Covid-19 news: World as vulnerable to pandemics as pre-coronavirus

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By Michael Le Page, Clare Wilson, Jessica Hamzelou, Sam Wong, Graham Lawton, Adam Vaughan, Conrad Quilty-Harper, Jason Arunn Murugesu, Layal Liverpool, Matt Hambly, Carissa Wong, Alex Wilkins and Alexandra Thompson

The World Health Organization office  successful  Geneva, Switzerland

The World Health Organization office successful Geneva, Switzerland

Richard Juilliart/Alamy

Latest coronavirus quality arsenic of midday 19 May

An economical downturn and deficiency of reforms has near the satellite successful nary amended presumption to combat a caller pandemic than earlier covid-19 emerged, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)

The world’s pandemic preparedness is the aforesaid oregon worse than it was earlier covid-19, according to a WHO report.

The report, led by erstwhile New Zealand premier curate Helen Clark and erstwhile Liberia president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, accepted that immoderate advancement had been made, similar moves to make a planetary wellness information money wrong the WHO and accrued WHO funding.

But advancement connected reforms specified arsenic planetary wellness regulations are moving excessively slowly, it added.

“We person close present the precise aforesaid tools and the aforesaid strategy that existed successful December 2019 to respond to a pandemic threat,” Clark said astatine a property conference. “And those tools conscionable weren’t bully enough.”

The study besides suggests immoderate measures that should beryllium taken arsenic soon arsenic possible, including an autarkic wellness threats assembly led by heads of state, a worldwide pandemic pact and an planetary statement to amended pandemic preparedness.

The WHO’s yearly World Health Assembly volition conscionable successful Geneva adjacent week to code issues raised successful the report.

Other coronavirus news

Unvaccinated radical who retrieve from the omicron variant whitethorn not person immunity against different covid-19 variants, specified arsenic delta, according to rodent models and a tiny quality study.

Researchers astatine Gladstone Institutes successful San Francisco, US, collected humor serum from mice 7 days aft they were infected with antithetic covid-19 variants.

In laboratory experiments, the serum collected aft overcoming omicron lone protected against the omicron variant. By contrast, the serum collected aft corruption with delta efficaciously protected against the alpha, beta and delta variants, arsenic good arsenic offering immoderate extortion against omicron.

These findings were past supported successful a survey of 10 unvaccinated radical who had recovered from omicron. By contrast, vaccinated radical who drawback omicron make immoderate level of immunity against each covid-19 variants of concern, the researchers recovered successful a abstracted experiment.

North Korea has suggested radical usage accepted medicines, specified arsenic gargling brackish h2o oregon drinking herbal tea, to trim the fever and symptom that tin travel with covid-19. A authorities quality bureau said the unverified treatments are “effective successful prevention and cure of the malicious disease,” a assertion that is not supported by technological research.

Essential accusation astir coronavirus

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What to read, ticker and perceive to astir coronavirus

New Scientist Weekly features updates and investigation connected the latest developments successful the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees adept journalists from the mag sermon the biggest subject stories to deed the headlines each week – from exertion and space, to wellness and the environment.

The Jump is a BBC Radio 4 bid exploring however viruses tin transverse from animals into humans to origin pandemics. The archetypal occurrence examines the origins of the covid-19 pandemic.

Why Is Covid Killing People of Colour? is a BBC documentary, which investigates what the precocious covid-19 decease rates successful taste number patients uncover astir wellness inequality successful the UK.

Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary astir the wrong communicative of the improvement of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine against covid-19.

Race Against the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is simply a Channel 4 documentary which tells the communicative of the coronavirus pandemic done the eyes of the scientists connected the frontline.

The New York Times is assessing the advancement successful improvement of imaginable cause treatments for covid-19, and ranking them for effectiveness and safety.

Humans of COVID-19 is a task highlighting the experiences of cardinal workers connected the frontline successful the combat against coronavirus successful the UK, done societal media.

Belly Mujinga: Searching for the Truth is a BBC Panorama probe of the decease of transport idiosyncratic Belly Mujinga from covid-19, pursuing reports she had been coughed and spat connected by a lawsuit astatine London’s Victoria Station.

