Noticias de Covid-19: el número R de Inglaterra podría llegar a 1,7

Por Michael Le Page
, Clare Wilson
, Jessica Hamzelou
, Adam Vaughan
, Conrad Quilty-Harper
y Layal Liverpool

Dos personas asisten a una instalación de pruebas de covid-19

Los miembros del público asisten a una instalación de pruebas de covid del NHS en el centro de la ciudad de Bolton, ya que las restricciones se endurecen en el área el 9 de septiembre.

Anthony Devlin / Getty Images

Últimas noticias sobre coronavirus a partir de las 17:00 horas del 11 de septiembre

Nuevos datos sugieren que el número R de Inglaterra podría llegar a 1,7

los La epidemia de coronavirus en el Reino Unido está creciendo, de acuerdo con la últimas cifras gubernamentales. Simon Clarke en la Universidad de Reading describió esto como un “golpe masivo a la estrategia del gobierno para contener la propagación del covid-19”. El Reino Unido Número R el número estimado de personas que cada persona infectada va a infectar está entre 1 y 1,2, frente a entre 0,9 y 1,1 la semana pasada. Estos datos son representativos de la situación de hace dos o tres semanas, debido a un desfase de tiempo en los datos utilizados para modelar la R, pero están en línea con datos más recientes para Inglaterra de un estudio separado por investigadores del Imperial College de Londres, lo que sugiere que el número R de Inglaterra podría ser tan alto como 1,7.

El estudio, encargado por el Departamento de Salud y Asistencia Social, evaluó a más de 150.000 personas en comunidades de Inglaterra entre el 22 de agosto y el 7 de septiembre y utilizó esto para modelar el número R. Encontró que el 0,13 por ciento de las personas dieron positivo equivalente a 130 por cada 100.000 habitantes de la población. los últimos resultados de una encuesta de pruebas de hisopo aleatorio por la Oficina de Estadísticas Nacionales también indican un aumento de infecciones en comunidades de Inglaterra y Gales en las últimas semanas.

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El aumento de casos “sugiere que el reciente aumento de casos no se debe solo a mayores pruebas”, dijo Clarke en un comunicado. “Es probable que el coronavirus esté circulando más libremente en la comunidad nuevamente, lo que significa que es probable que necesitemos mayores restricciones en nuestras vidas para reducir nuevamente la tasa de transmisión”.

Otras noticias sobre coronavirus

UNA nueva aplicación de rastreo de contactos de coronavirus estará disponible en Inglaterra y Gales el 24 de septiembre, anunció hoy el gobierno. La nueva aplicación permitirá a las personas escanear códigos QR para registrar visitas a bares y restaurantes y utilizará el método de Apple y Google para detectar otros teléfonos inteligentes cercanos. El gobierno del Reino Unido se vio previamente obligado a abandonar el desarrollo de una aplicación anterior, construido en tecnología diferente, debido a su incapacidad para reconocer una proporción significativa de dispositivos Apple y Android. La aplicación de Escocia, Protect Scotland, salió en vivo ayer.

Birmingham en Inglaterra está siendo sometida a bloqueo local debido a un aumento en los casos. La ciudad ahora tiene la segunda tasa más alta de infección por coronavirus en Inglaterra, después de Bolton. Hubo 85,4 casos por cada 100.000 personas en Birmingham durante la semana que finalizó el 7 de septiembre, frente a los 32 de la semana anterior. Las personas en Birmingham ya no podrán reunirse con otros hogares.

India ha registrado el mayor número de casos diarios de nuevos coronavirus en un solo país desde que comenzó la pandemia, con 96.551 casos registrados en el país el jueves.

Muertes por coronavirus

Imagen predeterminada de New Scientist

La cifra mundial de muertos ha superado los 910.000. El número de casos confirmados supera los 28,2 millones, según Universidad Johns Hopkins, aunque el número real de casos será mucho mayor.

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Los New York Times está evaluando el progreso de diferentes candidatos a vacunas y posibles tratamientos farmacológicos para el covid-19, y clasificándolos por su eficacia y seguridad.

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Actualizaciones anteriores

Un cantante adulto vistiendo túnicas y un protector facial caminando en una iglesia

Un cantante adulto del York Minster Choir camina para ensayar antes de una actuación en York, Inglaterra.

Imágenes de Ian Forsyth / Getty

10 de septiembre

Las últimas cifras muestran un aumento significativo en los casos semanales de coronavirus en Inglaterra

El número de personas que dieron positivo al coronavirus en Inglaterra fue de 9864 en la semana que terminó el 2 de septiembre, un 47 por ciento más que 6732 en la semana anterior, según el últimas cifras de NHS Test and Trace. Es el número más alto de casos positivos semanales registrados desde que se lanzó el sistema en mayo. Durante la misma semana, NHS Test and Trace solo logró llegar al 69,2 por ciento de los contactos de personas diagnosticadas con el virus en Inglaterra. – por debajo del objetivo del 80 por ciento o más recomendado por asesores científicos del gobierno para limitar la propagación de infecciones.

Los especialistas en salud pública han expresado su preocupación sobre la viabilidad de los planes gubernamentales anunciados ayer para gastar £ 100 mil millones en expandir las pruebas a 10 millones de pruebas por día para principios de 2021. Chaand Nagpaul, presidente del consejo de la Asociación Médica Británica, dijo a la BBC No está claro cómo funcionarán estas pruebas, dados los “enormes problemas” con la capacidad del laboratorio. Sarah-Jane Marsh, directora de pruebas en NHS Test and Trace se disculpó por los problemas con el esquema de prueba a principios de esta semana. Incluso si las pruebas se pueden ampliar, sigue habiendo preocupaciones sobre la precisión y la capacidad de rastreo de contactos. El secretario de Transporte, Grant Shapps, le dijo a BBC Breakfast esta mañana que la tecnología para llevar el plan no existe actualmente.

Otras noticias sobre coronavirus

Presidente de los Estados Unidos, Donald Trump admitido a restar importancia a la amenaza planteada por el coronavirus en marzo, durante una entrevista con el periodista Bob Woodward revelada en su próximo libro. “Siempre quise restarle importancia”, dijo Trump a Woodward el 19 de marzo. “Todavía me gusta minimizarlo, porque no quiero crear un pánico”. Trump también reconoció que el virus era “más mortal que incluso su gripe intensa” ya en febrero. un momento en el que decía públicamente que el virus era menos preocupante que la gripe.

El director ejecutivo de AstraZeneca, Pascal Soriot, dijo hoy en una sesión informativa en línea el tiene esperanzas que el candidato a vacuna contra el coronavirus de la compañía podría estar listo para su distribución mundial en la primera mitad de 2021. Los ensayos de la vacuna, que se está desarrollando en asociación con la Universidad de Oxford, se suspendieron ayer después de que un participante desarrolló síntomas neurológicos. Un comité de seguridad independiente está revisando actualmente los datos del participante afectado, dijo Soriot.

El sistema de prueba y protección de Escocia, el equivalente nacional al sistema de prueba y rastreo del NHS en Inglaterra, hoy lanzó su aplicación Protect Scotland, que alerta a las personas si han estado en contacto cercano con alguien que luego da positivo por el coronavirus. Al igual que la aplicación de Irlanda del Norte, la nueva aplicación de Escocia se creó con el conjunto de herramientas proporcionado por Apple y Google. Inglaterra aún no tiene una aplicación equivalente ampliamente disponible, pero ha estado probando una similar en la Isla de Wight y en el distrito londinense de Newham durante el mes pasado, después de abandonar el desarrollo de una aplicación NHS Covid-19 construida con tecnología diferente. debido a su incapacidad para reconocer el 96 por ciento de los teléfonos Apple y el 25 por ciento de los dispositivos Android de Google.

Estudiantes universitarios en Inglaterra se le puede solicitar que permanezca en su alojamiento para estudiantes y evitar visitar sus hogares familiares en caso de brotes locales de coronavirus, según una nueva guía publicada hoy por el Departamento de Educación del Reino Unido. Los estudiantes con síntomas de covid-19 deben “aislarse por sí mismos en su alojamiento actual”, dice la guía. También sugiere que las universidades agrupen a los estudiantes que viven en residencias universitarias en “hogares” que incluyan a todos los que viven en el mismo piso o comparten instalaciones comunitarias, lo que podría incluir hasta 30 estudiantes. Las pautas agregan que las reuniones privadas, incluidas aquellas dentro de los hogares de los estudiantes, aún deben limitarse a un máximo de seis personas.

Muertes por coronavirus

Imagen predeterminada de New Scientist

El número de muertos en todo el mundo ha superado los 905.000. El número de casos confirmados supera los 27,9 millones, según Universidad Johns Hopkins, aunque el número real de casos será mucho mayor.

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Coronavirus y gripe: Los médicos están preocupados por los brotes simultáneos de gripe y covid-19, pero algunos virólogos están preocupados por otro escenario: un Frankenvirus. ¿Podría el coronavirus fusionarse con otro virus para crear una nueva amenaza?

Un químico que trabaja en un laboratorio.

Una vista general de los químicos analíticos en la sede de AstraZeneca en Sydney

Imágenes de DAN HIMBRECHTS / AAP / PA

9 de septiembre

El gobierno del Reino Unido planea expandir las pruebas de coronavirus a 10 millones de pruebas al día

El gobierno del Reino Unido planea realizar 10 millones de pruebas de coronavirus por día a principios de 2021, según documentos obtenidos por el BMJ. Actualmente, la capacidad de prueba del Reino Unido es de 350.000 por día. Como parte del nuevo plan, £ 100 mil millones se destinarán a la expansión del programa de pruebas del país, revelaron los documentos, y GSK y AstraZeneca se encuentran entre las empresas nombradas por suministrar pruebas y capacidad de laboratorio, respectivamente.

