The City community join international efforts against Covid-19, including health and social care, volunteering and community support and expert comment and insight.

Published (Updated )

From training schemes designed for those on the NHS front line, to expert comment in the media advising the public, to voluntary services set up by students; the City community continues to play an important part in the international effort against Covid-19.

Professor Zoe Radnor, Vice-President (Strategy and Planning; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) said:

"City has a long history of civic engagement, dating back to our founding principles in 1894. The commitment this year has been even stronger than ever; as universities, governing bodies, local and national institutions and members of the public have joined together to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic."

"We are very proud of how staff and students from across City continue to use their strengths, expertise and initiative to support these efforts. From staff and students taking up placements in the healthcare workforce, to volunteers preparing healthy meals for NHS workers, to academics providing expert advice to Government and the media. Thank you to all those who are making such a valuable contribution."

City's efforts against Covid-19

Highlights of City's efforts against the coronavirus pandemic have been grouped into the following themes: Health and social care; Volunteering and community support; and Academic comment and insight.

Health and social care

Student nurses and midwives show strength in support of NHS

Hundreds of nursing and midwifery students from City, University of London, in their final or second year of study, have elected to undertake extended clinical placements within the NHS.

City professor supports training for nurses at ‘NHS Nightingale Hospital’

Leanne Aitken, Professor of Critical Care at City, University of London is supporting the education and training efforts of nurses at the newly developed ‘NHS Nightingale Hospital’ in East London.

City professor writes joint letters to Government calling for improvements to our food supply chain planning

Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City, wrote to the Prime Minister with fellow experts to share their recommendations, including health-based rationing of food scheme. They followed up with a letter to George Eustace, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive, Public Health England, urging better informed food supply chain planning in light of the crisis. The letters have received widespread coverage in the national press.

Midwifery Unit Network publish position statement

The network’s position statement sets out how midwifery units can make a positive contribution when NHS maternity services are stretched to the limit by the effects of the ongoing crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Midwifery Unit Network is led by Dr Lucia Rocca Ihenacho at the School of Health and Psychological Sciences, who has also co-authored an article in the Global Journal of Health Science, in collaboration with Cristina Alonso , Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, entitled, Where do women birth during a pandemic? Changing perspectives on Safe Motherhood during the COVID-19 pandemic.

My Home Life video series to support Care Home Managers

Based at City, the My Home Life project is delivering a series of weekly YouTube videos to provide support and guidance to Care Home Managers during the current Covid-19 pandemic. Presented by Senior Development Officer at My Home Life, Jennifer Lindfield.

Review of the symptoms of Covid-19 with University of Oxford

Melina Michelen, and Dr Charitini Stavropoulou, School of Health & Psychological Sciences, have co-authored a non-peer-reviewed review of the symptoms of Covid-19 in collaboration with the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford, entitled: In patients of Covid-19, what are the symptoms and clinical features of mild and moderate cases?

City academic conducting research into domestic abuse cases in lockdown

Dr Katrin Hohl, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at City, is leading on a project informing police approach to the apparent surge in domestic violence and abuse triggered by lockdown in the UK.

Domestic homicides have increased by 50% since the start of lockdown, and domestic abuse charities have reported dramatic rise in calls for help.

The project has received a £178,000 UKRI Covid-19 priority research grant. Starting in June 2020 and running until May 2021, it will be the largest and most rigorous analysis of police domestic abuse case file data conducted anywhere in the world.

Volunteering and community support

Supplying, distributing and campaigning for vital PPE

Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics donates 1000 facemasks to City
Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA) has donated 1,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) face-masks to City’s health sciences students volunteering and serving at the NHS Nightingale Hospital.

City alum helps to distribute 6.5 million pieces of PPE to frontline workers

After contracting and recovering from the virus himself, City alum Dries Jennen (MBA, 2017) sought to help those who come into daily contact with Covid-19. Together with other entrepreneurs, Dries organised the purchase and delivery of 6.5 million articles of protective equipment such as masks, respirators, gowns and gloves to be distributed to hospitals, care homes, schools and charities throughout Germany and Belgium.

City Business School alumnus uses printing start-up to design and donate face shields in the UAE

City Business School alumnus Julian Callanan (Executive MBA in Dubai, 2015) and his 3D technology printing start-up, Sinterex, has been designing and donating face shields to healthcare workers in the United Arab Emirates. So far Sinterex has donated over 1000 face shields to hospitals across the UAE.

Printing face shields at home

Paulo Leal, Network Team Leader in City’s IT department, has been 3D-printing face shield frames at home as part of the volunteer group, 3D Crowd. Paulo prints 10 frames a day before arranging a collection where the shields are finished and distributed to hospitals and clinics – and has now supplied over 200 to NHS staff.

Campaigning for PPE that allow Sikh and Muslim workers to retain their dignity

Rohit Sagoo, Lecturer in Children’s Nursing at City and founder of British Sikh Nurses, has been campaigning for PPE that puts patient care and safety first but still allows Sikh and Muslim workers to retain their dignity and respects the tenets of their religions.
Writing for Metro, he comments:

“We need to take pride in our BAME nurses. They make up a huge number of the workforce and a lot of them have lost their lives after leaving their homes and countries to come here, put their all in and take care of the British public.”