Coronavirus, Explained on Netflix is simply a abbreviated documentary bid examining the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to combat it and ways to negociate its intelligence wellness toll.

Stopping the Next Pandemic: How Covid-19 Can Help Us Save Humanity by Debora Mackenzie is astir however the pandemic happened and wherefore it volition hap again if we don’t bash things otherwise successful future.

The Rules of Contagion is astir the caller subject of contagion and the astonishing ways it shapes our lives and behaviour. The author, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist astatine the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and successful the publication helium examines however diseases dispersed and wherefore they stop.

Previous updates

Stock representation  of a kid  being vaccinated

Stock representation of a kid being vaccinated

simarik/Getty Images

16 May

Six weeks into the vaccine roll-out for this property group, less than 1 successful 10 children aged 5 to 11 person received their archetypal dose

The 7 per cent fig compares with the 24 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds successful England who received a archetypal dose successful the six weeks aft they became eligible for the vaccine successful September 2021.

Children seldom go earnestly sick with SARS-CoV-2 virus, however, investigating affirmative tin disrupt their schooling oregon enactment them astatine hazard of agelong covid.

Speaking of 5 to 11 twelvemonth olds, Russell Viner astatine University College London told The Guardian: “It’s a vaccination that astir apt isn’t peculiarly beneficial for this property group.

“However, it has a very, precise bully information profile. And fixed that we stay successful a pandemic, there’s an statement that for idiosyncratic parents, the equilibrium of risks would look to beryllium towards vaccination.”

Across England, Oxfordshire has the highest vaccine take-up among 5 to 11-year-olds astatine 12 per cent, portion Knowsley successful Merseyside has the lowest uptake astatine 3 per cent, according to the latest NHS statistic up to 8 May.

Two covid-19 vaccines are being offered to children from 5 years aged crossed the UK. On 15 March 2022, Wales became the archetypal UK federation to connection 5 to 11-year-olds a covid-19 vaccine, with 9.5 per cent of children successful this property group receiving their archetypal dose by 4 May.

In Scotland, 17 per cent of 5 to 11 twelvemonth olds had received their archetypal dose arsenic of 3 May. In Northern Ireland, conscionable 2 per cent of children successful this property radical had received their archetypal vaccine dose arsenic of 5 May, according to National World.

“Getting vaccinated is simply a idiosyncratic prime betwixt families and their children, and we person present sent invites to everyone eligible, providing parents with accusation to let them to marque an informed decision, portion they tin besides speech to their doc oregon a section healthcare nonrecreational if they person questions,” an NHS spokesperson said.

Other coronavirus news

Shanghai volition purpose to instrumentality to mean beingness from 1 June aft being successful lockdown for much than 7 weeks.

“From June 1 to mid- and precocious June, arsenic agelong arsenic risks of a rebound successful infections are controlled, we volition afloat instrumentality epidemic prevention and control, normalise absorption and afloat reconstruct mean accumulation and beingness successful the city,” said its lawman politician Zong Ming.

More than 1 cardinal radical successful North Korea are suffering from what its authorities media is calling a “fever”, a cardinal covid-19 symptom. This comes little than 1 week aft North Korea’s person Kim Jong Un confirmed the country’s archetypal covid-19 cases and deaths.

Of the 1 cardinal fever cases, at slightest 187,000 radical person been isolated and treated. It is unclear whether these cases person tested affirmative for SARS-CoV-2 virus. North Korea, which is successful lockdown, is thought to person constricted capableness for covid-19 testing. There is besides nary authoritative grounds of immoderate of its 25-million-strong-population being vaccinated. Kim alternatively prioritised keeping covid-19 retired of the state via strict borderline controls.

American flags connected  the National Mall successful  Washington, D.C., are lowered to half-mast to people    1 cardinal  covid-19 deaths successful  the US

American flags connected the National Mall successful Washington, D.C., are lowered to half-mast to people 1 cardinal covid-19 deaths successful the US

JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

13 May

The US has officially passed the ‘tragic milestone’, however, galore much deaths are expected to person occurred than person been recorded

The US has officially recorded much than 1 cardinal covid-19 deaths, President Joe Biden said connected 12 May, calling the fatalities a “tragic milestone”.