Martin McKee de la Escuela de Higiene y Medicina Tropical de Londres dijo al BMJ el plan es demasiado optimista e ignora “enormes problemas con los programas de prueba y rastreo existentes”. NHS Test and Trace, en particular, ha sido criticado por su repetido fracaso para llegar a una proporción suficiente de contactos de personas que dan positivo por el virus en Inglaterra. Entre el 28 de mayo y el 26 de agosto, el régimen alcanzó el 78,5 por ciento de los contactos de personas diagnosticadas en Inglaterra – por debajo del objetivo del 80 por ciento o más recomendado por asesores científicos del gobierno.

Jon Meeks, bioestadístico de la Universidad de Birmingham que revisó los documentos para el BMJ, tuiteó eso los documentos “Muestran una falta severa de ciencia o realidad. No hay consideración de los daños que crearía examinarnos a todos “. En el BMJ planteó el problema de los falsos positivos: “YoSi pruebas a 60 millones de personas [with a 99% accurate test] clasificaremos un grupo del tamaño de la población de Sheffield como que tiene covid erróneamente “.

Otras noticias sobre coronavirus

Ensayos avanzados de uno de los más prometedores candidatos a vacuna contra el coronavirus se suspendieron después de que un participante se enfermara en el Reino Unido. Empresa farmacéutica AstraZeneca, que está desarrollando la vacuna. en asociación con la Universidad de Oxford, ha detenido voluntariamente los ensayos. Este es un procedimiento estándar en el desarrollo de vacunas y les da tiempo a los investigadores para determinar la causa de la enfermedad y garantizar la seguridad de los participantes. AstraZeneca describió la acción como “rutina” en una declaración a STAT. La vacuna candidata ya ha pasado las pruebas preliminares y ahora se está sometiendo ensayos de fase II y III involucrando aproximadamente a 30.000 participantes en ele EE. UU., así como en el Reino Unido, Brasil y Sudáfrica. Estos ensayos más grandes son diseñado para probar si puede evitar que las personas se infecten con el coronavirus o se enfermen con el covid-19, así como evaluar la seguridad a largo plazo.

Social las reuniones en Inglaterra serán limitadas a un máximo de seis personas a partir del lunes 14 de septiembre, en un esfuerzo por abordar un aumento reciente en los casos de coronavirus. No se permitirá que las personas se reúnan en grupos de más de seis, ya sea en el interior o al aire libre, con la excepción de reuniones en escuelas, lugares de trabajo y algunos eventos como bodas y funerales. El ministro de Salud del Reino Unido, Matt Hancock, le dijo a la BBC hoy que la nueva regla es “súper simple” y será “aplicada por la policía”. Las personas podrían ser multadas entre £ 100 y £ 3200 por violar la regla, dijo. “Hemos visto en otros países del mundo donde no toman medidas y luego terminan con este segundo pico, lo que resulta en más hospitalizaciones y más muertes, y no queremos ver eso aquí”, dijo Hancock.

Muertes por coronavirus

Imagen predeterminada de New Scientist

El número de muertos en todo el mundo ha superado los 898.000. El número de casos confirmados supera los 27,6 millones, según Universidad Johns Hopkins, aunque el número real de casos será mucho mayor.

Lo último sobre coronavirus de New Scientist

Síntomas severos: Un péptido humano fuera de control llamado bradicinina podría ser responsable de algunos de los síntomas variados y, a veces, mortales que se observan en personas que han contraído el coronavirus. Ya tenemos medicamentos para controlar la bradicinina, que se están probando como tratamientos para personas con covid-19.

La gente camina por la calle en el centro de Bolton, Greater Manchester

La gente camina por la calle en el centro de Bolton, Greater Manchester

Imágenes de Jon Super / Xinhua / PA

8 de septiembre

Se podrían introducir nuevas restricciones en Inglaterra debido al aumento de casos

El gobierno podría apretar restricciones a las personas que se reúnan en Inglaterra tras el reciente aumento de los casos de coronavirus. Según varios informes, el gobierno podría reducir el número de personas a las que se les permite reunirse al aire libre a seis, por debajo del límite actual de 30. Las restricciones sobre cuántas personas pueden reunirse en interiores también pueden volverse más estrictas, según Sky News. Según las pautas actuales, solo dos hogares pueden congregarse en el interior.

El subdirector médico de Inglaterra, Jonathan Van-Tam, dijo que la nueva ola de casos se debe a que “la gente se ha relajado demasiado”. Hoy, 2420 personas dieron positivo para el coronavirus en el Reino Unido, por debajo de 2948 el lunes, pero sigue siendo alto en comparación con las cifras diarias de los últimos meses. John Edmunds, miembro del Grupo Asesor Científico para Emergencias dijo ITV que el Reino Unido en su conjunto se encuentra en un “período de riesgo” porque el país Número R – el número de personas que cada persona infectada va a infectar – ha aumentado por encima de 1. Un número R superior a 1 significa que la epidemia está creciendo.

Algunas medidas ya se están endureciendo en algunas partes del Reino Unido, incluido Bolton, en Greater Manchester. La ciudad tiene actualmente la tasa de casos más alta del país, con 120 casos del virus por cada 100.000 habitantes. Los pubs y restaurantes ahora tendrán que ser solo para llevar y permanecer cerrados entre las 10 p.m. y las 5 a.m., Reino Unido anunció el ministro de salud Matt Hancock hoy. La guía actual, que dice que las personas no deben socializar con personas de un hogar diferente, será legalmente vinculante, dijo a los parlamentarios. El número de personas autorizadas a visitar hospitales y residencias de ancianos también se reducirá con las nuevas medidas. “El aumento de casos en Bolton se debe en parte a la socialización de personas de entre 20 y 30 años. Sabemos esto por el rastreo de contactos “, dijo Hancock, y agregó que” hemos identificado varios pubs en los que el virus se ha propagado de manera significativa “.

Otras noticias sobre coronavirus

En medio de los crecientes informes de personas a las que se les dice que asistan a centros de pruebas de autoservicio a cientos de kilómetros de sus hogares, la directora de pruebas de NHS Test and Trace, Sarah-Jane Marsh, tuiteó una disculpa hoy a personas en Inglaterra que no han podido hacerse la prueba por el coronavirus. Marsh describió el procesamiento de laboratorio como “el punto crítico” y dijo que “estamos haciendo todo lo posible para expandirnos rápidamente”. El mes pasado los investigadores advirtieron que el Reino Unido probablemente enfrentaría una segunda ola de infecciones por coronavirus en invierno si el sistema de rastreo de contactos y pruebas del país no mejoraba en septiembre.

Hubo 101 muertes por covid-19 en Inglaterra y Gales durante la semana que terminó el 28 de agosto, según las últimas cifras de la Oficina de Estadísticas Nacionales. Esto es inferior a las 138 muertes de la semana anterior y también es el número más bajo de muertes por la enfermedad registrado desde la semana que terminó el 13 de marzo.

Una escuela en Nottinghamshire en Inglaterra ha sido obligado a cerrar después de que su director fuera ingresado en el hospital con covid-19. Se ha dicho a los alumnos y al personal de la escuela primaria Trowell que se queden en casa y se aíslen hasta el 21 de septiembre. En la semana desde que los alumnos regresaron a las aulas, se han informado brotes de coronavirus en docenas de escuelas en Inglaterra y Gales. En todo Liverpool, se estima que 200 alumnos se aíslan por sí mismos después de casos positivos de covid-19 en cinco escuelas, mientras que cinco maestros en una escuela en Suffolk dieron positivo.Muertes por coronavirus

Imagen predeterminada de New Scientist

El número de muertos en todo el mundo ha superado los 897.000. El número de casos confirmados supera los 27,3 millones, según Universidad Johns Hopkins, aunque el número real de casos será mucho mayor.

Lo último sobre coronavirus de New Scientist

¿Qué es una vacuna y cómo funcionan?: El último video de nuestra nueva serie de YouTube, Science with Sam, explica cómo funcionan las vacunas al entrenar su sistema inmunológico para reconocer virus y bacterias. También echamos un vistazo al esfuerzo mundial sin precedentes para desarrollar una vacuna para el coronavirus y consideramos los desafíos involucrados en la fabricación, prueba y distribución de las vacunas covid-19.

Las personas se hacen pruebas de frotis para el coronavirus

Personas realizan una prueba de coronavirus en un centro de pruebas sin cita previa en Bolton, Reino Unido, 7 de septiembre de 2020

Phil Noble / REUTERS

7 de septiembre

El Reino Unido registró su mayor número de casos nuevos diarios desde el domingo de mayo

Había 2948 nuevos casos de coronavirus confirmados en el Reino Unido hoy, ligeramente por debajo del 2988 nuevos casos confirmó el domingo, que marcó el mayor incremento diario de casos registrados en el país desde el 23 de mayo. “Esto es especialmente preocupante para un domingo cuando los números de informes son generalmente más bajos que la mayoría de los otros días de la semana”, dijo Paul Hunter de la Universidad de East Anglia en un declaración. “Lamentablemente, parece que estamos entrando en un período de crecimiento exponencial en la epidemia del Reino Unido y, de ser así, podemos esperar más aumentos en las próximas semanas”, dijo Hunter.

El ministro de salud del Reino Unido, Matt Hancock ayer expresó su preocupación sobre el aumento de casos, que dijo que eran principalmente entre las personas menores de 25 años, especialmente las que tienen entre 17 y 21 años. “Por supuesto que las personas más jóvenes pueden transmitir la enfermedad a sus abuelos y no queremos ver eso”, dijo Hancock ayer. En Francia y España, los aumentos en las infecciones entre los adultos más jóvenes en agosto fueron seguidos por un mayor número de ingresos hospitalarios de personas mayores y más vulnerables en las semanas posteriores. “Es preocupante porque hemos visto un aumento de casos en Francia, en España, en algunos otros países de Europa, y nadie quiere ver una segunda ola aquí”, dijo Hancock hoy.

Los asesores científicos del gobierno comparten las preocupaciones de Hancock acerca de que los jóvenes transmitan el virus a grupos más vulnerables. UNA reporte respaldado por el Grupo Asesor Científico para Emergencias publicado la semana pasada advierte que existe un riesgo significativo de que la reapertura de las universidades pueda amplificar la transmisión local y nacional, y agrega que “es muy probable que haya brotes importantes”. Debido a la mayor proporción de casos asintomáticos entre los grupos de edad más jóvenes, es probable que los casos y los brotes también sean más difíciles de detectar entre las poblaciones de estudiantes, dice el informe.

Otras noticias sobre coronavirus

India confirmaron 90,632 nuevos casos de coronavirus en 24 horas, informó el domingo el Ministerio de Salud del país, estableciendo un nuevo récord mundial para la cantidad de infecciones registradas en un solo país en un día. India ha confirmado más de 4,2 millones de casos desde que comenzó la pandemia, la segunda cifra más alta para cualquier país después de Estados Unidos.

Los Juegos Olímpicos de Tokio tendrá lugar el próximo año “Con o sin covid”, según John Coates, vicepresidente del Comité Olímpico Internacional. Anteriormente, el comité dijo que cancelarían los Juegos programados para julio de 2021 si fuera necesario.

Muertes por coronavirus

Imagen predeterminada de New Scientist

El número de muertos en todo el mundo ha superado los 889.000. El número de casos confirmados supera los 27,1 millones, según Universidad Johns Hopkins, aunque el número real de casos será mucho mayor.

Lo último sobre coronavirus de New Scientist

Mantener las escuelas seguras: Existe un amplio acuerdo en que las escuelas deben reabrir y permanecer abiertas. Sin embargo, lograr esto está plagado de incógnitas. Aunque parece que los niños tienen menos probabilidades de transmitir y enfermarse por el coronavirus, no sabemos por qué es así. Si se produjera un brote, las familias de los alumnos y el personal de la escuela aún podrían estar en riesgo. Para mantener la seguridad de las escuelas, los gobiernos deben estar preparados para cerrar otras áreas de la sociedad para mantener bajos los niveles generales de transmisión del virus.

Un científico pipetas líquido en un laboratorio.

Sputnik V, Centro Nacional Gamaleya

EL FONDO RUSO DE INVERSIÓN DIRECTA

4 de septiembre

La vacuna candidata de Rusia produjo respuestas de anticuerpos y células T en un ensayo en etapa inicial

Un juicio preliminar de Candidato a la vacuna contra el coronavirus de Rusia Sputnik V sugiere que es seguro e induce una respuesta inmunitaria. La vacuna fue aprobado por las autoridades rusas el mes pasado, antes de que se hicieran públicos los datos o de que comenzara un ensayo a gran escala. En el ensayo preliminar, se probó en un pequeño grupo de 76 voluntarios sanos. Todos los voluntarios desarrollaron anticuerpos específicos contra coronavirus y Células T, y ninguno experimentó reacciones adversas graves, según los resultados publicados en La lanceta hoy. Sin embargo, todavía no está claro si la vacuna protege a las personas de infectarse con el coronavirus o de enfermarse. Esto se investigará mediante pruebas de fase III, que ya en marcha, y se espera que incluya a 40.000 personas en toda Rusia.

A algunos investigadores les preocupa que los desarrolladores de vacunas puedan verse sometidos a presiones políticas para liberar dosis de la vacuna para su administración al público en general, antes de que se completen las pruebas de fase III. “No se debe utilizar una vacuna para acortar la implementación de intervenciones de salud pública que ya se sabe que son seguras y efectivas, hasta que se haya demostrado que la vacuna en sí es segura y efectiva”, dijo Eleanor Riley de la Universidad de Edimburgo. en un declaración.

La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) lo dijo hoy no espera una vacunación generalizada contra el coronavirus hasta mediados de 2021. “No esperamos ver una vacunación generalizada hasta mediados del próximo año”, dijo la portavoz de la OMS Margaret Harris en una reunión informativa en Ginebra. Harris dijo que los ensayos de fase III deberán durar el tiempo suficiente para determinar qué tan “verdaderamente protector” y seguro es un candidato a vacuna dado.

Otras noticias sobre coronavirus

Los resultados preliminares de un estudio de Public Health England encontraron bajas tasas de infección por coronavirus entre niños y profesores de preescolar y primaria. Los investigadores tomaron muestras de más de 12.000 niños y profesores de 131 escuelas primarias en Inglaterra en junio y principios de julio, y detectaron solo tres casos del virus. Ravindra Gupta, de la Universidad de Cambridge, dijo que los hallazgos no son sorprendentes, ya que un número limitado de niños asistían a escuelas en Inglaterra durante este período. “No debemos ser complacientes y falsamente tranquilizados”, dijo Gupta en un declaración. “A partir de septiembre habrá más niños, más mezcla, más hacinamiento y durante el invierno se pasará menos tiempo al aire libre”, dijo, y agregó que habrá menos posibilidades de distanciamiento social en las escuelas en los próximos meses de lo que era posible. en junio.

Nueva Zelanda ha registrado su primera muerte de covid-19 desde el 28 de mayo. Un hombre en Auckland murió después de ser ingresado en el hospital. Su muerte es la primera relacionada con un brote reciente en la ciudad, incluidos 152 casos.

Muertes por coronavirus

Imagen predeterminada de New Scientist

El número de muertos en todo el mundo ha superado los 870.000. El número de casos confirmados supera los 26,3 millones, según Universidad Johns Hopkins, aunque el número real de casos será mucho mayor.

Lo último sobre coronavirus de New Scientist

Distanciamiento social: Los informáticos han utilizado una base de datos de cámaras públicas para realizar un seguimiento de qué tan bien se adhieren las personas a las pautas de distanciamiento social.

Un trabajador médico toma un hisopo para detectar el coronavirus en un centro de pruebas en el auto, mientras un colega observa

Un trabajador médico toma un hisopo para realizar la prueba del coronavirus en un centro de pruebas en el vehículo

ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP a través de Getty Images

3 de septiembre

Nueva financiación anunciada para ensayos de pruebas rápidas de nuevos coronavirus en el Reino Unido

El gobierno del Reino Unido hoy anunció 500 millones de libras esterlinas en fondos para ensayos de las pruebas rápidas de coronavirus, incluidas las pruebas de saliva y hisopos desarrolladas recientemente que se pueden realizar en 90 minutos o menos. Los ensayos también incluirán pilotos comunitarios que investiguen la efectividad de repetir las pruebas en las escuelas y entre la población en general. “Estamos respaldando nuevas pruebas innovadoras que son rápidas, precisas y fáciles de usar y maximizarán el impacto y la escala de las pruebas, ayudándonos a volver a una forma de vida más normal”, dijo el ministro de salud del Reino Unido, Matt Hancock, en un declaración hoy.

Tener pruebas más rápidas podría ayudar a acelerar la identificación de las personas infectadas y el rastreo de sus contactos cercanos. Pero tener una prueba rápida es “inútil” si los contactos no se pueden identificar porque el sistema de rastreo está abrumado, dijo Joshua Moon de la Universidad de Sussex en un declaración. NHS Test and Trace ha sido criticado por su repetido fracaso en alcanzar una proporción suficiente de los contactos de personas que dan positivo al coronavirus en Inglaterra. De acuerdo con la últimas cifras, El 78,5% de los contactos de personas diagnosticadas con el virus en Inglaterra fueron contactados por NHS Test and Trace entre el 28 de mayo y el 26 de agosto – por debajo del objetivo del 80 por ciento o más recomendado por asesores científicos del gobierno.

Otras noticias sobre coronavirus

Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) de EE. UU. Han notificado a los estados que se preparen para el lanzamiento de una vacuna contra el coronavirus dentro de dos meses. “Es posible que haya disponibles dosis limitadas de la vacuna covid-19 a principios de noviembre de 2020”, según los documentos de los CDC publicados por primera vez por New York Times. Y en una carta a los gobernadores el 27 de agosto, obtenida por primera vez por McClatchy, El director de los CDC, Robert Redfield, escribió: “Los CDC solicitan con urgencia su asistencia para acelerar las solicitudes de [vaccine] instalaciones de distribución y, si es necesario, le solicita que considere renunciar a los requisitos que evitarían que estas instalaciones estén completamente operativas para el 1 de noviembre de 2020 “. Pero a los investigadores de salud pública les preocupa que la medida esté impulsada menos por la evidencia y, en cambio, por un esfuerzo político para apresurar una vacuna antes de las elecciones de noviembre. Michael Osterholm de la Universidad de Minnesota dijo al Associated Press que “la comunidad de salud pública quiere una vacuna segura y eficaz tanto como cualquiera […] pero los datos deben ser claros y convincentes “.

Los gigantes farmacéuticos GlaxoSmithKline y Sanofi comenzarán probando su candidata a vacuna contra el coronavirus basada en proteínas en humanos por primera vez, para evaluar su seguridad y capacidad para inducir una respuesta inmunitaria. Si este y los ensayos posteriores tienen éxito, las empresas han dicho que podrían solicitar la aprobación regulatoria en la primera mitad del próximo año.

Una oleada de La demanda de pruebas de coronavirus ha dejado al Reino Unido en apuros para mantenerse al día. Algunas personas con síntomas que intentaron reservar pruebas de hisopado de coronavirus en línea le dijeron a la BBC que fueron dirigidas a centros de pruebas a más de 100 millas de distancia de sus hogares. Esto podría actuar como un “gran desincentivo para hacerse la prueba”, dijo a la BBC Paul Hunter de la Universidad de East Anglia, lo que podría limitar los esfuerzos para contener los picos localizados en los casos.

Muertes por coronavirus

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El número de muertos en todo el mundo ha superado los 864.000. El número de casos confirmados supera los 26 millones, según Universidad Johns Hopkins, aunque el número real de casos será mucho mayor.

Farmacéutico con paquetes de tabletas de esteroides antiinflamatorios dexametasona.

Farmacéutico con paquetes de tabletas de esteroides antiinflamatorios dexametasona.

LEWIS HOUGHTON / BIBLIOTECA DE FOTOS DE CIENCIA

2 de septiembre

Se descubre que los esteroides que reducen la inflamación salvan vidas del covid-19 severo

Se ha confirmado un grupo de fármacos que reducen la inflamación. para aumentar la supervivencia de las personas con covid-19 severo. En un estudio histórico que reunió todos los ensayos realizados hasta ahora para analizar el efecto de los esteroides sobre el coronavirus, los investigadores del grupo de trabajo REACT de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) analizaron los resultados de siete ensayos clínicos aleatorios, que incluyeron a 1703 pacientes críticamente enfermos con covid- 19. Compararon los resultados de los que habían recibido uno de los tres corticosteroides dexametasona, hidrocortisona o metilprednisolona con aquellos que recibieron atención estándar o un placebo. Los investigadores encontraron que el 32 por ciento de los que recibieron un tratamiento con corticosteroides habían muerto a causa de la enfermedad después de 28 días, en comparación con el 40 por ciento de los que no lo recibieron.

“La evidencia del beneficio es más sólida para la dexametasona”, dijo Stephen Evans de la Escuela de Higiene y Medicina Tropical de Londres en un declaración. Estos nuevos resultados, publicados hoy en el Revista de la Asociación Médica Estadounidense, agregan peso a los hallazgos anteriores del ensayo RECOVERY, que encontró que la dexametasona redujo las muertes en pacientes críticamente enfermos con covid-19 en un tercio para los pacientes con respiradores y en un quinto para los que reciben oxígeno – el primer fármaco que se ha demostrado que lo hace. “Este análisis aumenta la confianza en que [dexamethasone] tiene un papel realmente valioso en pacientes críticamente enfermos con covid-19 ”, dijo Evans. Como resultado del estudio, se espera que la OMS actualice su orientación sobre el tratamiento. En el Reino Unido, la droga ha estado en uso para el tratamiento de pacientes con covid-19 gravemente enfermos desde junio.

Otras noticias sobre coronavirus

los Nosotros no participaremos en una iniciativa global para desarrollar y distribuir una futura vacuna contra el coronavirus, debido a su asociación con la OMS. Más de 170 países están participando en la iniciativa, denominada COVAX, que trabaja para asegurar la asignación global equitativa y justa de una posible vacuna. “No estaremos limitados por organizaciones multilaterales influenciadas por la corrupta Organización Mundial de la Salud y China”, dijo el portavoz de la Casa Blanca, Judd Deere, en un comunicado. Estados Unidos se retirará por completo de la OMS el próximo julio. – a move Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has vowed to reverse if he is elected in November.

Coronavirus restrictions have been eased in parts of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire in England, with the exceptions of Bolton and Trafford in Greater Manchester. The government today announced that restrictions on meetings between different households indoors in these areas, which were also due to be lifted today, would now remain in place due to increasing infection rates. Bolton currently has one of the highest rates of new virus cases in England, with 59 cases per 100,000 people in the week ending 29 August. Similar restrictions have also been introduced in the Glasgow area in Scotland, which has seen a rise in cases over the last two days.

Coronavirus deaths

Imagen predeterminada de New Scientist

The worldwide death toll has passed 858,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 25.8 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Schools reopening: Schools across England and the US are about to reopen their doors to students who have been at home for months thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. What is the best way to keep children, and school staff and parents, safe?

Face coverings in schools: Should children returning to school wear face coverings? Official advice on this has evolved during the pandemic.

Oxford vaccine: A large trial of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford has begun in the US. With similar trials already under way in the UK and Brazil, hopes are rising that we could find out if the vaccine works before the end of the year.

Pupils wash their hands

Pupils wash their hands as they arrive on the first day back to school at Charles Dickens Primary School in London

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

1 September

Pupils around the world return to schools with new coronavirus measures in place

Millions of pupils returned to school today for the first time since coronavirus lockdowns were introduced, including pupils in France, Poland, Russia, England and Wales as well as in Wuhan in China, where the coronavirus was first detected. Schools in England and Wales have introduced hygiene and social distancing measures in line with recently updated government guidance, including wearing of face coverings by pupils in communal areas and staggering of break times for different year groups. But a survey of 653 parents in these regions by YouGov revealed that 17 per cent were considering keeping their children out of school due to concerns about coronavirus.

UK schools minister Nick Gibb today urged parents to send their children back to school. Doing so would “help them catch up on the lost education they’ll inevitably have suffered in the lockdown period,” he told the BBC Breakfast show. A survey of thousands of teachers by the National Foundation for Educational Research suggests that children in England are three months behind in their studies following lockdown, and that the estimated learning gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils has risen by 46 per cent. 98 per cent of the teachers in the survey, which was conducted at the end of the last school year in July, said their pupils were further behind in the curriculum than they should have been at the time.

Other coronavirus news

The UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson today told MPs that people in the UK were returning to the office in “huge numbers”, although no evidence has emerged to support the claim. A spokesperson for Johnson told the Huffington Post “people will be returning to the office after the summer break and also children going back to school gives parents some added flexibility.” los UK government’s campaign to encourage people to return to offices launched today. But in a recent survey of more than 6000 workers who have been working from home due to the pandemic, nine out of 10 said they would like to continue to do so.

Pharmaceutical giant Astrazeneca has expanded its agreement with UK company Oxford Biomedica to scale up production of its coronavirus vaccine candidate. Oxford Biomedica has agreed to produce tens of millions of doses of the vaccine candidate, which is being developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with the University of Oxford. The candidate recently entered late-stage trials in the US, with 30,000 people enrolled. In a statement, AstraZeneca said its global manufacturing capacity was close to 3 billion doses.

Although there has been an increase in the use of face coverings in the UK, only 13 per cent of people who wear reusable face masks are maintaining them in a way that is helpful to stopping the spread of coronavirus, according to a poll of 1944 people by YouGov. The survey found that the use of face coverings in the UK increased from 38 per cent to 69 per cent from mid to late July. However, only 13 per cent of people who said they wear washable face masks also said they wash them after every use and at 60 degrees C or higher.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 851,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 25.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Immune response: Throughout the coronavirus pandemic there have been fierce debates over the science – when to lock down, whether face coverings help and whether children are less susceptible, for example. The latest row is over whether we have been ignoring a crucial part of our immune response to the virus: T-cells.

schoolchildren waiting

Children wait outside the school gate in Johannesburg, South Africa.

KIM LUDBROOK/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

28 August

Children are at “strikingly low” risk of getting severely ill from coronavirus

Children are much less likely to get severe covid-19 than adults, and it is very rare for them to die from it, according to a UK study that was published in the BMJ today. The study tracked 651 under-18s admitted to hospital with coronavirus between January and July in England, Scotland and Wales. Six children died, 1 per cent of the total, and they had all had other severe illnesses before the virus struck, some of which were themselves life-limiting. The authors say this is a “strikingly low” death rate compared with 27 per cent for all ages in the population as a whole over the same time period. The findings are in line with previous similar research. Young people make up 1 to 2 per cent of cases of covid-19 worldwide, although it’s not clear why they seem to be less affected.

“There have been no deaths in otherwise healthy school-age children,” Calum Semple at the University of Liverpool told the BBC. “There is no direct harm from children going back to school,” he said. The findings come as some UK schools have been reopening for all their pupils for the first time since lockdown in March, with most schools in England due to be back by next week.

Other coronavirus news

The UK has announced plans for quickly immunising large numbers of people if a coronavirus vaccine is developed before winter. They involve allowing a wider range of healthcare staff to give shots, such as midwives, physiotherapists and dentists, as well as pharmacists, who already administer flu vaccines. It also grants powers to approve any vaccine that is proven safe and effective before the end of the year to the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency. This body will become responsible for approving all drugs and vaccines from the start of 2021 once the UK’s Brexit transition period is over.

Schools reopening in the US have found Legionnaires’ disease bacteria in their water supply, which can cause deadly pneumonia. los Legionella microbe was found in the water supply of five schools in Ohio and four in Pennsylvania last week, and experts say it could be in more.

The World Health Organization is trying to get more countries to join Covax, its coronavirus vaccine allocation scheme, according to documents seen by Reuters. The WHO plan would see countries pooling funds so that if one vaccine succeeds, all participants will get a fair allocation. But the UN agency has struggled to get enough richer nations on board. Countries including the UK, the US and Japan have made their own deals with manufacturers developing vaccines, securing millions of doses for their own citizens.

Several large US states have said they will not follow official federal policy to stop testing people who think they have been exposed to the coronavirus but who do not have symptoms. In a rebuke to the new testing policy announced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California, Texas, Florida, New York and four other states have said they will continue with the old regime. The CDC’s move provoked claims that it was a politically motivated move to lower the number of people testing positive ahead of the 2020 election.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 832,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 24.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Internet outage slows covid-19 contact tracing: Health officials were unable to trace and isolate the contacts of thousands of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in England until up to a week later.

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A woman walks past chairs painted with the colours of the Tour de France leaders’ jerseys on the seafront in Nice, France

ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images

27 August

WHO warns Europe is entering “tricky moment” as coronavirus cases climb

As some European countries have continued to report growth in covid-19 cases, governments are responding by tightening up restrictions and safety measures. France reported 5429 daily cases today, up from 3776 a week ago, and Italy counted 1366 cases, its biggest daily increase in more than three months and up against 642 a week ago. Daily numbers in other major European countries are relatively stable, with Spain at 7296, Germany at 1507 and the UK at 1048.

The French prime minister Jean Castex warned the country had seen an “undeniable surge” of cases and the epidemic “could become exponential”, with cases rising as quickly as they did in the early days of the pandemic. The virus is now circulating in 20 of the country’s 101 “departments”, up from two previously. With France’s reproduction number – the average number of people one infected person will likely infect – now at 1.4, Castex said masks will become mandatory in Paris. The 21-day Tour de France will still go ahead this Saturday.

The German government today rejected calls to relax restrictions, with a leaked plan saying private parties will be limited to 25 people and the anticipated end of a ban on large public gatherings in October will instead be extended to the end of the year.

Hans Kluge at the World Health Organization said today that Europe is entering a “tricky moment” as schools reopen across the continent, though he stressed that schools had not been a “main contributor” to the epidemic. Asked by Científico nuevo at a press conference today if European countries’ responses to growing cases this week are commensurate with keeping the virus in check, Maria van Kerkhove at the WHO said: “What we are seeing is countries applying different measures. What we are seeing are targeted, tailored approaches. Hopefully these are time-bound.” On measures such as mandating face coverings and limiting the size of gatherings, she said: “All of these are different tools that may need to be applied. I think what we’re seeing is this calibration, of putting in efforts to suppress transmission to keep it at a low level while allowing societies to open up. This is one of the critical things we are all trying to figure out now.”

Other coronavirus news

The number of patients getting heart disease services at hospitals in the US and UK dropped by more than half during the countries’ lockdown, researchers have found. Writing in the journal Open Heart, they warned cardiology departments need to be prepared for a “significant increase in workload” in the coming months as a result.

In the UK, government statistics today show that three months after the launch of England’s contact tracing scheme, it is still falling short of reaching 80 per cent of close contacts of people who have tested positive for covid-19, the level the government’s scientific advisers say is needed. Three quarters of close contacts were reached between 13-19 August. Nearly 300,000 people have been reached since the system’s launch.

Separately, anyone in the UK on a low income who needs to self-isolate for 10 days and cannot work from home will be eligible to get £13 a day from the government in areas affected by local outbreaks, health secretary Matt Hancock said today.

A drug used to help cats with another coronavirus has been found to show promise in tackling the current coronavirus outbreak. The drug, GC376, and its parent, GC373, are “strong drug candidates for the treatment of human coronavirus infections because they have already been successful in animals,” the team write in Nature Communications. Here’s the Científico nuevo guide to all the latest on covid-19 treatments.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 826,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 24 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Is the rush to roll out a coronavirus vaccine undermining safety? Some shortcuts are being taken in the race to get a coronavirus vaccine approved, but there are also more resources, openness and scrutiny than ever before.

Three school pupils walk through a doorway

Pupils in Glasgow, Scotland return to school after lockdown on 12 August

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

26 August

Face coverings will now be mandatory for secondary school pupils in areas of England under lockdown

Secondary school pupils in areas of England under local lockdowns will now be required to wear face coverings in all communal areas except classrooms, after the government reversed its guidance last night. The government has been under mounting pressure from headteachers to adopt a stricter policy on the use of face coverings ahead of schools reopening next month. Within coronavirus hotspots, “it probably does make sense in confined areas outside the classroom to use a face covering in the corridor and elsewhere,” UK prime minister Boris Johnson told journalists today, citing recently updated World Health Organization guidelines. The new rule won’t apply to schools in areas that aren’t under lockdown, although head teachers in any secondary school will have the flexibility to introduce their own rules. In Wales, the decision on the use of face coverings in schools will be left to individual schools and councils.

Other coronavirus news

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been criticised for changing its guidelines on coronavirus testing to say that some people without symptoms may not require a test, even if they have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. The change has not been explained by CDC leaders. Leana Wen, a doctor and public health professor at George Washington University, told CNN, “These are exactly the people who should be tested,” as they are key to contact tracing.

Fewer than 40,000 cases were confirmed in the US yesterday and daily new coronavirus cases there have been falling, after peaking on 22 July at about 70,000, though this may be due to insufficient testing. The total number of tests administered has fallen from an average of more than 820,000 per day in mid-August to about 690,000 per day in the last week or so.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 820,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 23.9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Vaccine race: Some shortcuts are being taken in the race to get a coronavirus vaccine approved, but there are also more resources, openness and scrutiny than ever before.

Face coverings: Do you get angry when you see someone without a face covering? They might have a good reason to avoid one, even if it isn’t obvious.

Man and two children wearing face masks walk towards school gate

Father and two children walking to school wearing face masks

Sally Anscombe/Getty Images

25 August

UK government under pressure to review policy on face coverings in schools in England

There is growing pressure on the UK government to review its policy on the wearing of face coverings in schools in England, after the Scottish government today announced that secondary school pupils will have to wear them in communal areas from Monday. Public Health England’s current guidance, issued in July, doesn’t recommend the use of face coverings in schools. The Association of School and College Leaders a headteachers’ union in the UK has criticised the lack of clarity around the rules on whether teachers and pupils can wear face coverings in schools in England. “The guidance is silent on what schools should do if staff or pupils want to wear face coverings,” the union’s general secretary, Geoff Barton told the BBC. During a visit to the south-west of England today, UK prime minister Boris Johnson said the government is continuing to look at the changing medical evidence, adding “if we need to change the advice then of course we will.” The Welsh government has said it will review its position on face coverings in schools.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization issued new guidance saying that children above age 12 should wear face masks in line with recommended practice for adults in the place where they live. Recent outbreaks in Scotland “reinforce the idea that covid-19 transmission in schools is potentially substantial”, said Rowland Kao at the University of Edinburgh in a declaración. “Should masks be adopted, their use must be accompanied by awareness of the need for good mask hygiene and regular handwashing.”

Other coronavirus news

Two more patients have been reported to have been reinfected with the coronavirus, one in the Netherlands and another in Belgium. Yesterday, researchers at the University of Hong Kong announced that they had documented the first case of coronavirus reinfection. “That someone would emerge with a reinfection, that doesn’t make me nervous,” Marion Koopmans at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands told Dutch broadcaster NOS. “We have to see whether this happens more often.”

Coronavirus cases in Spain are continuing to surge, with 175.7 cases per 100,000 people, according to the latest 14-day cumulative figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. This is compared to 62.8 cases per 100,000 people in France and 22.5 cases per 100,000 people in the UK. Unions in Madrid last week warned that the primary care system was “on the edge of collapse” due to lack of staff and capacity for testing.

People living in the Gaza Strip have been put under a lockdown after local authorities confirmed the first locally acquired cases of the coronavirus. A 48-hour lockdown went into effect on Monday evening across the territory.

Bali in Indonesia will not reopen to foreign tourists this year due to concerns about rising coronavirus cases.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 814,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 23.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Less deadly in Europe: It is becoming increasingly clear that people are less likely to die if they get covid-19 now compared with earlier in the pandemic, at least in Europe, but the reasons why are still shrouded in uncertainty.

Plasma treatment: Blood plasma donated by people who have recovered from covid-19 will be used as a treatment for the infection in the US. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorisation for the treatment on 23 August, but the evidence that it works is lacking.

First case of reinfection: A healthy 33-year-old man is the first person confirmed to have caught the coronavirus twice, according to unpublished research from the University of Hong Kong. As details of the case emerge, researchers say there is still much we don’t know.

Person waits in line to receive covid-19 test kit

Hong Kong residents receive free covid-19 test kits

MIGUEL CANDELA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

24 August

Researchers say they have detected the first case of coronavirus reinfection

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong say they have documented the first case of a person being reinfected with the coronavirus. The team analysed virus samples taken from a man when he first tested positive for the coronavirus in late March, and again when he tested positive for a second time in mid-August. They discovered several differences in the sequences of the virus from the first and second infections, suggesting the man had been infected with two separate strains of the virus, rather than one long-lasting infection. Their findings have been accepted for publication in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.

What will the discovery mean for the dozens of vaccine candidates being developed to protect people against the coronavirus? It may indicate that being infected with the virus doesn’t necessarily protect people against future infections, dijo David Strain at the University of Exeter in a statement. “Vaccinations work by simulating infection to the body, thereby allowing the body to develop antibodies. If antibodies don’t provide lasting protection, we will need to revert to a strategy of viral near-elimination in order to return to a more normal life,” says Strain. But Brendan Wren at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it is important to take these results into context: “This is a very rare example of reinfection and it should not negate the global drive to develop covid-19 vaccines.”

Other coronavirus news

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Sunday issued emergency use authorisation for convalescent plasma as a treatment for severe covid-19. This is drawn from people who have recovered from infection with the coronavirus and contains antibodies to fight the virus. In a declaración the FDA said that “the known and potential benefits of the [treatment] outweigh the known and potential risks.” More than 70,000 people in the US have received convalescent plasma as a treatment for covid-19 since March, through a programme run by the Mayo Clinic. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said studies have found a 35 per cent improvement in survival for covid-19 patients given the plasma.

At least 17 staff and pupils at a school in Dundee have tested positive for the coronavirus less than two weeks after pupils returned to schools in Scotland. Kingspark school closed last Wednesday and pupils have been told to self-isolate until 3 September. Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced that secondary school pupils in Scotland may be advised to wear face coverings, in light of new guidance from the World Health Organization. Schools in England are due to reopen in September, but a spokesperson for the prime minister today said there are no plans to review the current guidance in England for the wearing of face coverings in schools.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 809,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 23.4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Australia’s second wave: Australia’s second wave of the coronavirus appears to be finally subsiding, but the country isn’t out of the woods yet.

Vaccine technology: Prevention is better than cure, so we should start using genetic techniques to stop dangerous animal diseases jumping to humans, say Scott Nuismer and James Bull.

Commuters in front of a train station

Commuters arrive for work at Victoria Station in London

Alex Lentati/LNP/Shutterstock

21 August

Coronavirus R number in UK rises slightly but infections appear to be levelling off

In the UK, the latest estimate for the R number, the number of people each coronavirus case infects, has risen to between 0.9 and 1.1, up slightly from 0.8 to 1.0 the previous week. However, due to a time lag in the data used to model the R number, this is more representative of the situation two to three weeks ago. Estimates for the infection growth rates range between -3 and 1 per cent. This suggests infections in the UK are levelling off on average, in a continuation of the trend observed over the last few weeks. This is consistent with the latest results from the random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics, which suggests about 24,600 people in England 1 in 2200 had the virus in the week ending 13 August, compared to 28,300 people 1 in 1900 in the week ending 9 August

Local coronavirus restrictions in place in parts of northern England will be lifted on Saturday. People from two different households in Wigan in Greater Manchester and Rossendale and Darwen in Lancashire will now be allowed to meet in homes and gardens. But restrictions will remain in place in some other parts of Greater Manchester and Lancashire, as well as in parts of West Yorkshire and in Leicester. Oldham, which had the highest rate of infections in the UK last week at 103.1 cases per 100,000 people, has avoided the introduction of restrictions but will be subjected to “a more targeted intervention”, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Other coronavirus news

Travellers arriving in the UK from Croatia, Austria and Trinidad and Tobago will be required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival, starting at 4.00 am on Saturday, UK transport minister Grant Shapps announced yesterday. There are currently 47.2 cases per 100,000 people in Croatia compared to 21.2 per 100,000 people in the UK, according to cumulative figures for the last 14 days from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Those arriving in the UK from Portugal, which currently has a case rate of 28.5 per 100,000 people, will no longer need to self-isolate. Shapps said it would be “too difficult” for the UK to adopt a more targeted approach to the quarantine rules like Germany’s, affecting travellers from specific regions rather than entire countries, due to the difficulty in assessing infection patterns overseas in sufficient detail.

Coronavirus cases have been reported among pupils or teachers at 41 schools in Germany’s capital Berlin, less than two weeks after schools reopened. Berlin was one of the first places in Germany to reopen schools after the summer break. Schools in Scotland reopened earlier this month and schools in England will reopen in September.

South Korea recorded its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases since 8 March, with 324 new cases confirmed on Thursday. There have been 732 cases linked to the new outbreak so far, 56 of which have been linked to a single church in Seoul.

Lebanon has reintroduced a partial lockdown and an overnight curfew in an attempt to suppress a recent spike in coronavirus infections in the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion. The country recorded 605 new cases on Thursday, its highest daily case number so far.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 794,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 22.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Coronavirus and flying: Is it safe to fly with the coronavirus still circulating? That depends partly on where you are. But while hard evidence is scarce, it appears the risk of being infected with covid-19 during a flight is relatively low.

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Commuters at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof central train station in Frankfurt, Germany.

Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

20 August

WHO warns of “risk of resurgence” in Europe as Germany and Spain see cases surge

The risk of a resurgence of the coronavirus “has never been far away,” the World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge said during a briefing hoy. Europa recorded 40,000 more coronavirus cases in the first week of August, compared to the first week of June, when cases were at their lowest, and cases have steadily been rising in the region, in part due to the relaxation of public health and social measures, he said. Germany recorded its highest daily number of new cases since April, with 1707 new cases confirmed on Wednesday. Spain recorded 3715 cases on the same day, the highest daily number there since the country’s lockdown was lifted in late June. “Authorities have been easing some of the restrictions and people have been dropping their guard,” said Kluge.

Kluge thanked young people for the sacrifices they have made to protect themselves and others from covid-19 but expressed concern about people aged between 15 and 24, who account for a growing number of cases. “Low risk does not mean no risk. No one is invincible,” he said.

Other coronavirus news

Inglaterra saw a 27 per cent increase in the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in the week ending 12 August compared to the previous week, according to the Department of Health and Social Care. Its latest figures state that 6616 people tested positive for the virus, whilst the number of people tested for the virus went down by 2 per cent over the same time period.

UK health minister Matt Hancock yesterday told the BBC that people in the UK should be able to return to workplaces without the need for wearing face masks, citing evidence from NHS Test and Trace that people have been largely catching the virus in meetings between households rather than in offices. But researchers, including microbiologist Simon Clarke at the University of Reading, say there isn’t sufficient data to rule out the risk of transmission within workplaces and from workplaces to households. “The virus needs to be taken into homes by someone and they will have had to pick it up from somewhere else […] even a single workplace transmission could lead to multiple onward infections in a family, household or other setting.”

India reported a record daily increase in coronavirus cases for the country today, with more than 69,652 cases confirmed, according to its health ministry.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 788,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 22.4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Rewilding the sky: Let’s take inspiration from the way we intervene to help degraded ecosystems recover and attempt to restore the atmosphere back to full health, taking advantage of the lull in human activity under covid-19, writes Graham Lawton.

Medical worker takes swab sample in a drive-thru testing centre

A medical worker takes a swab sample in a drive-thru testing centre

REUTERS/Carl Recine – RC2Z2I9ILO1A

19 August

Random swab testing survey to be expanded in England and to other UK nations

Coronavirus tests will be carried out on more people in the UK to help monitor the spread of the virus, the government says. The random swab testing survey for coronavirus by the Office for National Statistics, which started in May, will be expanded to test more people in England as well as people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK’s health minister Matt Hancock announced today. In England, the survey will expand from testing 28,000 people every two weeks in the community, outside of hospitals and care homes, to testing 150,000 people. Hancock said this is part of a wider effort to expand coronavirus testing in the UK.

Testing larger numbers of people will allow smaller changes in infection growth trends to be interpreted with more reliability, dice biologist and medical innovation researcher Michael Hopkins at the University of Sussex. It will provide a “higher definition picture of the outbreak”, helping to pinpoint at-risk groups within the population, says Hopkins. More widespread testing could also help capture people who have the virus but are asymptomatic. An analysis by the ONS published yesterday found that only 28 per cent of people testing positive for the coronavirus in England reported having symptoms around the time they were tested.

Other coronavirus news

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison backtracked today after saying that coronavirus vaccination would be mandatory in Australia. Currently there isn’t a coronavirus vaccine available but there are 160 vaccine candidates being developed and 31 are in human trials. The Australian government recently secured access to the vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and has now said that if the vaccine is approved it will offer it to Australian citizens for free. Clarifying his earlier comments about making the vaccine mandatory, Morrison said “we can’t hold someone down and make them take it”, adding that vaccination would be “encouraged.”

Casi 1200 fewer people died this year in New Zealand up to 20 July compared to during the same period last year, a rare trend in light of the global pandemic. Some researchers speculate this may be due to a reduction in deaths from other respiratory illnesses, thanks to the introduction of measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In May, neighbouring Australia reported lower flu rates than usual, which was also attributed to coronavirus lockdown measures. New Zealand has recorded only 22 covid-19 related deaths.

South Korea recorded its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since March yesterday, with 297 cases of the virus confirmed. Officials in Seoul have begun introducing restrictions on gatherings in the city and its surrounding area, prohibiting indoor gatherings of more than 50 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 782,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 22.1 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Achieving herd immunity: Today, some headlines celebrate the fact that many places might have achieved herd immunity including Britain and pockets of London, New York and Mumbai. But others warn that millions will die before we get there. The true picture is far messier, partly because scientists don’t even agree on what herd immunity is, let alone how it might be achieved. So how will we know when populations are protected against the coronavirus?

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A worker holding a tray containing ampoules of “Sputnik V”, a covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology in Zelenograd, Russia

Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

18 August

“We need to prevent vaccine nationalism,” says WHO director-general

The World Health Organization (WHO) today called for an end to “vaccine nationalism”, el hoarding of vaccine doses by some nations. “The fastest way to end this pandemic and to reopen economies is to start by protecting the highest risk populations everywhere,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press briefing today. “We need to prevent vaccine nationalism,” he said. The priority should be protecting essential workers and other at-risk groups, Ghebreyesus said: “If we can work together, we can ensure that all essential workers are protected and proven treatments like dexamethasone are available to those who need them.” Although there currently isn’t a vaccine available for covid-19 there are more than 160 candidates in development, with 31 in human trials. Several countries have already secured deals for doses of some of these vaccine candidates. The UK has purchased at least 190 million doses, including 100 million of the vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

Separately, Takeshi Kasai, WHO Western Pacific regional director, told the briefing that “the epidemic is changing.” He said that “people in their 20s, 30s and 40s are increasingly driving the spread. Many are unaware they are infected.” This increases the risk of the virus spreading to the more vulnerable,” he added.

Other coronavirus news

Public Health England will be replaced by a new public health agency, UK health minister Matt Hancock confirmed today. The new agency, called the National Institute for Health Protection, will combine “the expertise of Public Health England with the enormous response capabilities of NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre,” Hancock said at the Policy Exchange think tank. Dido Harding, the current head of NHS Test and Trace, will lead the new organisation initially, Hancock said. NHS Test and Trace has been criticised for repeatedly failing to reach the proportion of contacts of people diagnosed with coronavirus that is recommended by government scientific advisors 80 per cent or more. Between 30 July and 5 August for instance, the system only managed to reach 74.2 per cent of the contacts of people who tested positive for the virus in England.

The proportion of people in the UK who reported experiencing symptoms of depression was 20 per cent in June, up from 10 per cent in July last year, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics.

Voters from six US states filed a lawsuit against the country’s president Donald Trump and the postmaster general Louis DeJoy yesterday over cuts to the US postal service ahead of the upcoming general election. Many states are expecting a surge in postal ballots this year due to the pandemic.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 775,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 21.9 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Travelling abroad safely: Many countries have seen an increase in coronavirus cases, making going abroad more of a gamble. So what are the different options for managing the current risks from international travel, and which countries have got it right?

Return of covid-19 to New Zealand: New Zealand has acted swiftly to contain a new coronavirus outbreak after going 102 days virus-free, but it’s still unclear whether it can stamp it out again.

Protestor holds placard reading 'Yo Gavin, I just wanna talk'A-level students hold a sit in protest at the Department for Education over the results fiasco

17 August

A-level and GCSE grades in England to be based on teachers’ predictions instead of controversial algorithm

Pupils in England will be given A-level and GCSE grades estimated by their teachers rather than by an algorithm that sparked protests after it was used to moderate the grades of A-level pupils last week. The algorithm, which was introduced because the pandemic disrupted the usual exam process, resulted in about 280,000 A-level pupils in England seeing their scores drop by at least one grade or more compared to their predicted results.Those from disadvantaged backgrounds were worst-affected. UK education minister Gavin Williamson today announced that England’s exams regulator, Ofqual is scrapping the algorithm, bringing policy in line with the UK’s other nations. Williamson and Ofqual chair, Roger Taylor apologised for the “distress” caused.

Other coronavirus news

England’s health agency, Public Health England, could be replaced by a new body specifically focused on dealing with pandemics. The new agency would be modelled on Germany’s Robert Koch Institute and is expected to be announced this week by the UK’s health minister, Matt Hancock, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph. The article also indicates that Hancock plans to merge the NHS Test and Trace scheme with the pandemic response work of Public Health England. “The reports in the media of a proposed ‘axing’ of Public Health England is of huge concern,” dijo Amitava Banerjee, clinical data scientist and cardiologist at University College London. A major restructuring of public health function, as the global covid-19 emergency continues, will divert limited resources away from public health measures such as testing and tracing, said Banerjee.

Voters in the US are concerned about whether it is still safe to post their ballots, after the country’s president Donald Trump last week said he would block additional funding required for the postal service to handle the expected surge in postal ballots this year. Many US states have been trying to make postal voting easier so that people are able to vote safely during the pandemic.

Corea del Sur tightened social distancing rules on Sunday after 197 new coronavirus cases linked to a new outbreak were confirmed on Saturday. “We’re facing a crisis where if the current spread isn’t controlled, it would bring an exponential rise in cases, which could in turn lead to the collapse of our medical system and enormous economic damage,” director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jeong Eun-kyeong said during a briefing.

New Zealand’s general election will be postponed by a month due to an on-going coronavirus outbreak in Auckland, the country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. Nine new cases in the new cluster were confirmed today, bringing the total to 58 cases so far.

UNA new test for coronavirus-specific T-cells immune cells that help the body fight infections could help researchers developing vaccine candidates. The test is being developed by UK company Indoor Biotechnologies, which says early trials found that some people who had the coronavirus but tested negative for antibodies went on to test positive for T-cells. It still isn’t clear whether antibodies or T-cells provide long-lasting immunity against the virus and how long such immunity might last.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 776,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 21.7 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Coronavirus and pets: Reports of pets being infected with the coronavirus have been growing, but how worried should owners be? And could pets be spreading the virus between people?

People sitting and waiting in a train station

Passengers wait next to the Eurostar Terminal at the Gare du Nord train station in Paris.

Michel Euler/AP/Shutterstock

14 August

UK visitors to France could face restrictions after UK imposed quarantine on arrivals

Travellers arriving in France from the UK could be required to quarantine for two weeks after arrival into the country, Clément Beaune, France’s junior minister for European Affairs, told journalists on Thursday. His statement came after the UK added France and the Netherlands to its list of countries from which arriving travellers will be required to quarantine for 14 days. France currently has a coronavirus case rate of 34.0 people per 100,000, according to cumulative figures for the last 14 days from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, with 41.6 cases per 100,000 people in the Netherlands. The case rate in the UK is currently 17.3 per 100,000 people. The UK’s new rules are effective from 4:00 BST on Saturday 15 August and will also apply for people arriving in the UK from Monaco, Malta, Turks and Caicos and Aruba. Transport minister Grant Shapps said that there are currently about 160,000 people from the UK on holidays in France.

Other coronavirus news

Restrictions affecting parts of northern England and Leicester will stay in place due to on-going local outbreaks, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care announced today. People living in the affected areas in Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Leicester aren’t allowed to meet with people from other households indoors or in private gardens. Oldham in Greater Manchester has experienced the largest week-on-week rise in cases in England, recording a rate of 107.5 cases per 100,000 people between 2 and 8 August, up from 57.8 during the previous week. The government says the restrictions will be reviewed again next week.

Elsewhere in England, easing of restrictions allowing small wedding receptions, live indoor performances and beauty treatments will go ahead from Saturday after being delayed from the original date of 1 August, UK prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed today. Bowling alleys, casinos and play centres will also be allowed to reopen.

Despite some local outbreaks, coronavirus cases across England as a whole appear to be levelling off, according to the latest results from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS estimates that 28,300 people in England one in 1900 people had the virus in the week ending 9 August, the same as the previous week.

New Zealand has extended a lockdown in Auckland by at least 12 days, the country’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. New Zealand had been free of locally transmitted coronavirus infections for 102 days until four people from the same household in Auckland tested positive for the virus earlier this week. The number of cases in the new outbreak there has since risen to 29.

North Korea has lifted a three-week lockdown in the border city of Kaesong after a suspected coronavirus case there, state media reported today. The World Health Organization last week said that tests on the suspected case a man who returned to North Korea after defecting had been inconclusive. North Korea has not reported any other cases.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 760,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 20.9 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Men move casket for a funeral

Staff of Guardian Funerals transport the casket of Covid-19 victim

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

13 August

UK government has changed the way deaths from covid-19 are recorded in England

England’s covid-19 death toll has been revised down by more than 5000, after the UK government announced a new UK-wide standard for recording deaths caused by the coronavirus. The changes mean the removal of 5377 deaths from Public Health England’s official record, decreasing the UK’s total numbers of deaths from the virus from 46,706 to 41,329 as of 12 August.

People who recovered from covid-19 before dying from other causes more than a month later may have been included in the previous death toll due to the way Public Health England was collecting its data. “It had become essentially useless for epidemiological monitoring,” dijo epidemiologist Keith Neal at the University of Nottingham, UK. From now on England’s official death toll will only include people who died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus, bringing it in line with the other nations in the UK.

Other coronavirus news

The number of patients admitted to hospitals in England for routine treatment was down by 67 per cent in June compared to the same time last year, according to data from NHS England. The number of people visiting accident and emergency units was also down, by 30 per cent compared to last year, as was the number going to their family doctor with symptoms of cancer and being urgently referred to a specialist , at 20 per cent lower than last year. The NHS England data also suggests more people waited longer than usual for planned procedures, such as knee and hip operations. The Health Foundation charity told the BBC that this indicates the NHS is still “nowhere close to business as usual following the first outbreak of covid-19,” and warned that long waiting times could lead to deterioration in people’s health.

The coronavirus may have been circulating in New Zealand for weeks prior to the country’s new outbreak, according to New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield. The first person in the new cluster of cases started showing symptoms as early as 31 July, Bloomfield said during a media briefing in Wellington, adding that genome sequencing was underway on the original four cases to try and trace the train of transmission. Officials are also investigating the theory that the cases were imported via refrigerated freight. New Zealand had been free of locally transmitted coronavirus infections for 102 days before four people from the same household tested positive earlier this week.

Authorities in two cities in China said they found traces of the coronavirus on imported frozen food and on food packaging. Samples of chicken wings imported to the city of Shenzhen from Brazil and packaging of frozen shrimp imported from Ecuador to a city in China’s Anhui province tested positive for the virus. It isn’t yet clear when the products became contaminated but China is increasing screening at its ports. The coronavirus can survive for up to two years frozen at -20°C but is destroyed by heating to 70°C. los World Health Organization says that there isn’t currently any evidence that people can catch the virus from food or food packaging.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 750,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 20.6 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Sweden’s coronavirus strategy: Sweden was one of the few European countries not to impose a compulsory lockdown. Its unusual strategy for tackling the coronavirus outbreak has both been hailed as a success, and condemned as a failure. So which is it?