Business Resilience Fund for City start-ups
The City Ventures Team, Research and Enterprise Team and Santander Universities UK have set up the Business Resilience Fund to safeguard City start-ups.

The fund provides grants of up to £5,000 for City Start-ups to pivot, develop strategies, products, and resources that help companies to adapt and lay the foundations to withstand periods of instability and uncertainty.

City research associate helps keep NHS staff fed
Miodrag Vidakovic, Research Associate at City, has been cooking healthy, fresh meals for medical staff at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust.

Along with 200 other volunteers, Miodrag has been cooking meals for UCLH staff as part of an initiative called Furloughed Foodies, where each volunteer donates money towards ingredients and arranges deliveries to local NHS trusts. The initiative has been featured in The I.

City Library Science students set up food bank for vulnerable Londoners
City Library Science postgraduate students have teamed up with Age UK to create a temporary emergency food bank for vulnerable citizens in the City of London.

Promoting a ‘kindness contagion’ through comics
Dr Ernesto Priego, a Human-Computer Interaction Design Lecturer at City, has co-designed a comic titled Community Matters: Please Be Kind, in response to a Covid-19 accessibility appeal.

The project, which is based on the individual experiences of a blind person, was prompted by the Royal National Institute for Blind People’s #InfoForAll inclusion campaign, as well as calls from the United Nations for visual outputs promoting a ‘kindness contagion’.

Providing support from home for people with communication impairment Sally McVicker, Research Associate in City’s School of Health & Psychological Sciences, has facilitated a virtual service to support members of the charity she coordinates, Aphasia Re-Connect. Sally has recruited approximately 70 language and communication science student volunteers from City and University College London, to become ‘conversation buddies’, supporting people with communication disability.

The volunteer buddies provide weekly contact to the members, many of who are currently isolated at home, either by phone, email or video call.

Widening Participation team support young people impacted by digital poverty
City, University of London’s Widening Participation (WP) team has been finding new ways to support families and young people in the community with little or no access to technology or the internet.

The team has developed resource packs for Key Stages 1-3 to be distributed via community groups and schools, including workbooks and stationery. The packs were prepared and delivered to schools, food banks and women’s refuges in the community, with hugely positive responses.

City’s academics provide expert comment and insight

To help inform policy makers, media and the public, academics from City, University of London have offered expert comment and advice, based on their research, into mitigating the spread of Covid-19 and the domestic and international response to the pandemic.

As parts of the world begin to ease out of lock-down, City's academics are also conducting vital research to support economic and social recovery, as well as insight into the long-term impacts of Covid-19.

Mitigation and response

The impact of coronavirus compared to other diseases
Dr Mark Honigsbaum, Lecturer in Journalism and author of The Pandemic Century, has featured in multiple stories discussing the impact of coronavirus compared to other diseases, in Russia Today and Aljazeera.

Dr Hoigsbaum was also featured in The Telegraph discussing how leaders like Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, have contracted coronavirus and an Express story discussing the pandemic and the Royal Family. Dr Hoigsbaum also discusses facts, figures and projections in his new Covid-19 podcast.

"We must act before coronavirus sinks the press as we know it"
Professor Jane Martinson calls on the government, tech giants to do more to support the media industry in her column in, The Guardian.

Cyber security threats in the move to home-working
Professor Muttukrishnan Rajarajan, The Director of City’s Institute for Cyber Security, outlines a few areas of concern and focus as the Covid-19 crisis sees a shift to home-working, featured in international press including, Tabularasa and Autocad.

Pooling ICU facilities to improve care for Covid-19 patients
Dr Navid Izady, an operations research expert at Cass Business School has developed a model which pools intensive care unit (ICU) facilities to improve care for Covid-19 patients.

The model identifies the optimal subset of NHS trusts whose ICU capacity should be dedicated to Covid-19 patients so as to maximise the coverage of current virus hotspots, subject to moving non-Covid-19 patients no further than a certain distance away from their existing facilities.

Drug companies should drop their patents and collaborate to fight coronavirus
Dr Enrico Bonadio, Reader in Intellectual Property Law, City Law School and Dr Andrea Baldini, Associate Professor of Aesthetics and Art Theory, Nanjing University, call for companies to waive any proprietary rights they may have in order to facilitate the dissemination of drugs and devices that are useful in the fight against Covid-19.

Understanding China’s Healthcare System
Dr Yaru Chen, Centre for Healthcare Innovation Research (CHIR) spoke to the BBC World Service on the current state of the healthcare system in China within the context of the coronavirus outbreak.

The psychological effects of social isolation
Dr Andreas Kappes, Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology has spoken live with Al Jazeera English about Covid-19, including on its ‘The Stream’ show, and Inside Story, programme, discussing mental health, and public messaging during the crisis.

Dr Kappes also spoke on Talk Radio’s Matthew Wright Show about the psychological effects of social isolation during the crisis.