“One cardinal covid deaths, 1 cardinal bare chairs astir the household meal table, each irreplaceable losses,” said Biden. “We indispensable stay vigilant against this pandemic and bash everything we tin to prevention arsenic galore lives arsenic possible, arsenic we person with much testing, vaccines, and treatments than ever before.”

The standard of the decease toll is acold larger than primitively anticipated, with Anthony Fauci astatine the US National Institutes of Health saying successful March 2020 that betwixt 100,000 and 200,000 radical could dice from covid-19.

The US has a higher authoritative covid-19 decease toll than anyplace other successful the world, but galore fatalities are expected to spell unrecorded successful immoderate countries.

A caller World Health Organization (WHO) report looked astatine “excess deaths”, defined arsenic the fig of fatalities from immoderate origin successful 2020 and 2021 compared with erstwhile years. This included covid-19 deaths that were not recorded arsenic such, arsenic good arsenic radical who died from different causes due to the fact that hospitals were afloat amid the pandemic.

The study recovered that India had the highest fig of wide excess deaths, portion Peru and Russia had the highest fig of excess deaths for their colonisation size.

Separately, 2 cardinal covid-19 deaths person been recorded crossed the European region, which includes the UK, the WHO said connected 12 May.

Other coronavirus news

Six covid-19 deaths person been officially reported successful North Korea, wherever the pandemic is spreading “explosively”, according to the country’s authorities media. North Korea imposed a nationalist lockdown connected 12 May, aft acknowledging its archetypal covid-19 cases.

Since precocious April, 350,000 radical successful North Korea person been treated for fever, but the state is thought to person small capableness for covid-19 testing. It has not reported carrying retired immoderate covid-19 vaccinations.

Shanghai has said it is aiming to execute zero cases of covid-19 extracurricular of tightly regulated quarantine zones by mid-May. Cases extracurricular the quarantine zones are an indicator of whether the outbreak is spreading. This comes aft the WHO called China’s zero-covid argumentation unsustainable, due to the fact that the omicron variant is truthful transmissible.

An worker  disinfects a supermarket successful  Pyongyang, North Korea successful  November 2021

An worker disinfects a supermarket successful Pyongyang, North Korea, successful November 2021

Jon Chol Jin/AP/Shutterstock

12 May

North Korea has introduced a nationalist lockdown aft reporting its archetypal covid-19 outbreak successful the superior Pyongyang

The state had ne'er reported a covid-19 lawsuit earlier 12 May 2022. But galore expect infections would person arisen successful aboriginal 2020, earlier North Korea closed its borders, fixed its question and commercialized relationships with China.

According to the North Korean quality outlet KCNA, people with fevers successful Pyongyang precocious tested affirmative for the omicron sublineage BA.2, but authorities media has not confirmed the fig of cases oregon wherever the infections whitethorn person originated.

There is nary authoritative grounds of immoderate of North Korea’s 25-million-strong-population being vaccinated.

According to KCNA, authorities authorities, including North Korea’s person Kim Jong-un, recognise that a “most superior exigency case” has occurred, and Jong-un hopes to “quickly cure the infections successful bid to eradicate the root of the virus”.

Other coronavirus news

More than fractional of radical who were hospitalised with covid-19 person astatine slightest 1 grounds 2 years later, according to a study that followed 1192 radical surviving successful Wuhan, China, aft they were infected with SARS-CoV-2 microorganism successful aboriginal 2020. The findings supply the longest known follow-up of covid-19 symptoms truthful far, with erstwhile studies spanning astir 1 year.

The participants – who had an mean property of 57 – were assessed via a six-minute walking test, questionnaires and lung tests astatine six months, 12 months and 2 years post-discharge.

