In Hong Kong, we are again seeing an increase in social distancing regulations in response to the fourth wave of infections. The incidence of silent community transmission and evolving clusters makes it likely that enhanced social distancing measures will remain in place for some weeks.
Communicating risk in evolving epidemics is challenging. Uncertainty and lack of control are key factors in stress and there is a natural tendency to focus on difference, rather than consensus, when faced with opinion from experts. Hong Kong is fortunate to have world-class expertise in the management of infectious disease and particularly in the fields of epidemiology and virology.
Professor Ben Cowling is the division head of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics in the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong. OT&P interviews him to discuss the transmission of COVID-19, whether we should close schools and consider the public health dilemma of balancing the impact of a disease against the impact of the public health measures used to control the disease.
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