Covid Matters

Conversations with experts about COVID-19

Latest episode

  • How charity Fifth Sense is offering Long Covid guidance, support, and hope for those with post-viral smell and taste loss

    In the latest episode of our Covid Matters podcast, we spoke to Duncan Boak; founder and CEO of the smell and taste disorder charity Fifth Sense. We learned from Duncan how Fifth Sense is helping people whose sense of smell and/or taste has changed since having Covid-19. He also provided insights into the charity’s background and wider work, and explained some of the science of how a virus affects odour detection.Duncan shared his own story of losing his sense of smell following an accident where he sustained a head injury. Although it’s known that physical trauma to the head can damage smell or taste sensation, Duncan found that health professionals lacked knowledge about his condition, or about any treatment options that there were. He also found some people to be dismissive of his loss, downplaying the impact that it had upon various aspects of his life. His journey led to him setting up Fifth Sense in 2012, with the aim to provide support and advice for those affected by an absent – or reduced – sense of smell, and to educate people about the reality of living with those changes.In the podcast, Duncan highlights some of these challenges, learned from his own lived experiences as well as from the Fifth Sense community that he has helped to bring together. For example, losing what is, as Duncan points out, “one of the five ways in which we connect with the world around us” can reduce peoples’ enjoyment of food and drink, resulting in them eating less and consequently losing weight. This, in turn, can lead to inadequate nutrition. A changed relationship with food can impact mental health and social eating, and if a food or drink that brought particular pleasure now tastes unappetising, a grief process may be triggered. The lack of awareness of, and empathy for, the effects of not being able to smell can mean that those affected suffer in silence, feeling isolated and alone. For those with Long Covid, there are typically other symptoms that they are also having to contend with.Find tailored resources from Fifth Sense for this episode and more information here

More episodes

View all episodes

  • How These Four Walls reveals the scale and impact of Covid-19 Grief and Bereavement

    In the latest Covid Matters podcast, covid:aid discussed the short film These Four Walls, which presented stories around grief and bereavement during the Covid pandemic. We were joined on the podcast by Ellie Harrison, the writer and director of These Four Walls, as well as the film’s principal investigators: Dr Lucy Selman from the University of Bristol, and Dr Emily Harrop from Cardiff University. Both Lucy and Emily are social scientists by background and work in palliative care with a particular interest in grief and bereavement. Lucy is also the founding director of the Good Grief Festival, which hosts free talks, webinars, workshops and other events that provide space for conversations around bereavement and loss, as well as building a supportive grief community. Ellie is an artist and activist whose work includes The Grief Series: a sequence of seven projects that present and explore ideas around grief, each one produced in collaboration with another artist as well as with community engagement. This project, the Good Grief Festival, and These Four Walls all aim to create safe and welcoming spaces for the stories and feelings that people have around loss and bereavement to be heard in. In the podcast, Ellie talks about the need that she feels there is for people to be able to do this in a way that validates, normalises, and offers comfort to peoples’ grief journeys. You can watch These Four Walls here.The Good Grief Festival website has other resources, articles, and news about courses and events on its journal page.Covid:aid has a dedicated grief and bereavement section on its website, as well as a Grief Chat option if you’re needing advice and support.Cruse is a charity that has been providing support and information around bereavement for over 60 years. They also have a free helpline available seven days a week.You may also find these resources from Mind, and this NHS page useful if you, or someone you know, have experienced a bereavement.
  • Speaking to Mind: the effects of Covid-19 on Mental Health, and how to deal with anxiety, loneliness, and other issues

    Covid Aid spoke to Kerry McLeod, Head of Information Content, and Amy-Louise Murray, Information Officer at Mind, to find out more about the mental health charity, before answering questions from the Covid Aid Support Community around anxiety, loneliness, and coping with the persistent effects of Long Covid. Links from MindAnxiety and panic attacks – Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and familyBereavement - Provides information on bereavement, where to go for support, and suggestions for helping yourself and others through griefCoronavirus and mental health - The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is affecting all our lives. Many of us are struggling with how it's affecting ourselves and our loved ones. Those of us living with mental health problems are facing extra challenges too. Here you'll find reliable information and tips to help you copeDepression - Information about depression, its symptoms and possible causes, and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips on caring for yourself, and guidance for friends and familySeeking help for a mental health problem – A guide to taking the first steps, making empowered decisions and getting the right support for youMind's support servicesMind’s Infoline: 0300 123 3393Email: Mind Infoline, PO Box 75225, London, E15 9FSMind's Infoline provides an information and signposting service, and is open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).You can ask about:mental health problemswhere to get help near youtreatment optionsadvocacy servicesLegal line: 0300 466 6463Email: ~Post: Mind Legal line, PO Box 75225, London, E15 9FSMind's Legal line provides legal information and general advice on mental health related law. It's open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays)Ask about:being detained under the Mental Health Act (sectioning)mental capacitycommunity carediscrimination and equality.Side by SideSide by Side is a supportive online community
  • 25. Women's Budget Group: Calling for a care-led Covid recovery