More than 2 thirds (68 per cent) reported astatine slightest 1 agelong covid grounds six months aft leaving hospital, decreasing to 55 per cent aft 2 years. The astir commonly reported grounds was fatigue oregon musculus weakness.

“Our findings bespeak that for a definite proportionality of hospitalised covid-19 survivors, portion they whitethorn person cleared the archetypal infection, much than 2 years is needed to retrieve afloat from covid-19,” Bin Cao astatine the China-Japan Friendship Hospital successful China said successful a statement.

The fig of reported covid-19 deaths that occurred successful the African portion betwixt 2 and 8 March was up 84 per cent connected the erstwhile week, according to the World Health Organization. The African portion besides saw cases emergence 12 per cent week-on-week.

Globally, the fig of reported covid-19 cases and deaths person been declining since the extremity of March.

Workers successful  idiosyncratic   protective instrumentality  present  nutrient  during the ongoing covid-19 lockdown successful  the Jing'an territory  of Shanghai successful  China connected  7 May 2022

Workers successful idiosyncratic protective instrumentality present nutrient during the ongoing covid-19 lockdown successful the Jing’an territory of Shanghai successful China connected 7 May 2022

HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

11 May

Lifting China’s zero-covid argumentation could trigger a ample omicron wave, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says maintaining the strategy is “unsustainable”

Scrapping China’s zero-covid argumentation could pb to 1.55 cardinal deaths and summation intensive attraction numbers by a origin of 15, according to a modelling survey from Fudan University successful China.

China introduced the strategy, which aims to rapidly chopped disconnected transmission to extremity outbreaks, successful August 2021 successful effect to the faster-spreading delta variant. Officials are present said to beryllium evaluating the sustainability of their policy.

Fudan’s mathematical model, based connected a afloat vaccinated colonisation with nary wide investigating oregon question restrictions successful place, predicts that lifting the zero-covid strategy could pb to arsenic galore arsenic 5.1 cardinal hospitalisations, 2.7 cardinal intensive attraction portion admissions and 1.55 cardinal deaths by September 2022.

People implicit 60 who are unvaccinated would marque up 74 per cent of these deaths, the exemplary predicts.

But the WHO doubts whether keeping zero-covid policies successful spot is sustainable, arsenic the highly-transmissible omicron variant continues to thrust cases successful China.

“When we speech astir the zero-covid strategy, we don’t deliberation that it’s sustainable, considering the behaviour of the microorganism present and what we expect successful the future,” WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said astatine a property conference.

“We person discussed astir this contented with Chinese experts and we indicated that the attack volition not beryllium sustainable.

“Transiting into different strategy volition beryllium precise important.”

Other coronavirus news

Pregnant radical who are vaccinated against covid-19 are 15 per cent little apt to person a stillbirth than their unvaccinated counterparts, according to a meta-analysis of 23 studies covering much than 117,000 vaccinated large people.

Vaccination successful gestation is besides 90 per cent effectual astatine preventing covid-19 infection, with nary grounds of an accrued hazard of complications, specified arsenic a little birthweight oregon postpartum haemorrhage, the survey found.

New Zealand has recorded much than 1 cardinal covid-19 cases, according to its ministry of health. Over 986,000 of these cases occurred successful aboriginal 2022, with the authorities loosening its zero-covid strategy successful March.

More than 20 per cent of New Zealand’s 5-million-strong colonisation is truthful known to person been infected, however, modelling suggests the existent fig could beryllium 3 times larger.

A Moderna covid-19 booster jab is prepared astatine  a vaccination tract  successful  London successful  April 2022

A Moderna covid-19 booster jab is prepared astatine a vaccination tract successful London successful April 2022

SOPA Images Limited/Alamy

10 May

Study suggests a 4th dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech oregon Moderna vaccine mostly provides accrued extortion from covid-19

A 4th dose of an mRNA covid-19 vaccine could supply a “substantial boost successful antibody levels and cellular immunity”, according to a survey conducted arsenic portion of the University of Southampton’s Cov-Boost vaccine proceedings and published successful The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

A 4th vaccine has been rolled retired crossed the UK for radical aged 75 and over, and those who are immunocompromised. Off the backmost of the Cov-Boost study, a larger radical of radical successful the UK whitethorn beryllium offered a 2nd booster jab aboriginal this year.

In the trial, 166 participants who had received a 3rd dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, pursuing 2 archetypal Pfizer/BioNTech oregon University of Oxford/AstraZeneca doses successful June 2021, were either fixed a afloat dose of Pfizer/BioNTech oregon a fractional dose of Moderna arsenic a 4th jab, astir 7 months aft their 3rd vaccination.

Results uncover the 4th jab mostly offered higher antibody levels than a 3rd dose and provided peculiarly beardown extortion for those aged 70 and over.

However, the survey besides recovered that immoderate participants maintained higher levels of immunity aft a 3rd dose and lone received a constricted boost from a 4th jab, suggesting determination could beryllium a ceiling to the immune response.

If this ceiling effect is seen successful further studies, it could suggest that a 4th booster changeable is little effectual successful those who person precocious been infected with covid-19 oregon with a model shorter than 7 months betwixt their 3rd and 4th vaccine doses.

“These results underline the benefits of the astir susceptible radical receiving existent outpouring boosters and gives assurance for immoderate prospective autumn booster programme successful the UK,” pb writer Saul Faust said successful a statement.

Other coronavirus news

Lockdowns and societal distancing caused by the pandemic led to a “small but important increase” successful loneliness worldwide, according to a meta-analysis of 34 studies, covering 200,000 participants crossed 4 continents.

Speaking to The Independent, Mareike Ernst, of Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz successful Germany, said: “Given the tiny effect sizes, dire warnings astir a ‘loneliness pandemic’ whitethorn beryllium overblown. However, arsenic loneliness constitutes a hazard for premature mortality and intelligence and carnal health, it should beryllium intimately monitored.”

Just 51 per cent of radical who person tested affirmative for covid-19 are pursuing isolation guidelines successful England, according to figures for 28 March to 2 April 2022 issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ineligible request to self-isolate aft investigating affirmative for covid-19 was removed successful England astatine the extremity of February 2022. In April, caller isolation guidance was issued for those who tested positive, urging them to debar interaction with different radical until they nary longer had symptoms oregon felt unwell. Similar guidance is successful spot successful the remainder of the UK.

“Only fractional of those who tested affirmative for covid-19 adhered afloat to self-isolation guidance,” Tim Gibb astatine ONS said successful a statement. “While this is simply a akin proportionality to what we reported successful mid-March 2022, it nevertheless represents a important alteration to levels of adherence seen earlier this year.”

An aerial presumption    of a burial tract  for radical   who died with covid-19 astatine  the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery successful  Manaus, successful  the Amazon wood  successful  Brazil, taken connected  21 November 2020

An aerial presumption of a burial tract for radical who died with covid-19 astatine the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery successful Manaus, successful the Amazon wood successful Brazil, taken connected 21 November 2020

MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP via Getty Images

5 May

The covid-19 pandemic straight oregon indirectly caused 14.9 cardinal deaths arsenic of the extremity of 2021, according to a WHO report

In a large analysis, officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) calculated the fig of pandemic-related deaths that occurred globally betwixt 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2022.

The researchers combined nationalist decease information for each state with statistic from technological studies carried retired successful the aforesaid country. They besides utilized a statistical exemplary to relationship for deaths that whitethorn person been different overlooked.

The squad past estimated the fig of fatalities that would person been expected had the pandemic not occurred, comparing the 2 figures to springiness an “excess” of 14.9 million.

This excess includes deaths straight caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus, arsenic good arsenic those that were indirectly caused by the pandemic, specified arsenic radical who died prematurely due to the fact that healthcare systems were overwhelmed.

According to John Hopkins University data, just implicit 6.2 cardinal radical person died of covid-19 worldwide, not taking into relationship the pandemic’s indirect deaths.

“These sobering information not lone constituent to the interaction of the pandemic but besides to the request for each countries to put successful much resilient wellness systems that tin prolong indispensable wellness services during crises, including stronger wellness accusation systems,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said successful a statement.

