justified.(Supplied)

Last year, Ms McLean called for the routine strip-searching of children in custody to end.

“As a routine practice, it can’t be justified. That is the advice I gave the Government. And the Government have accepted that advice,” she said.

She said following operational changes, including the introduction of a risk assessment process, the number of children strip searched at both the Hobart and Launceston Reception Prisons had reduced significantly.

Where, previously, almost all young people were strip-searched, between July 1, 2019, and the end of February 2020, that had dropped to about 35 per cent, or about 70 children.

Those children were subjected to either a “full personal search”, in which the child removes half their clothes at a time, and is required to bend at the waist and part their buttocks, or a “modified personal search”, in which the buttocks inspection is not required.

“I remain concerned at the numbers of children continuing to be strip searched, and will continue to monitor the effect of the changes in practice and policy and the effect of the proposed legislative reforms,” Ms McLean said.

Aboriginal children over-represented in searches

Despite making up 4.6 per cent of the Tasmanian population, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people made up 21 per cent of the 199 young people strip searched.

Michael Mansell, from the Aboriginal Land Council, said police were still using discretion in who they searched.

“We need to change the law and the Parliament needs to legislate to prevent police and custodial officers from strip searching children, and unless that legislation is in place nothing’s going to change,” Mr Mansell said.

Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell in office.
Tasmanian Aboriginal lawyer Michael Mansell wants the law changed to ban strip searching children.(ABC News: Damian McIntyre)

“The Parliament needs to take that discretion away, and make a statement saying this is forbidden.”

Of the nine recommendations Ms McLean made regarding the strip-searching of children in custody last year, the Government has accepted six, and three “in-principle”.

In a statement, the Attorney-General Elise Archer said the Government would consult on draft legislation later this year to address the recommendations.

“We remain committed to implementing any measures that will ensure the dignity and self-respect of children and young people in the custodial process.”

Rodney Dillon is the Aboriginal advisor to Amnesty International, and said technology like that used in airport screening should be replacing strip searches.

 Aboriginal elder and former Tasmanian ATSIC Commissioner Rodney Dillon
Rodney Dillon believes scanning technology will minimise trauma for children.(ABC News: Sam Ikin)

“This is only about money and we should invest in the appropriate machines so we can have this done with the least amount of privacy invaded.”

A spokeswoman said the Department of Justice was considering electronic security as part of a broader upgrade of technology, and would continue to explore technologies that might offer an appropriate and effective alternative to personal searches.

Tasmania, along with other states and territories, is looking at whether the age of criminal responsibility should be raised.

Both Mr Dillon and Ms McLean would like it raised from 10 to 14.

But Ms McLean said that could only happen once Tasmania had a supportive and therapeutic youth justice system.



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Coronavirus latest news: Headteachers may refuse to fine parents who keep children at home



More than half a million people have been killed by  coronavirus, nearly two thirds of them in the United States and Europe, according to an John Hopkins University tally on Sunday.

The official death toll for the disease now stands at 500,306 deaths from 10,070,339 cases recorded worldwide. The United States has suffered the highest death toll (125,763), followed by Brazil (57,070) and the United Kingdom (43,634).

The tallies probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.

Read more





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Families of the 67 Australian women and children kept in Syria say they feel ‘betrayed’ by the government


Kamalle Dabboussy did not think after 15 months there would be so minimal progress. 

Mr Dabboussy’s daughter Mariam and her 3 kids grew to become trapped in Syria’s Al-Hawl refugee camp right after Mariam was coerced into travelling to the Middle East in 2015.

There are 67 Australians at present in the camp of extra than 60,000 folks, most of them relations of IS fighters.

Considering the fact that IS misplaced its foothold in Syria in March 2019, lots of Western nations, which include Australia, have resisted calls to provide their citizens property.

Mr Dabboussy explained in spite of quite a few ways to the federal government, you can find been tiny conversation with him or the family members of the other Australians in the camp.

“We feel frustrated and considerably betrayed,” he told SBS News.

