This is the seventh issue of the weekly CHACR Take Away newsletter. In these newsletters, you will find links to the latest products by the CHACR, but also links to key reports and studies by external experts and institutions which we think you should pay attention to.
A Word From the Director Last week I mentioned the research that the CHACR has done on the Spanish Flu epidemic of a hundred years ago, and commented that it reminded us that context was one of the most important ingredients in assessing any event, and in how people and, indeed, nations react to them (the In Depth Briefing from this research can be viewed here – The Spanish Flu and the First World War). I return to the Spanish Flu this week. I have been struck, as we seem to have passed the peak of COVID-19 in the UK, how the very same voices and faces on our radios and televisions that were asking us to ask ourselves whether the government had ordered the lockdown ‘too late’ are now, those self-same people, asking us whether the government is leaving us in lockdown for ‘too long’. There is an impatience to return to as close to normality as possible. There is an eagerness (quite understandable in all of those small to medium businesses who have struggled to survive) to get the ebb and flow of normal life back on track and to get custom back across the thresholds of those small businesses. But the second big lesson to pass on from our study of the Spanish Flu was that it was not the first wave that did the real damage. Once that first wave was over (in 1918) the context still set much higher priorities for the nations who were struggling to reset a whole ‘new normal’ economically and socially after the upheavals of the First World War. Getting the economy working and re-finding a social balance were at the top of the agenda. The rush to address those issues put keeping the Spanish Flu at bay in the background. It was the subsequent (second and third) waves of the Flu in 1919 and 1920 that were so devastating. Our strategists seem to understand this. We need to remind ourselves of it. The trademark of successful emergence from COVID-19, surely, is going to be patience. Maj Gen (Ret) Dr Andrew Sharpe