• Frankenstein virusWas COVID-19 Created in a Lab? China Has Some Urgent Questions to Answer

    In an interview with  The Telegraph’s Allison Pearsonon Thursday, Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, said it was likely that coronavirus was the result of a Chinese lab accidental release. Charles Moore writes in The Telegraph that Sir Richard’s interview chiefly concerned a new learned paper about the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine, written by distinguished scientists, the vaccinologist, Birger Sorensen, and the immunologist, Angus Dalgleish, in the Quarterly Review of Biophysics Discovery.

  • VaccinesChina Formulates Plan to Roll Out Vaccine before Clinical Trials Are Finished in Race against Trump

    China has five vaccines in phase II human trials – more than any other country, and it may deploy one or more of them as early as September to at-risk groups even if clinical trials have yet to be completed, Sophia Yan writes in The Telegraph. Success could buoy China’s coronavirus-ravaged economy, help Beijing deflect global anger over its cover-up of the pandemic – and it would also be a blow to Donald Trump’s “warp-speed” plans for a vaccine.

  • VaccinesGCHQ Boss Warns Foreign States Are Trying to Steal Britain’s Attempts to Build COVID-19 Vaccine

    Jeremy Fleming, the Director of GCHQ, Britain’s cyberspy agency, confirmed GCHQ had seen attacks on the U.K.’s health infrastructure in recent weeks. Dominic Nicholls writes in The Telegraph that Fleming confirmed reports that foreign powers and criminals are targeting laboratories researching coronavirus vaccines.

  • VaccinesCould Coronavirus Be Killed Off Without a Vaccine? History Suggests There's a Chance

    Already this century, devastating outbreaks of deadly cousins of today’s virus have twice been crushed without global immunization programs – the 2002-2003 SARS-COV-1 and the 2014-2015 Ebola. Harry de Quetteville asks in The Telegraph: as countries around the world begin to relax their lockdowns, will the third time be lucky too?

  • Lifting lockdown“The Costs Are Too High”: The Scientist Who Wants Lockdown Lifted Faster

    It appears that most scientists still argue that now was not the time to lift the lockdown. Ian Sample writes in The Guardian that Sunetra Gupta, a professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford University, does not agree. She believes – somewhat controversially – that the lockdown should be lifted faster. In the rush to drive infections down, she fears the poorest have been brushed aside.

  • School daysMissing School Is Bigger Risk for Children than Catching COVID, Warns Government Adviser

    Keeping children out of school poses a far greater risk to them that coronavirus, a U.K. government adviser has said. Camilla Turner writes in The Telegraph that Dr. Gavin Morgan, an expert in education psychology at University College London who sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), argues that the impact of Covid-19 on children’s health is “miniscule,” but spending a prolonged period out of school is devastating their development, Dr Gavin Morgan said.

  • Bonkers rulesI Refuse to Abide by These Bonkers Rules Any Longer

    “Heaven knows [Matthew Hancock, the U.K.] Secretary of State for Health has an unenviable job,” Allison Pearson argues in The Telegraph, “but after ten weeks, his determination to treat the British people like a remedial basket-weaving class does begin to grate.” She adds: “Sorry, I’m not doing it any more. Lockdown is over for me and for millions of others I’m quite sure. Sanity demands it.”

  • Supply chainsDuring Global Crises, Strategic Redundancy Can Prevent Collapse of Supply Chains

    When the novel coronavirus began spreading during the early months of 2020, it put kinks in multinational production chains — first in China and then around the globe. But it didn’t have to happen that way. Experts suggest companies use redundancy as a way to fortify their operations against unforeseeable events such as pandemics.

  • TrustThe Importance of Building Trust in Contact Tracing Apps

    In the very real need for speed around excellent contact tracing in the COVID-19 environment, the voice of the people is getting lost, according to an expert. New researchhighlights the need for digital contact tracing solutions to have exceptional speed, high take-up rates, and demonstrable value. Researchers say that without significant uptake of the technology, digital contact tracing is close to useless.