Kamalle Dabboussy appears to be like at pictures of just one of his grandchildren

SBS News

“We’ve provided to guide. We have provided to get the job done with regulation enforcement organizations, and to date, there is been no beneficial movement.”

In recent weeks, authorities have gathered personal facts, these as photos and fingerprints, from the detainees to try and identify energetic IS associates and get countries to “presume their responsibilities” for any nationals they have in the camp.

“This selection of information can help boost the residing and humanitarian conditions within Al-Hawl camp, as well as facilitate coordination with the nations whose nationals reside in the camp and urge them to presume their tasks to their citizens,” the administration that governs Syria’s Kurdish-held north-east mentioned in a assertion.

Mr Dabboussy said he hoped the accumulating of the details would be a turning position.

“We observed the ID tests to be a little something good as one thing that could assist the Australian govt by knowing particularly who’s there,” he stated.

But months on, you will find been no further more information and facts.

A file image of  a wife of an IS fighter with her children at the al-Hawl camp in northeastern Syria on 3 June 2019.

A file picture of a spouse of an IS fighter with her young children at the al-Hawl camp in northeastern Syria on 3 June 2019.

AAP

The federal government has beforehand stated the Australian gals and youngsters in Syria could pose security threats if they’re repatriated, a suggestion numerous of their families deny.

In a assertion to SBS News, a spokesperson for the Division of House Affairs reiterated the govt would not put the basic safety of Australian officers at chance to repatriate folks from Syrian conflict zones.

“We are not going to put Australian officials’ life at risk to check out and extract individuals from these perilous scenarios,” the spokesperson explained.

Mat Tinkler, Director of Worldwide Applications at Conserve the Youngsters Australia, said armed service and humanitarian groups stand prepared to facilitate harmless repatriations.

“We know that the US forces, the Kurdish forces will carry these youngsters to the relative protection of the Northern Iraq border for repatriation,” he said.

“We also know these females have voluntarily mentioned they would signal up to extremely onerous terrorism regulate orders, and that mitigates any threat that may possibly exist to the Australian general public.”

Save the Children policy director Mat Tinkler

Mat Tinkler, Director of Intercontinental Packages at Preserve the Small children Australia

SBS News

The Worldwide Committee of the Crimson Cross, which has been contributing to initiatives to offer with the risk of COVID-19 in the camp, has indicated it would support the federal govt repatriate Australian citizens if a ask for was created.

“It’s component of our function to aid the return of people today to their state of origin. We have finished this for many years and we’ve carried out it in quite a few contexts,” spokesman Fabrizio Carboni reported.

This week, 10 small children returned to France from the camp.

The French foreign ministry gave minor facts about the youngsters, but attorneys symbolizing their relatives reported the group contained a few orphans.



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Adelaide nurse administered wrong vaccines to children and doctored records, tribunal finds


Children were left unprotected from deadly diseases after a nurse administered the wrong vaccines and altered records to cover her tracks, South Australia’s Civil and Administrative Tribunal has found.

An investigation spanning several years also discovered Tracy Paterson posed as doctors to prescribe herself weight loss medication, and blamed her young stepdaughter after she forged training certificates to make them appear current.

The tribunal found Ms Paterson’s actions amounted to serious professional misconduct and banned her from providing any health service for 15 years.

A published judgement reveals she had “wrongly and deliberately deleted, or falsely altered, or made untrue entries” in the records of 17 patients while she was working as an enrolled nurse at Ladywood Clinic at Modbury Heights in 2014 and 2015.

Ms Paterson, who was known at the clinic as Tracy Gray, administered a child with the IPV vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio in January 2015.

She informed the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR) that the vaccine had been given, but incorrectly stated on clinic records the vaccine given was MMR for measles, mumps and rubella.

Ms Paterson administered the IPV vaccine for a second time when the child returned to the clinic weeks later, but the MMR vaccine was never injected.

The ACIR contacted the child’s parents about the vaccine months later.

When questioned about the discrepancy, Ms Paterson “falsified the records to cover up her own mistake”.

