The Turing Podcast: COVID-19 lockdowns - which policies worked best?

Wednesday 12 May 2021

In the latest episode of The Turing Podcast, our hosts Ed Chalstrey and Bea Costa Gomes are joined by Sören Mindermann and Mrinank Sharma – both PhD students at the University of Oxford. The episode focuses on their research on inferring the effectiveness of different government interventions against COVID-19, during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020.  

Their work considers non-pharmaceutical interventions in 41 countries ranging from Mexico to Singapore to New Zealand. Interventions studied included: limiting gatherings to fewer than 10 people; closing high-exposure businesses; and closing schools and universities. Listen to the episode to find out which they found to be most effective. 

Podcast guest Mrinank Sharma, said: 

“If we know that in March or April (2020) there was a lot of transmission going on at schools and universities it means that now we have to put a lot of extra effort into making sure we can make schools as safe as possible. So these results can inform what parts of life have to be restructured to cope with the pandemic.”  


Mrinank works as part of Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute, whilst Sören is a member of Oxford Applied and Theoretical Machine Learning Group. You can find the research article for this work online at Science Magazine.  

Listen to the podcast here, or subscribe via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Podbay, Podbean, iHeartRadio or Listen Notes.