By Michael Le Page, Clare Wilson, Jessica Hamzelou, Sam Wong, Graham Lawton, Adam Vaughan, Conrad Quilty-Harper, Jason Arunn Murugesu and Layal Liverpool
Latest coronavirus quality arsenic of 1pm connected 5 January
SARS-CoV-2 variant recovered successful France was identified successful November
A coronavirus variant archetypal discovered successful France successful precocious 2021 has had a batch of chances to dispersed but did not, according to an authoritative from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The variant has been connected the intergovernmental body’s radar since November, Abdi Mahamud, a WHO incidental manager said astatine a property briefing yesterday according to Bloomberg.
The variant was discovered astir the aforesaid clip arsenic omicron.
Known arsenic the B.1.640.2 variant, it caused astatine slightest 12 radical to autumn sick successful Marseilles successful November. “[It is] excessively aboriginal to speculate connected virological, epidemiological oregon objective features of this… variant based connected these 12 cases,” accidental researchers successful a preliminary analysis of the variant’s genome. The variant has 46 mutations and 13 deletions successful its genome, accidental the team.
“This microorganism has had a decent accidental to origin occupation but ne'er truly materialised arsenic acold arsenic we tin tell”, tweeted Tom Peacock, astatine Imperial College London, who was not progressive successful the analysis.
Multiple variants of the microorganism person evolved since the pandemic began but lone a fistful have gone connected to dispersed widely. The highly-infectious omicron variant is presently sweeping done Europe, and France yesterday recorded 271,686 covid-19 infections, a nationalist record.
Normal beingness volition beryllium made harder for unvaccinated radical successful France, French president Emmanuel Macron told Le Parisien yesterday.
“We request to archer them, from 15 January, you volition nary longer beryllium capable to spell to the restaurant. You volition nary longer beryllium capable to spell for a coffee, you volition nary longer beryllium capable to spell to the theatre. You volition nary longer beryllium capable to spell to the cinema.”
Other coronavirus news
The tennis subordinate Novak Djokovic has faced backlash aft yesterday saying connected Instagram that helium had received a aesculapian exemption to instrumentality portion successful the Australian Open. Only radical who are afloat vaccinated can presently sojourn Australia. Djokovic has not spoken astir his vaccination status, but has antecedently expressed anti-vaccination sentiments.
The organisers of the tournament, which starts connected 17 January, accidental the jock has not been fixed peculiar treatment. Australia’s premier curate Scott Morrison said the Serbian subordinate would request to amusement a genuine aesculapian exemption to participate the state unvaccinated.
Delhi volition enforce a play curfew to curb soaring omicron cases successful the Indian city. All non-essential enactment volition beryllium banned from Friday nighttime (7 January) to Monday greeting (10 January). The curbs are successful summation to a nighttime curfew that has been successful spot since precocious December from 11pm and 5am. Cinemas and gyms person besides been closed since past week.
Latest connected coronavirus from New Scientist
The twelvemonth ahead: What tin we expect from the pandemic successful 2022?
WHO’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: How to change the people of the pandemic
Essential accusation astir coronavirus
Where did coronavirus travel from? And different covid-19 questions answered
Covid-19 vaccines: Everything you request to cognize astir the starring shots
Long covid: Do I person it, however agelong volition it past and tin we dainty it?
What’s the fairest mode to stock covid-19 vaccines astir the world?
Covid-19: The communicative of a pandemic
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 simply 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 simply 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 simply 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 simply 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 simply 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 connected Netflix is simply a abbreviated documentary bid examining the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to combat it and ways to negociate its intelligence wellness toll.
COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened, and How to Stop the Next One 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.
Staff shortages unit wellness work providers to enact exigency measures
At slightest six National Health Service trusts successful England person declared captious incidents arsenic a effect of unit shortages caused by covid-19.
A captious incidental means that the healthcare providers judge they whitethorn nary longer beryllium capable to supply a scope of captious services, and the presumption enables them to telephone for assistance from unit and different organisations. University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay and United Lincolnshire Hospitals are among the trusts implementing exigency measures.
The main enforcement of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, wrote successful a blogpost that galore parts of the wellness work are presently successful “a authorities of crisis”, portion assemblage and societal attraction services are astatine “breaking point”.
On a sojourn to a vaccination centre successful Buckinghamshire yesterday, Boris Johnson, the UK premier minister, said: “I deliberation we’ve got to recognise that the unit connected our NHS, connected our hospitals, is going to beryllium sizeable successful the people of the adjacent mates of weeks, and possibly more.”
Meanwhile, arsenic children instrumentality to schools today, the authorities has recommended the wearing of look masks successful secondary classrooms successful England, arsenic is already advised successful Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Head teachers person warned that precocious levels of unit absences could pb to children being sent location to larn remotely.
Other coronavirus news
Covid-19 cases whitethorn person plateaued successful London and could commencement to autumn successful different parts of the UK wrong 3 weeks, an epidemiologist and authorities advisor has said. Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that corruption rates successful the superior look to beryllium stabilising successful the 18 to 50 property group, which has been driving the omicron epidemic.
“With an epidemic which has been spreading truthful rapidly and reaching specified precocious numbers, it can’t prolong those numbers forever, truthful we would expect to spot lawsuit numbers commencement to travel down successful the adjacent week; [they] whitethorn beryllium already coming down successful London, but successful different regions a week to 3 weeks,” helium said.
“Whether they past driblet precipitously, oregon we spot a signifier a spot similar we saw with delta backmost successful July of an archetypal driblet and past rather a precocious plateau, remains to beryllium seen. It’s conscionable excessively hard to construe existent mixing trends and what the effect of opening schools again volition be.”
In the US, thousands of schools person delayed the commencement of word oregon switched to distant learning amid surging cases caused by the omicron variant. New York City’s politician has vowed to support schools unfastened contempt soaring corruption rates, successful opposition to cities specified arsenic Milwaukee, Cleveland and Detroit. Nationwide, the fig of patients successful infirmary with covid-19 accrued by 40 per cent successful the past week, according to Reuters.
The US Food and Drug Administration has authorised a 3rd dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to beryllium fixed to children aged 12 to 15. A sheet advising the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will present decide whether to urge booster shots successful this property group.
Latest connected coronavirus from New Scientist
Two years of covid-19: What we’ve learned during the pandemic truthful far
Our regular covid-19 update volition resume connected 4 January
Immunity offered by vaccines wanes much rapidly with omicron, finds UK study
The extortion conferred by booster vaccines against the omicron variant begins to wane wrong 10 weeks, according to a briefing released by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Based connected an investigation of 147,597 delta and 68,489 omicron cases, the bureau recovered that the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are little effectual against omicron than delta. For radical who had 2 archetypal doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the UKHSA estimates that Pfizer/BioNTech oregon Moderna boosters are astir 60 per cent effectual astatine preventing symptomatic infections from omicron 2 to 4 weeks aft the 3rd dose, but this falls to 35 to 45 per cent by 10 weeks. For those who had 2 archetypal doses of Pfizer/BioNTech, extortion falls from 70 per cent astatine 2 to 4 weeks to 45 per cent astatine 10 weeks aft a Pfizer booster, but stays astir 70 to 75 per cent up to 9 weeks aft a Moderna booster.
The UKHSA study besides estimates that idiosyncratic infected with omicron is 50 to 70 per cent little apt to beryllium admitted to hospital, compared with delta. This is based connected a preliminary investigation of 114,144 omicron cases and 461,772 delta cases occurring betwixt 22 November and 19 December. The quality is somewhat larger than suggested by a study published by Imperial College London connected Wednesday, which reported a 15 to 20 per cent little risk.
However, modelling suggests that the severity of omicron would request to beryllium astir 90 per cent little to debar akin levels of infirmary admissions to erstwhile waves, according to minutes from a gathering of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies connected Monday.
“What we person got present is simply a truly good equilibrium betwixt thing that looks similar a little hazard of hospitalisation – which is large quality – but arsenic a highly transmissible variant and 1 that we cognize evades immoderate of our immune defences, truthful it is simply a precise balanced position,” Jenny Harris, main enforcement of UKHSA, told the Today programme connected BBC Radio 4.
The UK recorded 119,789 caller cases of covid-19 yesterday, mounting different record. The Office for National Statistics estimates that 1.4 cardinal radical successful the UK had the microorganism successful the week ending 16 December, the highest fig since comparable figures began successful autumn 2020.
Other coronavirus news
Healthcare workers successful the US who person tested affirmative for covid-19 but bash not person symptoms tin stop isolating aft 7 days alternatively of 10, if they trial antagonistic for the virus, nether caller guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Italy has banned nationalist caller year’s eve celebrations arsenic good arsenic each concerts and unfastened aerial events until 31 January, aiming to curb a emergence successful infections driven by the omicron variant. Mask wearing volition besides beryllium compulsory successful outdoor nationalist places nether caller rules.
Australia volition chopped the interval betwixt 2nd doses and booster shots from 5 months to 4 from 4 January, and past to 3 months connected 31 January.
Latest connected coronavirus from New Scientist
The twelvemonth of coronavirus variants: How alpha, delta and omicron brought caller waves of illness crossed the satellite successful 2021.
Cuba’s homegrown vaccines: Four months ago, hospitals successful Cuba collapsed due to the fact that of skyrocketing covid-19, but locally made vaccines person succeeded successful bringing the outbreak nether control.
Vaccine hesitancy: It is much important than ever for the UK to scope retired to communities wherever concerns implicit vaccination are much common, specified arsenic large women and immoderate taste groups, reports Jason Arunn Murugesu.
See erstwhile updates from November to December 2021, September to October 2021, July to September 2021, June to July 2021, May 2021, April-March 2021, February 2021, January 2021, November/December 2020, and March to November 2020.
More connected these topics: