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Covid-19 information: True US dying toll may very well be greater than 720,000

Lila Blanks holds the casket of her husband, Gregory Blanks, 50, who died of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), forward of his funeral in San Felipe, Texas.

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Newest coronavirus information as of 5pm on 22 February

Official US dying toll passes 500,000 and true determine may very well be 720,000

The official dying toll from covid-19 within the US has handed the five hundred,000 mark. Nevertheless, there is substantial undercounting and the true dying toll may very well be round 720,000, Andrew Stokes at Boston College in Massachusetts informed New Scientist


The US dying toll is the highest of any nation on this planet. “It’s terrible. It is historic. We haven’t seen anything even close to this for well over a hundred years, since the 1918 pandemic of influenza,” the US president’s chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci told NBC. Brazil is second with practically 250,000 deaths, adopted by Mexico with 180,000, India with 156,000 and the UK with 121,000. Per capita, the UK also has the fourth highest covid-19 death rate on this planet.

Case numbers within the US at the moment are declining quick. Nevertheless, the extra transmissible B.1.1.7 variant, first detected within the UK is now spreading, and there are fears it may result in yet one more wave of infections.

Different coronavirus information

Colleges in England will reopen on 8 March within the first of a sequence of steps in direction of easing a lockdown imposed on 5 January. From 29 March out of doors sports activities and out of doors conferences of as much as six folks, or two households, are as a result of be allowed. If all goes to plan, all limits on social contact may finish by 21 June. The UK’s chief scientific advisor Patrick Vallance mentioned the easing ought to proceed slowly to keep away from the chance of a resurgence. “We are not starting all this as of today from a good position. We are not now in a sort of ‘let’s release everything’ [position]. We are in a not very good position that is getting better,” he mentioned at a press briefing immediately. 

Whereas vaccines are anticipated to make an enormous distinction on curbing instances, Vallance mentioned it was essential to keep in mind that as restrictions are relaxed, many individuals would nonetheless be unprotected. He identified that not the entire inhabitants will probably be vaccinated, and the vaccines don’t provide a 100 per cent safety towards an infection.

Vallance mentioned it was essential to drive instances down low and area out relaxations so the impact may very well be monitored. “The message that comes out of all the modelling is: start from a low baseline, so try and get numbers down before you start releasing. Go slowly. Go in blocks [of relaxation] that you can measure the effect of after 4 or 5 weeks,” he mentioned. 

Even a single vaccine dose significantly reduces the chance of being hospitalised with covid-19, in keeping with a preliminary study done in Scotland. By the fifth week after receiving their first dose, those that had obtained the Oxford/AstraZeneac jab had decreased their threat of hospitalisation by as much as 94 per cent, and those that obtained the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by as much as 85 per cent, the examine estimates.

A second “real world” study by Public Health England exhibits that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine prevented 70 per cent of asymptomatic and symptomatic infections in well being employees in England underneath 65, simply 14 days after vaccination.

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Coronavirus deaths

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The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.47 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 111.5 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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What to learn, watch and take heed to about coronavirus

The New York Times is monitoring hospital mattress occupancy in England in an interactive graphic.

Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary in regards to the inside story of the event of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine towards covid-19.

Race Against the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel 4 documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic by way of the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.

The New York Times is assessing the progress of various vaccine candidates and potential drug therapies for covid-19, and rating them for effectiveness and security.

Humans of COVID-19 is a undertaking highlighting the experiences of key employees on the frontline within the combat towards coronavirus within the UK, by way of social media.

Belly Mujinga: Searching for the Truth is a BBC Panorama investigation of the dying of transport employee Stomach Mujinga from covid-19, following studies she had been coughed and spat on by a buyer at London’s Victoria Station.

Coronavirus, Explained on Netflix is a brief documentary sequence inspecting the on-going coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to combat it and methods to handle its psychological well being toll.

New Scientist Weekly options updates and evaluation on the newest developments within the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees knowledgeable journalists from the journal talk about the largest science tales to hit the headlines every week – from expertise and area, to well being and the atmosphere.

COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened, and How to Stop the Next One by Debora Mackenzie is about how the pandemic occurred and why it should occur once more if we don’t do issues in another way in future.

The Rules of Contagion is in regards to the new science of contagion and the stunning methods it shapes our lives and behavior. The creator, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist on the London College of Hygiene and Tropical Drugs, UK, and within the e book he examines how ailments unfold and why they cease.

Earlier updates

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Geoff Holland, 90, and Jenny Holland, 86, obtain their injections of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at a former Wickes retailer in Mansfield, UK.

Joe Giddens/Pool by way of REUTERS

19 February

95 per cent of individuals over 70 in Nice Britain have had a vaccine dose

In Nice Britain, 95 per cent of individuals aged over 70 have had not less than one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, in keeping with a survey of 6000 people by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). A lot of the the rest have been provided a vaccine and are ready to obtain it. Lower than 1 per cent of individuals aged over 70 years mentioned they declined the provide of a vaccine. Total, 91 per cent of all adults surveyed mentioned that they had both been vaccinated already or would get vaccinated when provided it. These numbers are higher than anticipated. As an example, in a single UK survey achieved in December earlier than vaccination started, simply 72 per cent said they were willing to get vaccinated. Nevertheless, the ONS survey didn’t embrace adults residing in care properties or different institutions, and due to small pattern sizes, the ONS says the proportion of individuals saying they’ve declined vaccination must be handled with warning.

Different coronavirus new

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doesn’t have to be saved ultracold as was beforehand thought when the vaccine was authorized to be used. The businesses say it’s steady at between -25ºC and -15ºC, and have requested regulators to change the terms on which it was approved. New Scientist reported in November that different mRNA vaccines utilizing the identical expertise had been steady at fridge temperatures, and that the identical must be true of the Pfizer vaccine.

Japan has reported 91 instances of individuals contaminated with a new coronavirus variant called B.1.1.316. It has the E484K mutation additionally discovered within the South African and Brazilian variants, which permits the virus to partially evade immunity from previous an infection or vaccination. Nevertheless, Japan has had decrease ranges of an infection than South Africa or Brazil, and simply 7000 deaths.

