Human behaviour: what scientists have learned about it from the pandemic
Ultimately, the greatest threat to controlling the pandemic is the failure of people to get tested as soon as they have symptoms, and to provide their contacts and self-isolate. Providing adequate support for isolation is critical to all of these. And so, by deprioritising the case for support, blaming the public fuels the pandemic. The government’s psychological assumptions have, in fact, squandered the greatest asset we have for dealing with a crisis: a community that is mobilised and unified in mutual aid. When an inquiry is eventually held about the UK’s response to COVID-19, it is essential that we give full attention to the psychological and behavioural dimensions of failure as much as the decisions and policies implemented. Only by exposing the way in which the government came to accept and rely upon the wrong model of human behaviour can we begin to build policies that work.