“The child’s parents would have been deceived into thinking that the child was properly immunised when that was not the case.”

A similar course of events was found to have taken place in the cases of two other children, who also had their records altered to hide the fact they had not received the MMR vaccine.

vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine in a packet
Measles vaccines were administered instead of vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus.(AP: Seth Wenig, file)

In the separate case of another child, Ms Paterson administered only half of the correct dosage of flu vaccine and again changed the patient’s records to hide the error.

After two adult patients suffered adverse reactions to immunisations, Ms Paterson altered their records to reflect that she had washed her hands before administering the vaccine and asked the patients to remain at the clinic for monitoring.

Several other patients had their records deleted or altered but Ms Paterson’s motives for doing so in those cases were not clear.

On another occasion in 2015, she deleted the entire medical records of all patients with the same surname as her ex-husband.

The clinic said it has taken steps to ensure, as far as possible, that any concerns about patient vaccines have now been followed up.

‘She cannot be trusted’

The tribunal also found Ms Paterson had posed as various medical practitioners in order to fraudulently access medication and treatment.

On four occasions in 2015, she used computers logged into by other staff to print herself prescriptions for the weight loss medication Duromine.

In May of that year, she again used the computer and log-in of a locum practitioner to create a Medicare health care plan for herself.

She validated the plan by forging the practitioner’s signature, before she underwent government-funded treatment and later deleted records of the plan.

A nurse holds a white sheet above a hospital bed in a ward.
The nurse used the log-ins of other medical staff to access medication.(ABC News: Giulio Saggin, file photo)

Ms Paterson was dismissed from her role at the clinic in August 2015, before the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) opened an investigation into the case.

She initially denied the allegations by claiming that new clinic management were “trying to get rid of staff” and the records could have been changed by someone else using her log-in.

But she wrote in a later email that she was “admitting my guilt to all the accusations” and “I truly apologise”.

It was also discovered that in 2014, before she began at the clinic, she had forged training certificates while employed as an enrolled nurse at care provider SACARE.

When questioned by authorities, Ms Paterson said her 12-year-old stepdaughter had altered old documents to make them appear current, then sent them on her behalf.

“She expressed horror that her professionalism had been questioned,” the judgement said.

In light of the misconduct, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia asked the tribunal to disqualify Ms Paterson from registering as a health professional for 10 years.

However, the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found her “grave departures” from appropriate conduct and indifference to patient care warranted a longer suspension.

“There is an overriding need to protect the public as well as the integrity of the profession.”

Ms Paterson was disqualified from applying for registration and prohibited from providing any health service for a period of 15 years.



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A Q&A with the U.K. father and son duo focusing on children during the coronavirus pandemic


As the U.K. prepared to go into nationwide lockdown this spring, Raj Bhopal, 67, an emeritus professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, decided to come out of retirement and go back to work.

His 35-year-old son Sunil, a pediatric public health doctor, chair of the International Child Health Group, and an academic at the University of Newcastle and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also saw his job shift—he was heading back into hospitals to prepare for a wave of patients infected with COVID-19.

The U.K.’s pandemic hasn’t gone like they expected. In the months since, father and son have become academic collaborators, publishing a piece on mortality rates for children as a result of the virus. They’ve also both become outspoken critics on the lack of detail in the U.K.’s lockdown and reopening strategy, arguing that it doesn’t acknowledge the impact on some of society’s most vulnerable members: children, migrants, and the homeless.

They’re now calling for a more “honest” conversation about the risks and tradeoffs of emerging from lockdown.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Fortune: What have the past several months been like for you?

Raj: I’ve been retired nearly two years. And when this happened, I thought, well, this is my field. I know a lot about epidemiology, public health, infections. So I couldn’t just keep my feet up. I usually just work one leisurely day a week, and I decided to put myself back to work.

So I’ve been pretty busy. And it’s been very stressful because it’s not just the work, it’s following the news, and the mismatch between what I would expect to be happening.