Brazil is vaccinating an entire town as an experiment to see what impact it has on coronavirus transmission. The complete grownup inhabitants of Serrana within the state of São Paulo, estimated to be 30,000, will probably be provided the CoronaVac vaccine made by China-based firm Sinovac.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.44 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 110.4 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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A girl walks by a digital memorial to MTA employees known as “Travels Far: A Memorial Honoring Our Colleagues Lost To Covid-19” within the subway station at Union Sq. in New York Metropolis.

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

18 February

Life expectancy fell by one yr in 2020, helped by the coronavirus

Life expectancy within the US fell by one yr on common within the first half of 2020, in keeping with figures from the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The covid-19 pandemic is prone to be a major contributor, experts told CNN. US life expectancy is now the bottom it has been since 2006. “Covid is on track to cause more deaths than cancer or heart disease,” Eileen Crimmins on the College of Southern California informed CNN.

The autumn was seen throughout ethnic teams however was most pronounced in minorities. Black Individuals misplaced 2.7 years off their life expectancy, and Hispanics misplaced 1.9 years, whereas white Individuals misplaced 0.8 years. Life expectancy disparities between Black and white folks within the US had been shrinking lately however the pandemic has reversed a few of that progress. Over the previous 40 years, life expectancy had been steadily rising within the US, other than between 2014 and 2017, when it fell by one third of a yr. This has been attributed to the epidemic of opioid misuse within the nation, in addition to stagnating decline in deaths from coronary heart illness.

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New coronavirus infections in England fell by two-thirds between mid-January and the primary two weeks of February. The autumn exhibits “lockdown measures are effectively bringing infections down”, mentioned Paul Elliott at Imperial Faculty London in an announcement. The figures come from one of many largest and most authoritative surveys of infections known as REACT. At the moment about one in 200 individuals are contaminated in England, an identical degree to September. The nationwide R quantity – the typical variety of folks one particular person will infect – is estimated to be between 0.69 and 0.76, which means that infections are falling. The findings are based mostly on greater than 85,000 swab assessments from randomly chosen folks. Whereas all areas of England confirmed declining infections, they fell most steeply in London, the South East and West Midlands, and fewer steeply within the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber. This may very well be linked to harder lockdown guidelines being launched earlier in London and the South East, the BBC reported.

Greece has agreed to a trial of permitting vacationers to enter the nation if they’ve been vaccinated towards covid-19, as soon as flights resume. The preliminary trial will probably be with guests from Israel, which has given the coronavirus vaccine to a better proportion of its inhabitants than another nation. Greece’s tourism minister, Haris Theoharis informed BBC Radio 4’s At this time programme that the nation is in talks with British officers about how an identical scheme may work with the UK.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 110 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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A coronavirus lateral circulation gadget displaying a optimistic check consequence.

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17 February

UK authorities plans to ship 400,000 assessments a day to properties and workplaces

Speedy coronavirus assessments will begin being despatched out by publish subsequent month to permit twice-weekly testing of individuals with out covid-19 signs for as much as two-thirds of England’s inhabitants. The pregnancy-test-style lateral circulation assays, which search for viral proteins in a swab from the nostril or throat, produce outcomes inside half an hour, however they aren’t as correct because the slower PCR assessments utilized in labs and clinics. The lateral circulation assessments are already getting used for screening folks with out covid-19 signs in settings comparable to healthcare, care properties and in sure colleges and universities. The variety of these assessments carried out has elevated massively previously month. The most recent deliberate growth would contain finishing up greater than 400,000 assessments a day in properties and workplaces, in keeping with documents seen by The Times. The roll-out would start earlier than colleges open up face-to-face educating – presently slated for 8 March in England – and the assessments can be despatched to schoolchildren, their households and lecturers, in addition to anybody who can’t work from home. It will be accompanied by a marketing campaign to encourage uptake provisionally known as “Are you ready? Get testing. Go.”

Utilizing lateral circulation assessments for mass screening is controversial, as a result of they’ve a larger false-negative price than PCR assessments. Proponents say lateral circulation assessments discover people who find themselves most infectious. Critics say they miss people who find themselves nonetheless able to transmitting the virus and who’re then falsely reassured they’re freed from the virus, so could behave extra riskily. A spokesperson for the UK’s Division of Well being and Social Care mentioned their plans for increasing testing haven’t but been finalised.

Different coronavirus information

4 extra signs must be added to the record of indicators that individuals want a coronavirus test, researchers say. The brand new signs are fatigue, headache, sore throat and diarrhoea. The prevailing signs that point out the necessity for a check are cough, fever or lack of style or scent. The findings come from an evaluation of customers of an app known as the Zoe Covid Symptom Study, which tracks covid-19 signs and instances. Utilizing these additional indicators as a set off for testing would result in many extra folks being examined who don’t have the virus, however it will additionally decide up 40 per cent extra coronavirus instances, the researchers have calculated. 

The world’s first examine that may intentionally infect wholesome volunteers with the coronavirus will begin next month. Initially, 90 folks aged 18-30 could have a small dose of the virus squirted up their nostril and can then be fastidiously monitored to see how their immune system reacts and to search out the smallest dose wanted for a gentle an infection. In future the experimenters will examine how efficient vaccines are towards present and novel variants of the virus, mentioned Chris Chiu at Imperial Faculty London.

South Africa will this week turn out to be the primary nation on this planet to start giving people the Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccine. This one-shot jab is efficient at stopping extreme illness from the coronavirus variant prevalent in that nation.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.43 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 109.6 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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A woman wearing a face mask stands on a balcony in a retirement home

A girl in a retirement residence appears out on the view from her balcony

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16 February

Almost two million extra folks will probably be added to England’s shielding record

About 1.7 million people in England will probably be informed to defend and take additional precautions from covid-19 after they had been discovered to be at critical threat of illness or dying. They may also be prioritised for covid-19 vaccination. The addition will convey the full quantity on the UK authorities’s shielding record to virtually 4 million, all of whom are being suggested to defend till 31 March. 