Other coronavirus news

More than 1 successful 10 radical hospitalised with covid-19 could person terrible neurological symptoms, a survey suggests.

Researchers astatine Boston University studied much than 16,000 radical who were hospitalised with covid-19 successful 24 countries betwixt March 2020 and March 2021. Nearly 13 per cent of the participants developed a superior neurological information – similar a stroke, seizure oregon encephalopathy, an umbrella word for illness that alters the brain’s relation oregon structure  – astatine admittance oregon during their hospitalisation.

Fighting disconnected SARS-CoV-2 microorganism whitethorn temporarily boost your extortion against different coronavirus strains, including those that origin communal cold-like symptoms.

In a tiny study, scientists astatine Scripps Research successful the US recovered serum samples from radical who had precocious fought disconnected SARS-CoV-2 microorganism reacted much powerfully to the spike proteins of different coronavirus strains than samples taken from radical pre-covid-19.

A banal  representation  of a medic assessing an MRI encephalon  scan

A banal representation of a medic assessing an MRI encephalon scan

xijian/Getty Images

3 May

People hospitalised with covid-19 whitethorn suffer 10 IQ points, equivalent to the earthy cognitive diminution that occurs betwixt 50 and 70 years old

Covid-19 tin origin lasting cognitive and intelligence wellness issues, including encephalon fog, fatigue and adjacent post-traumatic accent disorder. To amended recognize the standard of the problem, researchers astatine the University of Cambridge analysed 46 radical who were hospitalised owed to the corruption betwixt March and July 2020.

The participants underwent cognitive tests connected mean six months aft their archetypal illness. These results were compared against those of much than 66,000 radical from the wide population.

Those hospitalised with covid-19 scored worse connected verbal analogical reasoning tests, which measure an individual’s quality to recognise relationships betwixt ideas and deliberation methodically.

They besides recorded slower processing speeds. Previous studies suggest glucose is little efficiently utilized by the portion of the encephalon liable for attention, analyzable problem-solving and moving representation aft covid-19.

Scores and absorption speeds improved implicit time, however, immoderate betterment was gradual astatine best, according to the researchers.

This cognitive impairment astir apt has aggregate causes, including inadequate humor proviso to the brain, humor vas blockage and microscopic bleeds caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus, arsenic good arsenic harm triggered by an overactive immune system, they added.

“Around 40,000 radical person been done intensive attraction with covid-19 successful England unsocial and galore much volition person been precise sick, but not admitted to hospital,” Adam Hampshire astatine Imperial College London said successful a statement.

“This means determination is simply a ample fig of radical retired determination inactive experiencing problems with cognition galore months later.”

Other coronavirus news

The biologic mechanism down a uncommon and terrible covid-19 effect seen successful immoderate children whitethorn person been uncovered by researchers astatine the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute successful Melbourne, Australia.

Doctors person truthful acold been incapable to place wherefore immoderate children make multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) successful effect to covid-19, which tin origin symptoms specified arsenic fever, abdominal symptom and bosom disease.

After analysing the humor of 33 children with MIS, the researchers identified 85 proteins circumstantial to the condition, potentially aiding diagnosis and opening the doorway to caller treatments.

Covid-19 whitethorn worsen asthma successful children, according to a survey of much than 61,000 radical aged 2 to 17 with the respiratory information successful the US. The 7700 participants who tested affirmative for covid-19 went connected to person much asthma-related hospitalisations, exigency inhaler usage and steroid treatments successful the six months post-infection, compared with the participants without a confirmed covid-19 infection.

How covid-19 affects radical with asthma is somewhat muddled. In November 2020, a survey recovered radical with asthma whitethorn beryllium little apt to make covid-19 complications, perchance owed to their steroid usage oregon reduced vulnerability via shielding.

See erstwhile updates from April 2022, March 2022, February 2022, January 2022, November to December 2021, September to October 2021, July to September 2021, June to July 2021May 2021, April to March 2021, February 2021, January 2021, November to December 2020, and March to November 2020.

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