    In this episode of Covid Matters, we speak to Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director of the Women's Budget Group. We invited Mary-Ann onto the podcast to discuss how gender-based financial inequalities were exacerbated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and what that means for Covid recovery in the UK.The Women's Budget Group is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that monitors the impact of government policies on men and women. They comprise a network of leading academic researchers, policy experts and campaigners whose vision is of a caring economy that promotes equality.-----------------Follow Dr Mary-Ann on Twitter @maryanncv8Visit the Women's Budget Group website at or on Twitter @WomensBudgetGrpYou can find us on social media @covidaidcharity or by visiting our website: where you can also join our free Covid-19 Support Community to take part in Live Q&A events, access our online Courses or connect with others across the UK dealing with the lasting impacts of Covid-19.
  • 24. Economy 2030 Inquiry: Long-term Impacts of the Pandemic on the UK Labour Market

    In this episode of Covid Matters, we speak to Daniel Tomlinson, a Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, currently working on the Economy 2030 Inquiry. We invited Dan onto the podcast to discuss a report published in November 2021 by the Resolution Foundation which looks at the permanent implications of Covid-19 for the UK’s labour market. We talk about changes to our working behaviours observed as a result of the pandemic and how these might affect smaller businesses; how to support people out of work due to Long Covid and; what a successful policy for the job market in the year ahead should look like.The Resolution Foundation is an independent think-tank focused on improving living standards for those on low to middle incomes by looking at a wide range of economic and social policies. As part of an ongoing project - The Economy 2030 Inquiry - they will be examining this current decade of economic change in the UK, brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and the transition towards a Net Zero future, and will set out plans to help successfully navigate this change. The Inquiry is a collaboration between the Resolution Foundation and the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. It is funded by the Nuffield Foundation.-----------------Follow Dan on Twitter @dan_tomlinson_ or The Resolution Foundation @resfoundation. Visit the Resolution Foundation website at or find out more about the Economy 2030 Inquiry.The Begin Again? report discussed in this episode can be read here.You can find us on social media @covidaidcharity or by visiting our website: where you can also join our free Covid-19 Support Community to take part in upcoming Live Q&A events, access our online Courses or connect with others across the UK dealing with the lasting impacts of Covid-19.
  • 23. How to speak to loved ones about loss, grief and bereavement?

    In this episode of Covid Matters, we speak to Dee Holmes from Relate – the UK's largest provider of relationship support – about how and why people should speak to loved ones about loss, grief, and bereavement experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.Dee is a qualified couple, family, children and young person’s counsellor and supervisor, currently working as part of the Clinical Management Team at Relate. We invited Dee onto the podcast as part of a special Q&A event hosted on our free Covid-19 Support Community. -----------------Watch the YouTube video recording of this episode here: Dee on Twitter @deeholme or visit the Relate website at for more relationship support.Join our free Covid-19 Support Community to take part in upcoming Live Q&A events, access our online Courses or connect with others across the UK dealing with the lasting impact of Covid-19.Find us on social media @covidaidcharity or by visiting our website:
  • 22. #TeamHalo: The Answers You Need to Combat Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation

    In this episode of Covid Matters, we speak to Dr Bnar Talabani MBE, an Immunology Scientist at Cardiff University and member of #TeamHalo and Muslim Doctors Cymru (MDC). #TeamHalo is United Nations-verified initiative involving a global group of science and healthcare professionals working to address Covid-19 vaccine concerns and misinformation with the ultimate goal to bring an end to the pandemic. Dr Talabani joined the group in April 2020.We invited Dr Talabani onto a live Q&A event, hosted alongside Parents United (a UK campaign group for Covid-safe schools), on our Support Community platform to give our audience the chance to raise their concerns around Covid vaccine safety. -------------------Watch the YouTube video recording of this episode here: Follow Dr Bnar Talabani MBE on social media @bnar to stay informed or visit for more information and explore experts in different countries. Join our free Covid-19 Support Community to take part in upcoming Live Q&A events, access our online Courses or connect with others across the UK dealing with the lasting impact of Covid-19. Find us on social media @covidaidcharity or by visiting our website: