On this page you will find the latest articles from Open University academics, as well as links to related and supporting content. This includes how to take your teaching online, content to support home schooling and resources on mental health and wellbeing.
Latest articles on coronavirus
This article explores experiences of children and young people’s death anxiety as a result of COVID-19, and the impact of the pandemic and death on staff working in care establishments, and how grief was reported in UK newspapers.Read now ❯Grief and COVID-19: Mourning what we know, who we miss and the way we say goodbye
If a bacteria from outer space was brought back to Earth, what regulations and space governance exists to ensure that this doesn't cause harm? This article explores...Read now ❯The actions of backwards contamination in light of COVID-19
The immune system has evolved to protect us against infectious agents, including viruses. Currently, with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there is great interest in exactly how the immune system protects against viruses and the development of anti-viral vaccines. This article is a general introduction to these areas.Read now ❯Vaccines for Viruses
Grief during COVID-19: supporting our colleagues to return to work and thrive following loss
Even if we have been fortunate enough not to experience loss ourselves during this pandemic, there may be colleagues who have. So, how can we support grieving colleagues during these challenging times?Read now ❯Grief during COVID-19: supporting our colleagues to return to work and thrive following loss
When Dominic Cummings broke the COVID-19 lockdown rules, how did the attempts to 'change the narrative' by Cummings and the government defy the logic of storytelling?Read now ❯The Special Adviser’s Tale, or Political Storytelling in the Time of Covid
We've all seen the government slogans 'Stay home' and 'Stay Alert' but are these effective? Dr Korina Giaxoglou explores the three main elements to the design of ‘good’ public health messaging.Read now ❯Public health communication during a pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has impacted on every area of our lives. Severine Hubscher-Davidson explores what the mental health impact of coronavirus among linguists can tell us about the mental health impact of coronavirus in society.Read now ❯The impact of COVID-19 on linguists and their mental health
Cancer researchers working at The Open University answer cancer-related questions about the new coronavirus in this series of articles...Read now ❯How does COVID-19 affect cancer treatment?
Erica Borgstrom, a medical anthropologist and lecturer at The Open University, explores why death from coronavirus is not the type of death we expect.Read now ❯How COVID-19 challenges our notion of a good death
Some individuals generate an effective immune response to COVID-19. Why? Discover the immune response to viral infection in this explainer article...Read now ❯How does the human body fight a viral infection?
Modern life can leave many of us feeling stressed out. Here Dr Mathijs Lucassen offers five tips so that you can relax.Read now ❯Five tips for relaxing during difficult times
The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our lives in different ways - but have you considered its impact on sportspeople and athletes?Read now ❯Coronavirus: How can athletes get through this period of isolation?
People have been made to isolate to delay the spread of COVID-19 but there are several risks of self-isolation to older people. This article and video offer some tips on how to combat these.Watch now ❯How to age well while self-isolating
Do models showing the spread of Covid-19 actually help us understand it better, or are they overly simplistic and potentially dangerous?Read now ❯Simplistic models for understanding Coronavirus: Helpful or harmful?
With the growing threat of the Coronavirus and the need to self-isolate, it’s vital we all take the very best care of ourselves. And this is especially important for those of us who are older or more vulnerable. The animation below gives some advice on how to keep healthy:
Help us with our research
We currently have two investigations related to COVID-19. It would be great if you could take part in this research by The Open University and the Young Foundation.
Share your experiences of Covid-19 and get a chance to see what others are doing and posting in your area.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a high temperature
- difficulty breathing
Some people get seriously ill and die from multiple organ failure, but many people infected have very mild symptoms or none at all.
What do you do if you think you have coronavirus?
You may need to isolate yourself if you have travelled to an area affected by coronavirus, or have been in close contact with an infected person.
Spending 15 minutes within 2m (6ft) of someone with the virus, or having face-to-face contact, increases your risk of contracting the disease.
Please check the NHS website for more advice on what to do.
How can you stop germs spreading?
At present, there is no vaccine for coronavirus, but there are certain things you can do to prevent infectious disease from spreading that are simple yet effective:
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or even your sleeve, when you cough or sneeze
- do not cover sneezes with your hands
- throw used tissues in the bin straight away (catch it, kill it, bin it)
- wash your hands with soap and water often – pop hand sanitiser gel in your bag for when soap and water are not available
- avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands haven't been cleaned.
Here's a handy GIF that explains how flattening the curve is crucial:
Our #FlattenTheCurve graphic is now up on @Wikipedia with proper attribution & a CC-BY-SA licence. Please share far & wide and translate it into any language you can! Details in the thread below. #Covid_19 #COVID2019 #COVID19 #coronavirus Thanks to @XTOTL & @TheSpinoffTV pic.twitter.com/BQop7yWu1Q
— Dr Siouxsie Wiles (@SiouxsieW) March 10, 2020
Coronavirus: What about mental health?
These are times of uncertainty and the relentless bad news, activity on social media and misinformation being spread can cause anxiety. These free resources can help you if you're feeling like your mental health is taking a turn for the worse.
Copyright: Temple Illuminatus
What can I do about my mental health when I don’t have the support I need?
What can you do if you're not comfortable talking about mental health issues with your peers? Dr Jonathan Leach and Dr Mathijs Lucassen set out six ways of getting the support you need.Read now ❯What can I do about my mental health when I don’t have the support I need?
Panic attacks: what they are and what to do about them is a free course that should be helpful to anyone who experiences panic or panic attacks, for their family and friends, and anyone more generally interested in mental health and mental health treatment. The course starts by exploring formal definitions of panic and panic attack. These are then contrasted with personal accounts of the experience of panic. It also presents some of the key understandings of why panic attacks happen, and provides an overview of the main ways people can get help and help themselves.Learn more ❯Panic attacks: what they are and what to do about them
What is it about new technology that is making many of us anxious and stressed? Dr Gini Harrison and Dr Mathijs Lucassen explore the top five stressors:Read now ❯Stress and anxiety in the digital age: The dark side of technology
Free courses on infectious disease
This free course, Public health approaches to infectious disease, reviews the current global burden of infectious disease, the public health strategies that are reducing the impact of some major infections and the challenges facing national and international organisations in preventing illness and death caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites.Learn more ❯Public health approaches to infectious disease
In this free course, Infection and immunity, you will be introduced to infectious diseases and to the biological agents that invade our bodies and cause them: pathogens. You will also learn about the immune system, the human body’s vital defence against pathogens. Along the way you will learn about the scientific method and how it has helped scientists understand pathogens and aid the prevention of infectious disease. But the challenge is ongoing. Pathogens are everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes. As you will see, the fight against infectious disease remains critical for global health today.Learn more ❯Infection and immunity
This free course, Influenza: A case study, explores the biology of influenza, covering a range of topics including: the virus, infection, replication, mutation, immune responses, pathology, surveillance, diagnosis and treatment.Learn more ❯Influenza: A case study
Flu claimed a number of lives as the First World War was ending. This article taken from our Timewatch series explores how devestating the influenza outbreak really was...Read now ❯What was the impact of 'Spanish flu' on the armistice?