By MDI staff
Last February felt as if the world was shutting down. Europe certainly was. COVID-19 was already taken its toll with thousands of deaths throughout the continent. The pandemic took its toll in the global and European society. Over 1 million people have died from the virus globally while over 56.9 million people have been found positive.
The impacts of COVID-19 are beyond physical implications. The disruption of ‘normality’ has affected people’s well-being, mental health, education, income as well as in some case political stability. Those who have been most affected are vulnerable people who had already been living in precarious conditions.
In Europe, the impact of the pandemic was significantly varied with member states of the EU imposing varied measures that affected people differently. While recent news of a vaccine was welcome, the impact of the pandemic as well as the measures that were imposed because of it will have a wider impact on people.
To assess this impact, five universities, six practitioner and research organisations and four industry and SMEs from the medical and security sector joined forces and created COVINFORM.
Funded by the European Commission’s HORIZON 2020, COVINFORM aims to assess the unequal impact of COVID-19 measures in member states of the EU and the way they affect vulnerable communities. Through multidisciplinary and intersectional research COVINFORM “will develop solutions, guidelines and recommendations to ensure that the needs of vulnerable and marginalised groups are appropriately considered in potential further waves of COVID-19 and future pandemics.”
There is no doubt that the media played a large role on the way the pandemic as well as the pandemic was presented to the public. For this reason, the Media Diversity Institute, which is part of the COVINFORM consortium, will be offering training and consultation on how to fight fake news and disinformation and misinformation. It will also provide input on the development of communication strategies and tools that will address communication behaviour change.
As the world waits impatiently the release of a reliable vaccine misinformation soars the media. Projects such as COVINFORM will be able to provide reliable information, tools, and research on COVID-19 impact on those most vulnerable in the society.
Image credits: Prachatai / Flickr