  • SusceptibilityKarl Friston: up to 80% Not Even Susceptible to COVID-19

    Just one month ago, the idea that most people aren’t susceptible to COVID-19 — perhaps the overwhelming majority — was considered dangerous denialism. It was startling when Nobel-prize-winning scientist Michael Levitt argued in UnHerd at the start of May that the growth curves of the disease were never truly exponential, suggesting that some sort of “prior immunity” must be kicking in very early.Freddie Sayers writes in Unherd that today, though, the presence of some level of prior resistance and immunity to COVID-19 is fast becoming accepted scientific fact. Now, from the unlikely source — Professor Karl Friston, who, like Michael Levitt, is a statistician not a virologist, and who is a prominent member of the “Independent SAGE committee,” the group set up by Sir David King to challenge government scientific advice — comes a claim that the true portion of people who are not even susceptible to COVID-19 may be as high as 80%.

  • SwedenScientist Behind Sweden’s COVID-19 Strategy Suggests It Allowed Too Many Deaths

    For months, the world has watched Sweden’s light-touch approach to fighting the coronavirus pandemic, wondering whether it was genius or misguided. Michael Birnbaum writes in the Washington Post that this week, the architect of the strategy acknowledged that too many people have died and said that, in retrospect, he might have pushed something closer to other countries’ restrictions. “Should we encounter the same disease, with exactly what we know about it today, I think we would land midway between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world did,” Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told Swedish Radio on Wednesday.

  • Contact tracingThe Head of the CDC Told Lawmakers that the Country Needs up to 100,000 Contact Tracers

    Dr. Redfield told House lawmakers on Thursday that the federal government and state health departments needed to dramatically increase the number of tracers working to identify who those infected by the coronavirus had come in contact with, saying that up to 100,000 would be needed by September, the New York Times reports.

  • Deeper understandingScientists Tap the World’s Most Powerful Computers in the Race to Understand and Stop the Coronavirus

    In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, the haughty supercomputer Deep Thought is asked whether he can find the answer to the ultimate question concerning life, the universe and everything. Deep Thought replies that he would need seven-and-a-half million years. Jeremy Smith writes in The Conversation thatreal-life supercomputers are being asked somewhat less expansive questions but tricky ones nonetheless: how to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re being used in many facets of responding to the disease, including to predict the spread of the virus, to optimize contact tracing, to allocate resources and provide decisions for physicians, to design vaccines and rapid testing tools and to understand sneezes. And the answers are needed in a rather shorter time frame than Deep Thought was proposing.

  • WellbeingWork and Wellbeing Bounce Back during Coronavirus Crisis

    Government measures to arrest the economic impact of COVID-19 have helped stop further job losses and declines in working hours, new analysis from The Australian National University (ANU) shows.  The steadier jobs outlook has also boosted Australians’ sense of wellbeing. The Australian National University says that the analysis builds on a first-of-its-kind longitudinal ANU survey in April, which showed more than 670,000 Australians had lost their jobs due to the crisis - an unprecedented drop in employment.  The new survey shows since April there have essentially been no net job losses, with employment sitting at around 58 per cent.  Australians who are working have slightly increased their number of hours worked, jumping from 32.3 hours per week in April to 32.8 per week in May.  

  • InequalityPandemic-Fueled Job Losses Exacerbating Preexisting Inequalities among Workers

    The sharp spike in job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic were disproportionately concentrated in lower-paying occupations and industries, with the most acute impact felt among women, minorities, younger workers and less-educated workers, according to new research co-written by a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign labor economist. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says that while some of the highest-paid occupations saw only negligible declines in employment, nearly all occupations in the bottom quartile of the occupational wage distribution experienced steep employment declines through April, indicating that the pandemic is exacerbating preexisting inequalities among workers.