During August the Councillors were made aware that the BBC had chosen Haslemere to take part in an experiment. On the 100th anniversary of the influenza outbreak that killed millions after the First World War in 1918, scientists are to research the spread of a [theoretical] highly-contageous disease. In conjunction with Cambridge University and the London School of Tropical Medicine, 360 Production have been commissioned by the BBC to make a TV programme exploring the impact of a pandemic on a small town. 360 Production say:
There are flu outbreaks every year, but three times in the last 100 years there’s been a pandemic of a particularly deadly flu. The key to the Government’s response plan are mathematical models which simulate how a highly contagious disease may spread. These models help decide how best to direct NHS resources like vaccines and protective clothing, but the models are only as good as the data that goes into them.
People in Haslemere will be asked to download a special free Haslemere app from either Google Play or Apple’s App Store. This will allow their SmartPhone or iPhone to anonymously record the user’s movements over a 72-hour period using the in-built GPS technology. It’s hoped that all of the information gathered here in Haslemere can help scientists and mathematicians map the spread of an imaginary virus around the UK. Once the data is collated, the BBC programme will be broadcast in 2018. The Haslemere app will be available from 27th September 2017.
The more people that join in – the more accurate the results. And citizens of all ages are being encouraged to participate, to provide the best data possible. Haslemere Council is getting behind the idea, so if you see any TV cameras around the town during the Autumn, you’ll know what’s happening!