Claus Vögele joins the advisory group set up to assess COVID-related measures
How do you feel to be one of the 8 members selected for this task?
I’m very pleased and happy to represent the University of Luxembourg, but also the scientific community in this group. I am happy that science is given a voice in this group. And I must add that I’m proud that Luxembourg selected a psychologist. This is already a good start, understanding that the consequences of a pandemic are not only biological.
What will be your role?
As a psychologist, I may advise on how to communicate in the current situation. But also, to point out areas of healthcare that need special attention in the current situation. The social distancing measures are a treatment that’s been administered to the entire population and that’s been quite successful. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that it has no sides effects. I believe we have reached the moment when we need to recognize the negative side-effects of social distancing measures on economic, social and psychological well-being. The government intends to evaluate these effects, so I also see my contribution in providing advice on a systematic approach to such an assessment.
It’s been a month now that the confinement started, do you think Luxembourg did well?
I think Luxembourg responded comparatively fast to the needs presented by this pandemic. Take the hotlines for example. One needs to make sure there are enough qualified colleagues to answer calls, but one also needs to ensure a sufficient level of professionalism in the interest of quality assurance. Not only did they manage to set it up, but also to align this across the country.
What should we expect?
A very slow return to a world that will not just be the same as before the pandemic. We will need to adjust to this new “normality”. This may feel uncomfortable right now, because we aren’t sure of what is coming next. And uncertainties trigger anxiety. But it can – and I hope it will- be an opportunity to bring some positives changes to our lives. Maybe this health crisis showed us that we need to work hand in hand, to find solutions and agree in difficult times.
If there is one thing we should all remember…
We all have been supporting each other, staying in contact through technology. If we enjoyed it, well we should just remember that we can keep doing it afterwards.