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Understanding COVID-19. Report of the COVID-19 Advisory Team at the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences

A report delivered by a team of scientists, working under the supervision of Prof. Jerzy Duszyński, president of the Academy, presents the current state of knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 virus, COVID-19 disease and its medical, psychological, economic and social impacts. In an accessible manner, this document provides forecasts of the COVID-19 epidemic for the upcoming winter season and recommendations for citizens and institutions. 


The publication includes information about the course of the disease and treatment, phases of pandemic development and its implications for human health. The study provides verified information on prevention and presents current works on coronavirus vaccines. Among other topics covered are preparations for winter COVID-19 peak, including the opening of educational institutions, and the risk of co-infection.

Attitudes towards the epidemic

Thousands of scientific articles have been published on a novel coronavirus. By September 7, COVID-19 literature has reached  more than 55,000 papers. To this must be added tens of thousands of press releases or millions of mentions across social media. Too much of information, often contradictory, not only can be confusing,  but  can  also  promote  the change in attitude and behavior, which in turn can endanger public health. Therefore, it is extremely important to share the report that organizes this knowledge.

"Irrational attitudes (...) are a great obstacle in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. In order to combat the epidemicall our actions must be rationalBy publishing this report, we want to  put the  public  discourse  back on the right track" – emphasize the scientists led by Prof. Jerzy Duszyński.

Scenarios for fall and winter

The COVID-19 Advisory Team presents scenarios for the COVID-19 epidemic in the fall and winter season. Scientists warn that if we won’t succeed in convincing Poles of the need to follow strictly recommendations (in particular, wearing masks and physical distancing), another lockdown might be necessary to stop the pandemic. “The costs of this solution will be enormous, both for citizens and the state. Therefore, everything possible should be done so that we can limit ourselves to adhering to the sanitary and hygienic recommendations announced by the relevant state services,” the report reads. 

The authors of the report "Understanding COVID-19" are members of the interdisciplinary COVID-19 Advisory Team at the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The team consists of eight experts: Aneta Afelt – PhD, geographer, Anna Ochab-Marcinek – PhD, DSc, theoretical physicist, Prof. Radosław Owczuk – specialist in anaesthesiology and intensive care, Prof. Krzysztof Pyrć – specialist in microbiology and virology, Magdalena Rosińska – MD, PhD, DSc, physician and biostatistician, Prof. Andrzej Rychard – sociologist, Tomasz Smiatacz – MD, PhD, DSc, physician. Prof. Jerzy Duszyński chairs the team. The team was supported by two invited experts, including Prof. Anna Giza-Poleszczuk and Prof. Małgorzata Kossowska, each of whom contributed to a different section – "Society in a pandemic" and "Psychological impacts of COVID-19", respectively. 


Contact for media:
Communications and Science Promotion Department
Polish Academy of Sciences