Carl Heneghan and Tom Jefferson

Carl Heneghan is professor of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford. Dr Tom Jefferson is a Clinical epidemiologist
and Senior Associate Tutor at the University of Oxford.

Do mask mandates work?

This week there was an update to a Cochrane review, which studies the way physical interventions can interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. The review, which Tom Jefferson is the lead author of, looks at evidence from 78 randomised trials with over 610,000 participants. In other words, this review is exactly the sort of higher-quality evidence

The UK isn’t learning the right lessons from lockdown

This month, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care published a Technical Report on the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.  The report is a long 11-chapter document describing the UK’s response and pointing out suggestions for dealing with future pandemics.   The report is described as ‘independent’, but the authors are public health civil servants and

What Covid coverage gets wrong

Throughout the Covid pandemic, the BBC’s coverage has strictly followed what is now known as ‘official science’ – with journalists not asking questions, but just reporting what they are told. This has especially been the case when it comes to ignorance of existing research on respiratory viruses. This week saw the BBC report on the

How much do face masks actually help?

The increasingly polarised and politicised views on whether to wear masks in public during the current Covid-19 crisis hides a bitter truth on the state of contemporary research and the value we pose on clinical evidence to guide our decisions. In 2010, at the end of the last influenza pandemic, there were six published randomised

The dire effects of Italy’s coronavirus lockdown

Locking down Britain sooner would have saved thousands of lives, according to Neil Ferguson. But while Ferguson’s claims have been rightly contested – and the merits of shutting down Britain, particularly in view of today’s woeful GDP figures – remain debatable, one thing is very clear: lockdown is having a dreadful effect on the lives