The folks being added to the record have been recognized utilizing an algorithm to foretell whether or not an individual is susceptible to extreme illness or dying from covid-19. The algorithm incorporates data on age, ethnicity, physique mass index, different well being circumstances and postcode (which is indicative of the extent of deprivation). “As we learn more about covid-19, we’re continuously reviewing the evidence,” Jenny Harries, one among England’s deputy chief medical officers, informed a briefing on 16 February. “It was very clear that not all of those individuals who were at risk were identified by the binary approach,” she mentioned. Harries mentioned it will likely be as much as the people to determine whether or not to observe the shielding recommendation or not.

Different coronavirus information

An estimated one in 5 folks in England had antibodies towards the coronavirus within the 28 days as much as 1 February, suggesting that they had beforehand been contaminated or had obtained a covid-19 vaccine, in keeping with the Office for National Statistics. In Wales and Northern Eire the equal estimate was one in 7 and for Scotland it was one in 9 folks. Individuals had been examined for antibodies as a part of the COVID-19 An infection Survey within the UK. In England, folks aged 80 and over had been most definitely to check optimistic for antibodies with 40.9 per cent testing optimistic, which might be as a result of excessive vaccination price on this group. “It could be tempting to assume that quantifying antibody levels like this tells us the level and distribution of immunity to covid-19 in the population, but we do not know what components of the immune system are required for immunity or how long protection will last,” mentioned Simon Clarke on the College of Studying in a statement.

Early knowledge from vaccinations in Israel point out that the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine prevents 94 per cent of symptomatic coronavirus infections. The examine checked out 600,000 totally vaccinated folks and the identical variety of unvaccinated folks. It is a very comparable degree of effectiveness to that recorded in medical trials of the vaccine. Israel’s well being fund, Clalit, used coronavirus check outcomes extracted from folks’s well being information to match numbers of infections between those that had obtained two doses of the vaccine and those that hadn’t obtained any doses. There have been 94 per cent fewer infections amongst those that had been vaccinated. Almost half of Israel’s resident adult population have obtained not less than one dose of covid-19 vaccine to this point.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.41 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 109 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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A laboratory technician handles vials in a laboratory

Genome sequencing of the coronavirus and its variants on the Centre Nationwide de Reference in France


15 February

Coronavirus variants carrying comparable mutations detected within the US 

Seven coronavirus variants carrying similar mutations have been detected within the US. All of the variants, reported in a preliminary study, have gained a mutation on the similar location of their genome and seem to belong to the identical lineage as a virus first sequenced on 1 December, which subsequently grew to become extra frequent. “There’s clearly something going on with this mutation,” Jeremy Kamil at Louisiana State College and co-author of the examine, told the New York Times. It isn’t clear if the mutation makes the variants extra transmissible, just like the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first sequenced within the UK, however its location in a gene that influences how the virus enters human cells is regarding. “I think there’s a clear signature of an evolutionary benefit,” mentioned Kamil. The preliminary examine was launched on a pre-print server and has not been peer-reviewed.

Different coronavirus information

UK well being minister Matt Hancock revealed that a third of social care workers in England haven’t had a covid-19 vaccine but, regardless of being among the many first precedence teams. “We’ll keep offering and keep contacting people who work in social care,” Hancock informed the BBC’s Breakfast present. “Obviously the uptake there is very important,” he mentioned. Individually, a preliminary examine discovered lower covid-19 vaccine uptake amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees on the College Hospitals of Leicester NHS Belief in England. “These findings give significant cause for concern, as ethnic minority groups (especially those working in healthcare) are at higher risk of infection with [the coronavirus] and adverse outcome from covid-19,” mentioned the report, which has not been peer-reviewed. Greater than 15 million people have obtained a dose of covid-19 vaccine within the UK to this point, in keeping with the government’s target of providing a primary dose of vaccine to 4 precedence teams by mid-February.

“We’ll do everything we can” to reopen schools in England by 8 March, UK prime minister Boris Johnson has mentioned, including: “But we’ve got to keep looking at the data, we’ve got to keep looking at the rates of infection, don’t forget they’re still very high.” The UK authorities is anticipated to set out plans for ending restrictions at a briefing on 22 February. Johnson mentioned the federal government’s plans will probably be “cautious but irreversible”.

The first travellers required to remain at quarantine resorts in England arrived at London’s Heathrow airport on 15 February. Individuals arriving within the UK from 33 “red list” international locations at the moment are required to enter obligatory lodge quarantine for 10 days on arrival, at their very own expense.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.4 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 108 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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A girl receives the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid19 vaccine at an NHS vaccination heart in Ealing, west London

NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

12 February

Vaccinations of individuals underneath 70 start in England subsequent week

Vaccinators in England can now start giving covid-19 vaccines to folks aged between 65 and 69, so long as they’ve already provided jabs to older and clinically weak folks within the high precedence teams. “We have been told by NHS England that, in exceptional circumstances, where we have reached other groups, we can move on to cohort five [people aged 65 to 69],” an nameless physician informed the Guardian. Throughout the UK, 14 million folks had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 12 February – equal to about 20 per cent of the full inhabitants.

Infections fall throughout the UK

Coronavirus infections appear to be falling throughout the UK. The Office for National Statistics estimates that about one in 80 folks in England had covid-19 within the week as much as 6 February, down from one in 65 folks the earlier week. In Wales, Northern Eire and Scotland the equal figures for the latest week are roughly one in 85, one in 75 and one in 150 folks respectively, all down from the earlier week’s figures. The most recent official estimate of the R quantity – the typical variety of folks every particular person with coronavirus infects – places it between 0.7 and 0.9  for the UK as an entire, indicating the nation’s epidemic is shrinking. 

Neil Ferguson at Imperial Faculty London, who advises the UK authorities as a part of the New and Rising Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, mentioned lockdowns have helped drive down instances. “They’re basically halving about every 17 days at the moment,” he told Politico’s Westminster Insider podcast. Ferguson mentioned it is perhaps doable to reopen not less than major colleges in a month’s time. “And if we continue to see then a continued decline without large outbreaks, then perhaps starting to relax other aspects of society the following month,” he added. UK prime minister Boris Johnson has mentioned discussions on reopening colleges will occur within the week beginning 22 February, with colleges doubtlessly in a position to reopen from 8 March.

Different coronavirus information

Germany is imposing strict new border controls as a result of concern over coronavirus variants, with a ban on journey into the nation from the Czech Republic and Austria the place the B.1351 and B.1.1.7 variants of the virus had been discovered to be prevalent. Returning residents and sure important employees will probably be exempt. 

French well being authority Haute Autorite de Sante really helpful that individuals who have already had covid-19 and recovered ought to only be offered a single shot of covid-19 vaccine. “The single dose of vaccine will act as a reminder,” it mentioned in an announcement.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.37 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 107 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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Photo of a person's hand holding a box of medication labelled tocilizumab

A pharmacist in France shows a field of tocilizumab, which is used within the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis

PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/REUTERS/Alamy Inventory Photograph

11 February

Roche’s arthritis drug tocilizumab discovered to chop threat of dying amongst sufferers with extreme covid-19

The arthritis drug tocilizumab reduces the risk of death amongst severely in poor health covid-19 sufferers, in keeping with findings from the RECOVERY trial, which has been testing a variety of potential therapies for the illness since March final yr. The examine discovered that 29 per cent of covid-19 sufferers who obtained tocilizumab died inside 28 days, in comparison with 33 per cent of those that didn’t obtain the drug. Remedy with tocilizumab – bought underneath the model identify Actemra by Swiss firm Roche – additionally shortened the time to restoration and decreased the requirement for mechanical air flow. The trial included 2022 covid-19 sufferers randomly allotted to obtain tocilizumab along with their customary care and 2094 sufferers allotted to straightforward care solely, which for 82 per cent of all sufferers within the examine included therapy with a steroid, comparable to dexamethasone. Final yr, dexamethasone grew to become the first drug discovered to cut back dying charges in covid-19 sufferers. The newest outcomes point out that tocilizumab supplies extra advantages when used with steroids, like dexamethasone. “Used in combination, the impact is substantial,” mentioned Martin Landray on the College of Oxford, one of many lead investigators on the trial. “After dexamethasone (steroids), this is the most significant advance in the treatment of covid,” mentioned Athimalaipet Ramanan on the College of Bristol in a statement.

Different coronavirus information

The US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) issued up to date steerage saying individuals who have been “fully vaccinated” towards covid-19 are no longer advised to quarantine if they’re uncovered to somebody who assessments optimistic for coronavirus. This is applicable to individuals who have had each doses of a covid-19 vaccine not less than two weeks in the past. Nevertheless, the CDC mentioned this doesn’t imply that totally vaccinated people ought to cease taking precautions and added that individuals who had their pictures three months in the past or extra ought to nonetheless quarantine if they’re uncovered, because it isn’t recognized how lengthy safety towards covid-19 lasts.

US well being officers are advising people in the country to consider wearing two masks on high of one another to higher shield themselves towards coronavirus an infection. A CDC report instructed sporting a material masks over a disposable surgical masks or bettering the match of a single surgical masks as ways to spice up safety.

It could take six to nine months to provide and deploy covid-19 vaccines that work towards new variants of the coronavirus, in keeping with AstraZeneca. The UK-Swedish firm made this assertion after its present vaccine was discovered to be much less efficient towards the coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa.

The Guardian reported that more than 40 per cent of staff on the UK’s largest care residence supplier haven’t obtained any doses of covid-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.35 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 107 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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A woman is pictured sitting on a chair, holding a coronavirus test kit

A girl takes a coronavirus check at a short lived testing facility in London, UK

Hollie Adams/Getty Photos

10 February

Chills, lack of urge for food, headache and muscle ache linked to covid-19 in new examine

New symptoms have been linked to covid-19 in sure age teams, together with chills, lack of urge for food, headache and muscle ache, in Imperial College London’s REACT study. The 4 new signs had been recognized by researchers by way of random swab testing and questioning of greater than one million folks in England, performed between June 2020 and January 2021. The researchers discovered an affiliation between testing optimistic for the coronavirus and reporting any of those new signs or different signs beforehand linked to covid-19, comparable to a persistent cough, fever or a loss or change in sense of style or scent. 

The extra signs folks had, the extra doubtless they had been to check optimistic, though there was some variation in signs throughout totally different age teams. Chills had been linked with an infection throughout all age teams, whereas complications had been reported primarily in youngsters aged 5-17, urge for food loss in adults over 18 and muscle aches in these aged 18-54. Contaminated 5-17 yr olds had been additionally much less prone to report experiencing fever, persistent cough and urge for food loss, compared with adults.

The REACT examine additionally checked out whether or not reported signs modified earlier than and after the B.1.1.7 variant grew to become the dominant variant within the UK. It discovered that signs had been largely comparable, regardless of the elevated prevalence of B.1.1.7. Nevertheless, loss or change of sense of scent was much less predictive of getting covid-19 in January when B.1.1.7 accounted for about 86 per cent of infections, in contrast with November to December when it was 16 per cent. “As the epidemic progresses and new variants emerge, it’s essential that we keep monitoring how the virus affects people so that testing programmes meet changing needs,” mentioned Joshua Elliott, one of many researchers behind the examine at Imperial Faculty London, in an announcement.

Different coronavirus information

Individuals within the UK are going to need to “get used to the idea of vaccinating and revaccinating in the autumn as we face these new variants”, UK prime minister Boris Johnson told parliament on 10 February. A number of vaccine producers have confirmed that they’re already engaged on new variations of their covid-19 vaccines to verify they continue to be efficient. The UK authorities not too long ago introduced a partnership with producer CureVac to quickly manufacture new vaccines in response to new coronavirus variants if wanted. “We believe that they may help us to develop vaccines that can respond at scale to new variants of the virus,” mentioned Johnson.

England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam said he doesn’t assume the B.1351 coronavirus variant first recognized in South Africa “is going to be a dominant issue in the next few months”. Talking on BBC Information, Van-Tam mentioned 90 per cent of instances within the UK in the mean time are attributable to the B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in Kent.

South Africa is considering selling or exchanging its doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine, in keeping with the nation’s well being minister. Plans to start out administering the jabs had been placed on maintain this week after a small, preliminary examine indicated it could not shield towards delicate or reasonable covid-19 attributable to the B.1.351 variant.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.34 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 107 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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Peter Ben Embarek, a member of the WHO-China joint study team, gestures with his hand as he answers a question during a press conference

Peter Ben Embarek solutions questions on the WHO-China joint examine press convention in Wuhan, China on 9 February

Xinhua Information Company/PA Photos

9 February

WHO group in China is investigating idea that coronavirus was unfold by way of frozen meals

The World Well being Group (WHO) mission in Wuhan, China has ruled out the possibility that the coronavirus originated in a laboratory, however the group is investigating whether or not the virus got here from frozen meals, probably from outdoors China. The investigation group chief Peter Ben Embarek mentioned the virus appears to have originated in bats, as initially thought, nevertheless it was in all probability transmitted to people by way of an unknown intermediate species, probably a lifeless or frozen animal meals product. Embarek mentioned it’s “extremely unlikely” that the virus escaped from a lab. The WHO mission arrived in China in January and spent 4 weeks researching the origin of the coronavirus with web site visits to the Huanan seafood market, initially suspected because the supply of the virus, in addition to the laboratories on the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was additionally being investigated as a possible supply. It introduced its preliminary findings at a press briefing in Wuhan on 9 February. 

Different coronavirus information

Individuals arriving in England who’re required to quarantine in resorts will probably be charged a fee of £1750 to cowl the price of their keep, transport and coronavirus assessments, UK well being minister Matt Hancock introduced. Individuals who fail to quarantine face fines of as much as £10,000, whereas those that lie on their passenger locator types about visiting any of 33 “red list” countries withstand 10 years in jail. Hancock mentioned comparable measures are being checked out for the devolved nations. “People who flout these rules are putting us all at risk,” he informed parliament on Tuesday. He additionally confirmed that an enhanced testing regime for all arrivals would begin on 15 February, from which level all arrivals will probably be required to get examined for the coronavirus on the second and eighth days of their 10-day quarantine interval.

Additional covid-19 testing will begin in parts of Greater Manchester within the UK, following the invention of 4 folks contaminated with a mutated model of the B.1.1.7 variant, first recognized in Kent. The 4 folks, from two separate households in Larger Manchester, had been discovered to be contaminated with a virus carrying the E484K mutation. The mutation is regarding, as there may be proof that some covid-19 vaccines could also be much less efficient towards the B.1.351 variant, often known as the “South Africa variant”, which has the identical mutation.  

The NHS covid-19 app has told 1.7 million people in England and Wales to self-isolate since its launch in September. A preliminary analysis by researchers on the College of Oxford and the Alan Turing Institute signifies 594,000 coronavirus instances have been prevented by the app. The app has had about 21.7 million downloads, though inner knowledge suggests about 16.5 million individuals are presently actively utilizing its contact-tracing device, in keeping with the BBC.

Coronavirus deaths

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Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.32 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 106 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

South Africa variant: South Africa paused its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because it may not be efficient towards the South African B.1.351 coronavirus variant – however it’s nonetheless prone to restrict the severity of covid-19.

A person wearing a face mask leans out of a car window to get vaccinated

An individual receives a covid-19 vaccine at a drive-through vaccination centre in St Albans, UK

REUTERS/Paul Childs

8 February

Researchers are investigating methods to change covid-19 vaccines to sort out the South Africa variant and others that emerge

UK ministers say work is underway to tweak existing covid-19 vaccines to tackle new variants of the coronavirus together with the B.1.351 coronavirus variant, generally known as the “South Africa variant”. On 6 February, a small, preliminary examine was reported to show that the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine could not shield towards delicate or reasonable covid-19 attributable to B.1.351. At the least 147 instances of this variant have now been detected within the UK. “Our brilliant scientists and medical advisers are now working on the potential for new versions of existing vaccines to offer further protections against covid variants,” Nadhim Zahawi, minister for covid-19 vaccine deployment, wrote within the Telegraph. As a precaution, South Africa – the place the variant accounts for about 90 per cent of latest coronavirus instances – has put its rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine on hold. Nevertheless, the examine, which has not but been printed or peer-reviewed, was comparatively small and didn’t take a look at the affect of the vaccine on extreme illness or dying.

Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford, one of many lead vaccine researchers on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, mentioned a modified model that’s efficient towards the South Africa variant may very well be able to deploy within the autumn. “What we’re seeing from other vaccine developers is that they have a reduction in efficacy against some of the variant viruses,” Gilbert informed the BBC’s Andrew Marr Present on 7 February, including that though vaccines could also be much less efficient at lowering instances with new variants, they nonetheless seem like protecting towards dying, hospitalisation and extreme illness. Different covid-19 vaccine producers are additionally engaged on new variations of their vaccines to verify they continue to be efficient. “We’re very confident in all the vaccines that we are using, and I think it’s important for people to bear in mind that all of them, we think, are effective in delivering a high degree of protection against serious illness and death, which is the most important thing,” mentioned UK prime minister Boris Johnson, in an interview with Sky News on 8 February. “We will be continuing to study the results, the effectiveness, of the vaccine rollout.”

Different coronavirus information

All folks residing within the UK will probably be eligible to receive a covid-19 vaccine no matter whether or not they have the authorized proper to work and dwell within the nation, the UK authorities mentioned on 8 February. “Coronavirus vaccines will be offered to everyone living in the UK free of charge, regardless of immigration status,” a authorities spokesperson informed Reuters. The federal government mentioned getting the vaccine wouldn’t set off immigration checks.

Eire mentioned it should crack down on travellers returning to the UK from the Center East by way of Eire to keep away from not too long ago launched quarantine guidelines. The variety of folks travelling to Dublin from Dubai has risen because the UK added the United Arab Emirates to its journey ban record in January.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.31 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 106 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: The strain of the pandemic dangers constructing to burnout, however information that vaccines assist cease folks catching and spreading the coronavirus gives hope of launch.

Three people wearing face coverings sit on chairs in a waiting area

Individuals wait to obtain the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at Copes pharmacy in Streatham, England

Dan Kitwood/Getty Photos

5 February

Early outcomes recommend the Oxford covid-19 vaccine works towards B.1.1.7 virus variant

Preliminary outcomes point out that the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca is effective against the highly transmissible coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which was first detected within the UK. Researchers on the College of Oxford analysed swabs from vaccine trial contributors who had examined optimistic for the coronavirus between 1 October 2020 and 14 January 2021, to find out the variant of the virus with which that they had been contaminated. They discovered comparable efficacy charges of the vaccine towards the B.1.1.7 variant (74.6 per cent efficient) and the unique virus (84 per cent efficient). That is although these contaminated with the B.1.1.7 variant produced fewer antibodies that might neutralise the virus. The outcomes had been released online as a pre-print and haven’t been peer-reviewed.

Vaccine researchers are investigating methods to change present covid-19 vaccines quickly to make sure continued safety towards different new variants as nicely. “We are working with AstraZeneca to optimise the pipeline required for a strain change should one become necessary,” mentioned Sarah Gilbert on the College of Oxford in a statement. “This is the same issue that is faced by all of the vaccine developers, and we will continue to monitor the emergence of new variants that arise in readiness for a future strain change,” she mentioned. “All viruses accumulate mutations over time, and for influenza vaccines there is a well-known process of global viral surveillance, and selection of strains for an annual update of the vaccines.”

Different coronavirus information

Coronavirus instances appear to be falling in most of the UK. The newest outcomes from a random swab testing survey by the Office for National Statistics point out optimistic assessments had been falling in England, Scotland and Northern Eire within the week as much as 30 January. New infections throughout the UK as an entire are estimated to be falling by between 2 and 5 per cent every day, and the newest official estimate for the UK’s R quantity – the typical variety of folks every coronavirus case infects – places it between 0.7 and 1.0. That is most definitely to characterize the state of affairs two to a few weeks in the past, as a result of a time lag within the knowledge. The UK authorities mentioned it goals for all people aged 50 and above to have been provided a covid-19 vaccine by Could, clarifying earlier feedback by a spokesperson for UK prime minister Boris Johnson who on 4 February mentioned the federal government’s goal was “spring”.

Johnson & Johnson applied for an emergency use authorisation from the US Meals and Drug Administration for its covid-19 vaccine. The corporate introduced final week that the single-dose vaccine had an efficacy of about 66 per cent in section III trials. If authorized, it will turn out to be the third covid-19 vaccine authorised for emergency use within the US, after these developed by Pfizer and its companion BioNTech and by Moderna.

Israel introduced it will ease lockdown restrictions from 7 am native time on 7 February however will maintain its borders closed, after a slight discount in coronavirus instances. Nearly 80 per cent of people over 50 in Israel have obtained a covid-19 vaccine to this point. The nation is vaccinating its 9 million residents at a better price than another nation.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.28 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 105 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

A person wearing personal protective equipment holds a vaccine vial and syringe between their fingers

A health care provider prepares to manage the Pfizer/BioNTech covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, UK

NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

4 February

UK plans to check impact of giving one dose every of the Pfizer and Astrazeneca covid-19 vaccines

A UK trial is aiming to analyze the affect of giving people two different covid-19 vaccines for his or her first and second doses. With the ability to use both vaccine will create extra flexibility within the supply of doses, and assist take care of disruption in provides, mentioned England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam. He said combining two totally different vaccines on this approach may additionally increase immune responses, doubtlessly main to higher safety towards covid-19. The trial, which is being led by researchers on the College of Oxford and funded by the UK authorities’s vaccine taskforce, will recruit 820 volunteers over the age of fifty who haven’t but obtained a covid-19 vaccine. Contributors will then obtain a primary dose of both the vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca or the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. A few of them will get the identical vaccine once more for his or her second dose 4 or 12 weeks later and others will get a second dose of the opposite vaccine, to check the impact of mixing the 2 pictures and of various time intervals between doses. 

UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi mentioned the country is on track to meet its target of vaccinating all folks within the 4 precedence teams towards covid-19 by 15 February. He informed parliament it has been “an incredible effort” that has “drawn on the hard work of so many”. Final month, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the UK authorities goals to have given a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine to all these over 70, probably the most clinically weak folks and frontline well being and social care employees by 15 February – equal to about 15 million folks. Throughout the UK, more than 10.4 million people had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 4 February.

Different coronavirus information

Worldwide travel was associated with increased death rates within the worst-affected international locations in the course of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, in keeping with a examine printed within the scientific journal BMJ Open. Tiberiu Pana on the College of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues analysed the connection between country-level elements – comparable to worldwide arrivals, inhabitants density and well being indicators – and the typical enhance in each day deaths recorded in early 2020 throughout the 37 international locations with the best dying charges from covid-19. They discovered that the largest enhance in dying charges was related to worldwide arrivals. A rise of one million worldwide arrivals was related to a 3.4 per cent rise within the common each day enhance in covid-19 deaths.

A World Well being Group scientist has mentioned society is unlikely to return to “normal” until 2022. “I think we are going to be well into next year before we see a change – that change is likely to be caused by high coverage of the vaccines,” mentioned Helen Rees, who sits on the WHO’s committee for covid-19. “I think this new normal we all talk about is with us for a very long time,” Rees informed BBC Wales Dwell.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.27 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 104 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Tweaking vaccines: The coronavirus is evolving to evade the safety from vaccines and pure immunity – what can we do to combat again?

Vaccine nationalism: The quickest solution to finish the covid-19 disaster is for international locations to place the pursuits of the world forward of their very own, says Seth Berkley.