Two women wearing face masks leaving a coronavirus testing tent

Two woman in Ripollet, Catalonia wearing face masks outside a coronavirus testing area.

PAU BARRENA/AFP via Getty Images

12 August

Germany and Spain among a growing list of western European countries where coronavirus cases are surging

Coronavirus cases are rising in Germany, Spain and other countries in western Europe, with Spain recording 1418 new infections on Tuesday, and Germany detecting 1200 cases in the last 24 hours, the country’s biggest daily increase for three months. In the Netherlands, daily new infections are back to about half the level they were at during the initial peak. Spain now has the highest rate of coronavirus infections in the region, with 94 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 38 in the Netherlands, 30 in France, 18 in the UK and 14 in Germany, according to cumulative figures for the last 14 days from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, says people returning from holiday may be the reason for the increasing number of cases in Germany, as the UK and Germany continue to warn people against non-essential travel to parts of Spain. Any holidaymakers returning to the UK from Spain are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The list of countries from which all arrivals to the UK must quarantine may be updated this week to include 14 more countries, including France.

Other coronavirus news

The World Health Organization (WHO) is in talks with Russian authorities about reviewing the coronavirus vaccine candidate whose approval for use in Russia yesterday sparked criticism from researchers. Russia’s vaccine, Sputnik-V, is not on the WHO’s list of six vaccines that have reached phase III trials involving clinical testing on large groups of people. Russia’s health minister Mikhail Murashko today dismissed safety concerns expressed by foreign researchers about the rapid approval of the vaccine as “groundless.”

Lebanon announced its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases yesterday since the start of the pandemic, with more than 300 new cases and seven deaths from covid-19. Hospitals in the country are overwhelmed following the aftermath of the explosion in Beirut last week. WHO spokesperson Tarik Jarasevic told a UN briefing yesterday that the displacement of people due to the explosion risks accelerating the spread of the coronavirus there.

At least 800 people are estimated to have died around the world as a result of misinformation about the coronavirus during the first three months of this year, a study has found. A further 5800 people are estimated to have been admitted to hospital for the same reason during this period. The majority of the deaths and hospitalisations were due to people consuming methanol and alcohol-based cleaning products, incorrectly believing that they were cures for covid-19, according to the study, which was published in The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide death toll has passed 744,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 20.4 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Children at risk: A staggering 115 million children in India are at risk of malnutrition, as the world’s largest school lunch programme has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Who should get vaccinated first?: It is August 2021, and the moment the world has been waiting for has finally arrived – a vaccine against covid-19 has passed all the tests and is ready to be rolled out. But this isn’t the end. There are more than 7.5 billion people in need of vaccination but perhaps only a billion doses available in the first six months of production. Who gets one?

Staying connected: Greeting neighbours or gossiping with a colleague can boost your health and well-being, but coronavirus lockdowns are putting that in jeopardy. Here’s how to stay connected.

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New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced new lockdown measures in Auckland after four new coronavirus cases were detected in the community

New Zealand government

11 August

New Zealand reimposes Auckland lockdown after first locally transmitted cases for 102 days

New Zealand has reported its first new coronavirus cases thought to be acquired through local transmission, after going 102 days without a single reported case outside of managed isolation or quarantine. Four people within one family in south Auckland tested positive for the virus, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said today at a press briefing. New Zealand has been widely praised for its aggressive response to the coronavirus, closing its borders to non-nationals and implementing one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, all at a time when the country had only 205 cases and no deaths from covid-19. Testing is now being ramped up in Auckland and lockdown restrictions will be reimposed there from tomorrow. Everyone except essential workers will be asked to work from home and schools will be closed for most children. Other public facilities, including bars and restaurants, will be required to close and gatherings will be limited to 10 people.

Other coronavirus news

Researchers have expressed concerns about the approval of a coronavirus vaccine candidate in Russia hoy. The virus has been approved for widespread use, despite only being tested in dozens of people. “There is no data on the Russian-led vaccine for the global health community to scrutinise,” dijo Michael Head, public health research fellow at the University of Southampton, UK. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said one of his daughters has already been inoculated, and claimed it was safe.

The number of contact tracers working for NHS Test and Trace will be reduced by 6000 in England by the end of this month, the UK government has announced. The remaining 12,000 contact tracers will work more closely with local public health authorities to help with contact tracing within communities. Between 16 and 22 July, NHS Test and Trace only managed to reach 75 per cent of the contacts of people who tested positive for the coronavirus in England. Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace said that having a more localised approach will ensure more contacts of coronavirus cases within communities can be reached.

Australia’s remote Northern Territory will keep its borders shut to coronavirus-affected states until at least 2022, according to local officials. People arriving from affected states will be required to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 737,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 20.1 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Question about the UK’s new rapid tests: Two 90-minute tests for the coronavirus will be rolled out by the UK government in the coming weeks – and while both are promising, neither has publicly available data to support its use.

Common cold virus vaccine: A vaccine that protects against one of the main common cold viruses – respiratory syncytial virus – has been shown to be safe and effective in a clinical trial and could be available by 2024.

Man wearing mask and hat in snow

A man seen in a street during a snowfall in the early stages of the pandemic.

Sergei Fadeichev/TASS via Getty Images

10 August

No indication there is seasonality with the coronavirus, says WHO

There is no indication that the coronavirus is seasonal and it could bounce back any time, World Health Organization (WHO) leaders said at a press briefing today. Evidence suggests the coronavirus is unlike flu, which tends to spike in autumn and winter. “If you take pressure off the virus, the virus will bounce back. That’s what we will say to countries in Europe – keep the pressure on,” said Mike Ryan, WHO executive director of the emergencies program. Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of WHO’s covid-19 response, said that the majority of the world’s population remains susceptible to the virus, and WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasised the importance of countries taking targeted action to tackle local outbreaks through methods like localised lockdowns employed in Leicester, UK.

Other coronavirus news

The WHO says it has only received a fraction of the funding it needs for an initiative aimed at developing and distributing drugs, vaccines and other tools to help tackle the pandemic. “While we’re grateful for those that have made contributions, we’re only 10 per cent of the way to funding the billions required to realise the promise of the ACT [Access to Covid-19 Tools] accelerator,” Tedros said during a press briefing today.

“Greece has formally entered a second wave of the epidemic,” Gkikas Magiorkinis, an epidemiologist at Athens University and one of the scientists advising the Greek government, told journalists today. This comes after Greece recorded its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with 203 confirmed on Sunday.

In France, it is now compulsory to wear a face mask outdoors in certain crowded areas within Paris. Health officials said the rate of positive coronavirus tests was 2.4 per cent in the Paris area compared to the average of 1.6 per cent for people tested in the country as a whole. Other cities, including Nice and Lille, have also introduced new rules making face masks mandatory in specific outdoor areas.

It has been more than 100 days since New Zealand last detected a locally acquired coronavirus case. As of today, the country has only 21 active infections, all of which are being managed in isolation facilities. Authorities are still testing thousands of people each day. “We need to be prepared to quickly stamp out any future cases,” said New Zealand’s director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield on Sunday.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 731,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 19.9 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.

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NHS advice board promoting Test and Trace in Birmingham city centre in the UK

Mike Kemp/In PIctures via Getty Images

7 August

The number of people estimated to have the virus in England may be levelling off

The number of people estimated to have covid-19 in England appears to be levelling off, after rising slightly in July, according to a random swab testing survey of almost 120,000 people by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS estimates that 28,300 people outside of hospitals and care homes in England had the virus in the week ending 2 August about one in every 1900 people. This is down slightly from the previous week’s estimate of 35,700. But it isn’t clear how infection rates may differ across different regions. In Wales, which was included in the survey for the first time, an estimated 1400 people had covid-19 in the week ending 2 August, equivalent to one in every 2200 people.

The proportion of people in the UK who say they have been wearing face coverings has gone up for the second week in a row, according to a separate ONS survey. In the week ending 2 August, 96 per cent of people said they had worn a face covering outside their home, up from 84 per cent in the previous week and 71 per cent the week before. The survey also found that 72 per cent of people said they had socialised with others in person, just over half of whom said they had always maintained social distancing.

Other coronavirus news

Coronavirus vaccine trials could be undermined by the lack of diversity among participants, according to researchers. In the recent trial of a coronavirus vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca, fewer than 1 per cent of the approximately 1000 participants were black and only about 5 per cent were Asian, compared to 91 per cent of participants who were white. In a smaller trial of a vaccine candidate being developed by US company Moderna, 40 out of 45 participants were white. “Diversity is important to ensure pockets of people don’t have adverse side-effects,” Oluwadamilola Fayanju, a surgeon and researcher at Duke University told the Guardian.

The city of Preston in England is being placed under stricter local lockdown measures following a rise in coronavirus cases. From midnight on 7 August residents from different households aren’t allowed to meet indoors or in private gardens. These new measures are in line with those currently in place in east Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire.

More than one million people in countries across Africa have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, although health officials say this is certainly an underestimate. “We haven’t seen the peak in Africa yet,” Mary Stephen, technical officer at the World Health Organization’s regional office for Africa told Al Jazeera. Although the majority of cases confirmed so far are in South Africa, it is also performing significantly more tests than other African countries.

India has recorded its highest number of daily new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with 62,538 cases confirmed on Friday. There have been more than 2 million cases recorded in the country since the pandemic began.

Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide death toll has passed 715,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 19.1 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.


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