Covid-19 information overload leading to unhelpful choices
Two City professors say the coronavirus pandemic has given rise to a relentless flood of information which leads people to pick out the bizarre and sensational.

The TMI (too much information) effect has led to the danger of information overload - a phenomenon studied for over twenty years by Professor David Bawden and Dr Lyn Robinson of City, University of London’s Department of Library and Information Science. Featured in News Medical Life Sciences and Phys Org.

Why we should be sceptical about the benevolence of billionaires
Dr David Blunt, Lecturer, Department of International Politics on why we should be sceptical about philanthropic billionaires. For The Conversation.

Biggest companies pay the least tax, leaving society more vulnerable to pandemic
Dr Sandy Hager, Senior Lecturer, Department of International Politics’ wrote for The Conversation on the very largest companies paying the least tax and why this is a problem during a pandemic.

Covering Covid-19 raises ethical considerations for journalists
Dr Zahera Harb, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Journalism, interviewed for the Ethical Journalism Network’s podcast.

City academics awarded funding to improve Covid-19 epidemiology models
City Emeritus Professors Bev Littlewood and Martin Newby have been awarded funding from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), as part of a team of senior scientists who will be improving the software engineering quality of epidemiology models.

Epidemic modelling has informed global public health policy in managing the Covid-19 pandemic, by assessing strategies such as lockdown, mask-wearing, track-and-tracing, and the use of apps.

Economic and social recovery

Professor Paula Jarzabkowski awarded UKRI grant for project to support post-pandemic recovery
Paula Jarzabkowski, Professor of Strategic Management at City, University of London’s Business School, has been awarded a prestigious Covid-19 grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), for a new project to support the UK’s economic response and recovery from the pandemic.

The research, which will also be conducted with Birkbeck, University of London, will work with industry partners to develop a business interruption risk-sharing mechanism, evaluate and build upon current post-lockdown products being generated by insurers and develop new solutions.

City academic conducting research into domestic abuse cases in lockdown
Dr Katrin Hohl, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at City, is leading on a project informing police approach to the apparent surge in domestic violence and abuse triggered by lockdown in the UK.

Domestic homicides have increased by 50% since the start of lockdown, and domestic abuse charities have reported dramatic rise in calls for help.

The project has received a £178,000 UKRI Covid-19 priority research grant. Starting in June 2020 and running until May 2021, it will be the largest and most rigorous analysis of police domestic abuse case file data conducted anywhere in the world.

Reworking our economy for a post-coronavirus society
City, University of London’s Professor Richard Murphy, together with Caroline Lucas MP, comment in The Guardian on the need for all political parties to support green initiatives.

Academics call for NHS Covid-19 risk calculator to help workplaces understand employee risk level
A new policy paper co-authored by City, University of London’s Business School academics has called for the creation of an NHS-owned Covid-19 Risk Calculator to inform employers about individual employee risk factors.

Why we need an NHS “COVID-19 Risk Calculator”, co-authored by Dr Amanda Goodall, Associate Professor of Management and Professor Caroline Wiertz, Professor of Marketing and Associate Dean for Entrepreneurship at City’s Business School, urges the formation of the calculator to inform safe organisational return to work policies.

Free coaching and resources to doctors and medical leaders
A Medical Leaders Network has been established to offer free professional coaching and further resources for doctors in the battle against coronavirus. The network, grown from students and graduates of the Executive Master’s in Medical Leadership (EMML) at City’s Business School, provides online articles, helpful tips and a networking space for doctors seeking useful information.

Centre for Charity Effectiveness delivers support programme for British Land charity partners
The Business School’s Centre for Charity Effectiveness (CCE) has partnered with property manager British Land to deliver a programme of support for its network of charity partners. The Centre provides mentoring and coaching to managers at British Land’s charity and community partners, helping them explore ways of tackling the challenges as well as providing online group action learning sessions to support those leading and delivering vital services.

Assessing the long-term impacts of Covid-19

How coronavirus will change the face of general practice forever
Department of Journalism Visiting Professor, Jacqui Thornton wrote for the BMJ on how GPs say that the coronavirus pandemic will change the way they work forever.

Will coronavirus be the turning point for globalisation?
Professor Steve Schifferes, a former Department of Journalism academic and now a Department of International Politics Honorary Research Fellow, wrote for The Conversation discussing the lasting effects that coronavirus may have on the world and globalisation.

How coronavirus is threatening the equal access principle at the core of the NHS
Dr Sabrina Germain, Senior Lecturer in The City Law School, features in The Conversation, discussing how a return to the principles of equality and universality of care that informed the NHS 70 years ago could be impossible.

The impact of Covid-19 on UK mental health
Sally McManus, Senior Lecturer in Health at City, has co-authored a study that suggests there was a substantial decline in UK mental health after the first month of the Covid-19 lockdown.

In a survey of UK households during late April, over a quarter of study participants reported a level of mental distress that is potentially clinically significant (27.3%), compared with one in five people before the pandemic. The findings also revealed new mental health inequalities, with people living with pre-school children showing greater increases in mental distress than people from child-free homes.