Harnessing behavioural science in public health campaigns to maintain 'social distancing' in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: key principles

Chris Bonell, Susan Michie, Stephen Reicher, Robert West, Laura Bear, Lucy Yardley, Val Curtis, Richard Amlôt, G James Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Coronovirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), like Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), is an infection arising from a coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in recent times in terms of the global spread of infection and the resultant morbidity, mortality and burden on health systems.1 2 In the absence of a vaccine, reducing transmission of the COVID-19 virus requires rapid and extensive behaviour change to enact protective behaviours3 and ‘social distancing’ across whole populations. Although ‘social distancing’ is the current most used term, it actually refers to maintaining physical separation by reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other across whole populations.4 Social distancing applies regardless of infection status and is thus distinctive from quarantine or the isolation of those with suspected or diagnosed infection, which is also an important element of infection control.5 6
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Volume74
Issue number8
Early online date8 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

The acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.

Structured keywords

  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Covid19

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