Shaping the COVID Decade: Addressing the long-term societal impacts of COVID-19

The British Academy: COVID-19 policy responses (23.03.21)

In September 2020, the British Academy was asked by the Government Office for Science to produce an independent review to address the question: What are the long-term societal impacts of COVID-19? This short but substantial question led us to a rapid integration of evidence and an extensive consultation process. As history has shown us, the effects of a pandemic are as much social, cultural and economic as they are about medicine and health. Our aim has been to deliver an integrated view across these areas to start understanding the long-term impacts and how we address them.

In order to consider how to look to the future and shape the COVID decade, we suggest seven strategic goals for policymakers to pursue: build multi-level governance; improve knowledge, data and information linkage and sharing; prioritise digital infrastructure; reimagine urban spaces; create an agile education and training system; strengthen community-led social infrastructure; and promote a shared social purpose. These strategic goals are based on our evidence review and our analysis of the nine areas of long-term societal impact identified. We provide a range of illustrative policy opportunities for consideration in each of these areas in the report that follows.