Royal Navy medics prepare syringes of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre

Royal Navy medics put together syringes of the Oxford/AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Bathtub, UK

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP by way of Getty Photos

3 February

Covid-19 vaccine towards new variants may very well be deployed quickly, says Oxford vaccine researcher

A model of the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca that may sort out the brand new, extremely transmissible coronavirus variants may very well be ready to deploy in about 7 months within the UK, in keeping with a researcher on the Oxford vaccine group. “The actual work on designing a new vaccine is very, very quick because it’s essentially just switching out the genetic sequence for the spike protein,” Andrew Pollard on the College of Oxford informed the BBC. “And then there’s manufacturing to do and then a small scale study. So all of that can be completed in a very short period of time, and the autumn is really the timing for having new vaccines available for use,” he mentioned. Pollard mentioned work is already underway to replace the vaccine and enhance its efficacy towards not too long ago recognized coronavirus mutations, comparable to these within the variants first sequenced within the UK and South Africa.

Preliminary outcomes recommend that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may reduce coronavirus transmission, along with lowering symptomatic covid-19 and extreme sickness. UK well being minister Matt Hancock praised the findings of the examine led by researchers on the College of Oxford. The outcomes point out that two doses of the jab scale back coronavirus an infection with or with out signs by 67 per cent. Additionally they recommend {that a} single dose of the vaccine is 76 per cent efficient at stopping symptomatic covid-19 for 3 months, with this determine growing to 82 per cent after two doses. Hancock described the outcomes as “absolutely superb” and mentioned they present that “vaccines are the way out of this pandemic”.

Different coronavirus information

A mobile coronavirus testing unit has been arrange within the city of Southport in England to check residents for the coronavirus and determine if they’ve the variant first recognized in South Africa. Firefighters and council employees are additionally delivering 10,000 residence testing kits to folks residing within the space.

Denmark introduced plans to introduce a digital “Corona-Pass”, which might permit Danish residents to show they’ve been vaccinated towards covid-19 for the needs of enterprise and leisure journey, in keeping with the nation’s finance ministry.

Israel will begin increasing its covid-19 vaccination programme to everyone over the age of 16, in keeping with its well being ministry.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.25 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 104 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Pandemic burnout: Because the coronavirus disaster goes on, an growing variety of us are feeling worn out and unable to manage. Right here’s how one can inform if that is burnout, and what you are able to do to guard your self.

Vaccine throughout being pregnant: With little security knowledge obtainable on covid-19 vaccines throughout being pregnant, people who’re pregnant should weigh up the dangers and advantages for themselves, whereas proof for many who are breastfeeding is extra clear.

Passengers push luggage on trolleys through a terminal at London's Heathrow airport

Travellers arrive at London’s Heathrow airport

Hollie Adams/Getty Photos

2 February

UK science advisers really helpful introduction of journey restrictions two weeks in the past

The UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) advised the government to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine for travellers arriving into the UK two weeks in the past, in keeping with minutes from a gathering on 21 January that had been leaked to the Instances. On Thursday 21 January, SAGE reportedly warned that “reactive, geographically targeted” journey bans couldn’t be relied on to stop faster-spreading coronavirus variants, comparable to these recognized in South Africa and Brazil, from reaching the UK, including that: “no intervention, other than a complete, pre-emptive closure of borders, or the mandatory quarantine of all visitors upon arrival in designated facilities, irrespective of testing history, can get close to fully preventing the importation of new cases or new variants.” 

A Downing Road spokesperson mentioned SAGE didn’t straight advise UK prime minister Boris Johnson to shut borders. Universities minister Michelle Donelan told Sky News that the federal government “always based our decisions on the best medical and scientific advice” and mentioned “the SAGE advice actually said it would probably be ineffective, in fact, to close the borders, which was the same advice that we got at the time from the World Health Organization”. Johnson introduced geographically focused lodge quarantine measures for travellers getting back from 30 international locations, together with Brazil and South Africa, final week.

UK well being minister Matt Hancock urged folks residing in postcodes in England singled out for enhanced coronavirus testing for the so-called South Africa variant to stay at home unless “absolutely essential”. Pressing door-to-door testing for the faster-spreading variant has been deployed after 11 instances with no hyperlink to international journey had been recognized in elements of England.

Different coronavirus information

Interim outcomes from section III trials recommend Russia’s covid-19 vaccine is 91.6 per cent efficient, and knowledge on the vaccine is being submitted to the European Medicines Company, in keeping with Kirill Dmitriev, director of the Russian Direct Funding Fund. The outcomes, based mostly on a section III trial together with 21,977 adults, three-quarters of whom obtained the Sputnik V vaccine, are printed in scientific journal the Lancet. Different contributors obtained a placebo. 

Sweden introduced it would not recommend the covid-19 vaccine developed by the College of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca for folks aged over 65, hours after Poland mentioned it will not provide the vaccine to over 60s. Final week, medical consultants in Germany and Austria made comparable suggestions, citing an absence of information on this age group. The European Medicines Company authorised the vaccine to be used in all grownup age teams throughout the European Union and June Raine, chief government of the UK Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company, last week said: “Current evidence does not suggest any lack of protection against covid-19 in people aged 65 or over. The data we have shows that the vaccine produces a strong immune response in the over-65s.”

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.24 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 103 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Quicker-spreading variants: The faster-spreading UK coronavirus variant has acquired a mutation that may assist it evade immune safety – the identical mutation already discovered within the South African variant.

Article amended on 4 February 2021

We corrected June Raine’s identify.

A health worker talks with a man taking a swab test in a park

A well being employee talks with a person taking a swab check in Goldsworth Park, because the South African variant of the novel coronavirus is reported in elements of Surrey, in Woking, UK, 1 February 2021

REUTERS/Hannah McKay

1 February

All adults in elements of England to be examined for South Africa variant after 11 new instances recognized

Door-to-door testing for the so-called South Africa coronavirus variant will start in elements of England this week, after 11 instances with no recognized hyperlinks to journey or to earlier instances had been recognized in eight areas of the nation. Pressing testing of adults, no matter signs, will happen in some postcodes in Hertfordshire, Surrey, Kent, Walsall, Sefton and within the London boroughs of Merton, Haringey and Ealing. “We are trying to contain this so it does not spread,” Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at Public Well being England informed the BBC. Any newly recognized infections will probably be analysed to see if they’re attributable to the extremely transmissible coronavirus variant first sequenced in South Africa. 

