COVID-19: What is public health?

December 22, 2020

Months seem to have flown by for the Potato People, still in Potatoes for Peace HQ in London, they have missed meeting students and teachers in schools this year. While they have spent time reminiscing about their past adventures in schools, they have also taken on the task of trying to understand more about COVID-19.

Over the last few months, they had heard people talk about public health, but wondered what exactly that meant. Angela and John potato, enthusiastically decided to hit the books and learn more but gradually found the literature too technical, stopped and retreated back to their couch feeling glum.  

“Instead, perhaps we should speak to Professor Ashton,” suggested John Potato. 

Professor Ashton is a doctor, author and was previously a regional director of public health in the UK.

John Potato eagerly unearthed the Professor’s number and promptly gave him a call. Fortunately, Ashton was happy to hear from Potato John and answer his questions. 

“What is public health?”, asked Potato John.

“Public health is when we keep everybody fit and healthy, so they don’t need to go to the doctor. That’s everybody – not everyone who is sick”, states Ashton, succinctly.

Adding further:

“Public health is important as it’s always better to prevent disease or illnesses. If we are well, we can enjoy life better and can fulfil our dreams. So, preventing COVID-19 is important as it’s a very bad infection which can kill lots of people”.

Potato Angela listens attentively to the wise professor, who explains that the field of public health has been in existence for centuries.

“Public health began mostly when people started to live in towns; as people were living closer together, it made infections spread with greater ease”, explained Ashton.


“There were important friends of public health, such as builders and town planners and they helped people to live a healthy life by making sure people didn’t have to live in slums, with no sewers or where the air wasn’t clean and fresh”.

“That’s amazing”, exclaimed Potato Angela.

“I’d like to be a friend of public health, too”.

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Potatoes for Peace: COVID 19, and the human body

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