I’ve been in public health since 1983. This is my second pandemic. I was there right at the beginning of the AIDS pandemic. I remember the feelings then, and now to come back to it a second time around and watching what’s going on in the world and the sense of great unease as to how badly it’s being handled. It’s been, I think for myself, I would have to say it is very stressful. And yet I recognize that I’m one of the most privileged people around.

The nearly empty Royal Mile in Edinburgh during the coronavirus pandemic on April 17, 2020, after the U.K. went into lockdown in late March.

Raj, what was the moment when you decided, “I’ve got to start working again”?

Raj: About 10 days before the lockdown was announced in Scotland, I could see things were beginning to move. Because I’m a chess player, and our chess club locked down about 10 days before the Scottish government announced a lockdown. And the golf club also started to communicate with each other. And I realized the public was way ahead of our politicians.

[The chess club] knew I’m a public health academic doctor. So they were asking me questions, and I was answering the questions according to the official guidance I was reading in my journals. And very shortly I realized that what I was reading was wrong, and that the public was ahead of me. And then I thought: I need to get on top of this. I can’t just rely upon what I’m hearing on the news. I can’t just rely upon the summaries in the journals like the BMJ. I have to understand this disease for myself. Probably around about the 15th of March, I realized that something terrible was about to happen.

Sunil: As the pandemic transitioned here in the U.K., I was asked to come out of my academic role and out of my community-facing role where I normally see children at home, and purely work in the accident and emergency department. It was a big change for me professionally. We were are all really scared because we didn’t know what was going to happen. We thought there was a pretty reasonable possibility that our children’s accident and emergency [units] were going to be full of sick kids. We were really, really worried about it. And we can talk about how that panned out, but essentially we’ve not seen that. We’ve not seen A&Es full of really, really sick children. We’ve seen actually children not being brought to hospital, which is its own concern. We’re still trying to unpick the reasons behind that, but it’s been quite a strange period for me as a children’s doctor.

Sunil, particularly for children, as we were going into the lockdown in the U.K., what were your concerns about the other health impacts this might have?

Sunil: It was quickly apparent to those of us in the children’s sector that it was going to exacerbate problems that already existed for children—particularly children at risk of abuse and neglect, on that end of the spectrum, but actually for all children. And we know that these periods, whether it’s early life or adolescence, whatever it is, that whole period of childhood is so crucial to children’s lifelong well-being. We really don’t have the luxury of messing it up. What was worrying to me and to others was that we weren’t hearing anything about it particularly from government. I watched those political briefings here in the U.K. every day, looking for some acknowledgement of what was happening to children. Putting children away, hiding them away at home, it’s different to keeping adults away. I don’t think that was acknowledged. And I really struggled to find a sense that the government were thinking deeply and clearly about this.

Children maintain social distancing measures while waiting with parents to enter Earlham Primary School, which is part of the Eko Trust, on June 10, 2020, in London. As part of COVID-19 lockdown measures, Earlham is teaching smaller “bubbles” of students as a way to maintain social distancing.

Raj, when did you start to see that this might have an outsize impact on minority communities in the U.K.?

Raj: I taught my undergraduate and postgraduate students for 35 years in public health. We always start with the most underprivileged people first. If we can solve the problem for them, we can solve it for the whole of society, but if we solve it for the privileged people, we don’t solve it for the whole society. And my first concern was about the beggars on the streets. I had noticed a lot of beggars in the streets during the lockdown, and I wrote to our public health agency to say that we need to do something about getting the beggars off the streets, because they’re in danger themselves and also to other people. So where are they going to go? In fact, I said to a beggar, “You shouldn’t be on the streets.” And he said to me, “You tell that to our government.”

And then I thought to myself: Who’s going to be the greatest risk is going to be the undocumented migrants because they have no recourse to public funds. People don’t know where they are. They tend to work in very difficult circumstances, usually in the restaurant trade, caring for people. No one will notice or think about them. So those are the first two groups.

Then of course, I knew that ethnic large groups do tend to have varying problems. We needed to study them. I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen, but I knew that with this particular virus, and most viruses, most infections, they affect people who live in overcrowded households, overcrowded work settings, large families.