UK well being minister Matt Hancock “has ordered an attempt at eradication of the new variant if at all possible”, with public well being officers beginning to go door-to-door in affected areas this week, in keeping with a briefing seen by the Guardian. “This is a precautionary measure,” mentioned Ruth Hutchinson, director of public well being for Surrey, in an announcement. “The more cases of the variant we find, the better chance we have at stopping it from spreading further,” mentioned Hutchinson, including: “It’s really important to say that there is currently no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness, so you don’t need to worry.”

Different coronavirus information

A covid-19 vaccine has now been offered to older residents at every eligible care home in England, the NHS introduced, however vaccination rates of care home staff are lagging behind residents. Fiona Carragher, director of analysis and influencing at Alzheimer’s Society informed the BBC she remained involved that the vaccination rollout for care residence employees “has not been nearly so effective”. In January, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned the UK authorities goals to vaccinate all these over 70, probably the most clinically weak folks and frontline well being and social care employees by 15 February – equal to about 15 million vaccinations. Throughout the UK, more than 8.9 million people had obtained a primary dose of covid-19 vaccine as of 30 January.

The European Union said AstraZeneca has agreed to produce it with 9 million extra doses of its covid-19 vaccine, developed in partnership with the College of Oxford. This brings the full variety of anticipated doses for the primary quarter of this yr to 40 million, which is about half of what the EU was initially anticipating. European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted saying the corporate would increase its manufacturing capability in Europe, and begin delivering doses every week sooner than scheduled.

Germany’s well being minister Jens Spahn hinted that covid-19 vaccines from China and Russia may very well be utilized in Europe to compensate for the shortfall of doses equipped by Pfizer and its companion BioNTech, and by Oxford/AstraZeneca. “Regardless of the country in which a vaccine is manufactured, if they are safe and effective, they can help cope with the pandemic,” Spahn told German media on Sunday, including that any vaccine will first have to be authorized by the European Medicines Company.

Coronavirus deaths

New Scientist Default Image

Matthew Rowett

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.23 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 103 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

Can vaccines cease transmission?: A number of research recommend that coronavirus vaccines can considerably scale back transmission of the virus, however not halt it fully – so social distancing continues to be vital.

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A lab technician working at Janssen Pharmaceutical in Beerse, Belgium

Virginia Mayo/AP/Shutterstock

29 January

Vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax report optimistic trial outcomes

A coronavirus vaccine developed by the US agency Novavax has been proven to be 89 per cent efficient in stopping covid-19 in medical trials. The trials included contributors within the UK and South Africa, and located the vaccine to be 86 per cent efficient towards the UK variant of the virus, however solely 60 per cent efficient towards the variant in South Africa. Novavax mentioned it should instantly start growth on a vaccine particularly focused to the South African variant.

Janssen, a subsidiary of US agency Johnson & Johnson, introduced that its covid-19 vaccine confirmed 66 per cent efficacy in a global trial. These outcomes are based mostly on a single dose of the vaccine, which makes it simpler to manage than the two-shot vaccines which have already been authorized. The corporate has mentioned it should promote its vaccine on a not-for-profit foundation.

The UK has already ordered 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine and the European Union has ordered 400 million. The UK has additionally ordered 60 million doses of the Novavax jab.

Different coronavirus information

The European Medicines Company has recommended the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for all adults, which can permit mass use of the vaccine within the European Union. Yesterday, a German committee recommended against approving the vaccine for folks over 65 due to inadequate knowledge within the trials, however the EMA’s consultants mentioned safety may very well be anticipated on this group and there may be dependable data on security. The vaccine is already the topic of a dispute between AstraZeneca and the EU over the agency’s resolution to produce fewer doses to the EU this yr than initially agreed. At this time, the European Fee published parts of its contract with AstraZeneca, which it says obliges the corporate to produce the agreed volumes. The drug-maker says the contract solely obliges it to make its “best effort” to fulfill the EU demand, to not keep on with a particular timetable. The EU additionally announced export restrictions on vaccines made inside the bloc in response to the deliberate lower in deliveries. 

The coronavirus variant from South Africa – which is extra infectiousness  than the unique variant has been detected within the US for the primary time, with two instances confirmed in South Carolina

The New York state authorities has released new figures displaying that it undercounted deaths from covid-19 in nursing residence residents by greater than 3800. The state’s total dying toll has not elevated, however the larger tally in nursing properties has fuelled criticism that governor Andrew Cuomo didn’t do sufficient to guard these residents.

Within the UK, covid-19 hospital admissions fell to 33.51 per 100,000 folks from a price of 35.64 within the week ending 24 January, figures from the Office for National Statistics present. One in 55 folks in non-public households in England examined optimistic for covid-19 between 17 and 23 January, which is analogous to the earlier week. The an infection price was roughly one in 70 in Wales, one in 50 in Northern Eire and one in 110 in Scotland. The R quantity for the UK is between 0.7 and 1.1, in keeping with the latest estimate by the federal government’s scientific advisory group. The R quantity is the variety of folks every particular person with covid-19 will go on to contaminate.

Newest on coronavirus from New Scientist

International vaccine distribution: Whereas mass immunisation programmes are making speedy progress in wealthy nations, many middle-income international locations have solely simply begun roll-outs and most low-income ones will take months to get began. These delays enhance the chance of mutations resulting in variants which are extra transmissible,and will render vaccines much less efficient in future.

Coronavirus deaths

The worldwide covid-19 dying toll has handed 2.19 million. The variety of confirmed instances is greater than 101 million, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University, although the true variety of instances will probably be a lot larger.

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