Public health

Why are councils blocking parkrun?

There are few public health interventions as successful as parkrun. It wasn’t set up as a public health intervention, which may be one of the reasons it has worked so beautifully. The first one was just a group of friends doing a 5k time trial in London’s Bushy Park. But in the years since that first event in 2004, parkrun has spread across the world. It went from being a largely middle-class event for people who already considered themselves runners to being a part of many communities, deliberately expanding into deprived areas and trying to get a slower average time for participants completing the course, because that meant it wasn’t

I removed my mask and all hell broke loose

The girl in the posh soap shop put her right arm out, palm flat in my face, and shouted: ‘Stand back! Step away from me now if you are going to remove your mask!’ I had been advancing on the Vetiver handwash, having failed to make myself clear through my mask to the assistant in her mask that this was what I wanted to buy and, being prevented from picking it up myself as the shop had a no-touch policy, I was driven to the brink of lawlessness. ‘Vetiver!’ I had begun pleading through my face mask as the girl lifted the wrong product off the shelves, over and over

Are public health cuts to blame for the UK’s pandemic response?

As we begin to learn best practice in the fight against Covid-19, it is notable that the handful of countries that have reduced the number of new cases to zero have used diagnostic testing and contact tracing on a large scale and have recommended the use of face masks. After two frantic months, the UK has just about got a handle on testing, but its embryonic contact tracing app has the hallmarks of every government IT fiasco, and there are barely has enough face masks for health workers, let alone the general public. No country can prepare perfectly for a new viral pandemic, but Britain’s public health system has fallen