And I also was worrying about places of worship. I know for my own community—I’m a Sikh—I go to the Gurdwara. It’s busy. The men shake every single person’s hand. That’s the culture. And I also have been to mosques, and I know what it’s like to go to a church on a Sunday. So I was worrying about these sorts of places.

I wanted to get your thoughts on the recent protests.

Sunil: I think what we have to recognize is that there are all sorts of causes of inequality and hardship, and COVID is one of those. And it’s brought such huge amounts of difficulty to our country, to the globe. But it’s not the only one. And racism is another one, and it’s a really important one. And it’s really important that we continue to fight on all of these different fronts to keep things moving.

That’s part of what my argument is about children—that in the super important focus on COVID, we can’t just forget all the other things that are going on. It’s about considering things in the whole. And one of the things I learned from my dad growing up—as a child and through my career—is that you approach all problems taking a lens that is all encompassing, and that’s a real public health approach. And it’s really, really difficult to do.

Raj: [On the protests], I think the people have spoken. They have said to us very clearly, some things matter even more than health. Justice. Injustice. Racism. The way we organize our societies. These things matter more than our health. And indeed, health is not the most important thing. Even as a public health doctor, I have to admit health is not the most important thing.

[For example], I’ve been talking to my family and saying that if I was given the choice between being unemployed or getting COVID-19, and I was under 50, I’ll have COVID-19 any day, rather than being made unemployed. If I’m over 50 I don’t want to get COVID-19—I take the risk of being unemployed.

A protester holding a placard during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in London.
Rahman Hassani/SOPA Images—LightRocket via Getty Images

What do you think of the U.K. government’s reopening strategy?

Sunil: Society has to decide: What does it value? That we get the economy moving is incredibly important. So they’re going to make decisions that might seem a little bit strange to people who really are desperate to see a particular person in their life, their uncle, aunt, grandparents, whatever, you know. You see this on social media all the time: Why is the Premier League football opening, but I still can’t see so-and-so?

I think that government should be really explicit about why it’s choosing these things and allow and encourage conversations about what’s important to people. Children get missed. Young people get missed because they don’t have a voice. They struggled to raise it themselves. They’re not thinking about these groups.

I think that the crucial thing is that a variety of voices are heard—those who are voiceless or powerless. Some of those groups we’ve talked about today. The homeless, people from minority ethnic groups, children, you can go on.

Raj: I think what we all have to remember is that health and wealth are very closely intertwined. If you’re wealthy, you’re definitely healthy. If you’re poor, your health is much worse. Health and unemployment are closely interrelated.

So getting that balance right is extremely difficult. I’m so glad I’m not a politician. Easier to be a public health doctor and a public health academic at these times because our job is to supply the information or maybe supply the analysis that will help people make the decisions. Making the decisions is very difficult.

In my view, we should have acted in January. Even February was too late. Acting in March was definitely too late. But that’s okay, that’s all history now. We have to think about the future, not the past, and the retrospectoscope, as I like to call it, it’s a wonderful instrument—but it was never invented. So it’s very easy to look back with hindsight and say, We should have done that. Maybe we can learn the lessons for the future.

We’ve got to think about what do we do now. And the answer is we can’t stay in lockdown much longer, but I would like a more honest debate about the pros and cons of various things. I’d like to see the evidence. And it’s very hard to get the evidence from government. [The government’s] not intending to publish its evidence.

And I think there should be a more public debate about what’s going on. Some people will prefer to take the risk; some people prefer to take no risks. We should be giving people more of an individual choice on how to act.

Of course, we have to work collectively as a society to minimize the risk in society, but we can’t be in lockdown for a year. We can’t be in lockdown for five years. Because the idea that this is all going to go away is not right. We’re not going to get a very effective treatment that’s going to solve the problem. We’re all hoping for a vaccine, but the experience of vaccines for infections of this kind is not good. We have to be hopeful. We have to be optimistic. But we also have to be realistic.

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