Providing dates for the lifting of lockdown restrictions in England could make people feel “hopeless and helpless” if not followed, said Professor Stephen Reicher.
The member of the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Conduct (SPI-B), which advises the government, said the approach needs to be “more constructive”.
He said, “If nothing happens that day, people will become hopeless and helpless. They get a feeling of ‘looking, we can do nothing” and this feeling of helplessness is very harmful psychologically.
“I think it’s far more constructive to tell people, ‘we can do this to fight infection,’ to give people something active.”
Prof. Reicher of the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of St. Andrews said things need to be done “gradually” and “carefully.”
He said, “We can’t do everything at once, so we need to think seriously about what our priorities are. And if we open everything at once, there is a risk that we will have to close everything at once.”
“It seems certain that the priority is to open schools. We need to make sure we can safely open schools before we even think about going back to the pub.”