New Scientist

New Scientist 6-Jun-20

New Scientist covers the latest developments in science and technology that will impact your world. New Scientist employs and commissions the best writers in their fields from all over the world. Our editorial team provide cutting-edge news, award-winning features and reports, written in concise and clear language that puts discoveries and advances in the context of everyday life today and in the future.

United Kingdom
New Scientist Ltd
Read More
$8.19(Incl. tax)
$136.78(Incl. tax)
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
elsewhere on new scientist

Video Tim Peake: To the ends of Earth and beyond Astronaut Tim Peake and explorers Nics Wetherill and Will Millard tell New Scientist about life in space and the wild corners of Earth youtube.com/newscientist Podcasts Weekly A new era of space travel and bending the climate change curve. Plus: odd bumblebee behaviour and a close brush with another galaxy. newscientist.com/podcasts Virtual events What happened at the big bang? Theoretical astrophysicist Dan Hooper reveals how little we know about the first few seconds after the big bang and why the early universe could soon give up its secrets, at 6pm BST on 9 July. newscientist.com/events Newsletter Fix the planet Our free newsletter delivers a monthly dose of climate optimism straight to your inbox. newscientist.com/sign-up/fix-the-planet Online Covid-19 daily update The day’s coronavirus coverage updated at 6pm BST with news, features and interviews. newscientist.com/coronavirus-latest Essential guide The first in a brand new series, our…

2 min.
highs and lows

“CONGRATULATIONS to America – this has been an amazing two days,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said on 31 May, as two astronauts arrived on the International Space Station. They had launched the day before, carried into orbit by a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. The launch was a major milestone for US space flight (see page 12), but many people in the US weren’t in the mood for either congratulations or celebrations. The evening after Bridenstine’s remarks, nationwide protests against police brutality and racism continued in the wake of the homicide of George Floyd, who died after a police officer pinned him to the ground by his neck. As the US coronavirus death toll exceeded 100,000 people, hospitals had to treat both those with covid-19 and protesters hit with pepper spray and rubber…

3 min.
too much, too fast?

LOCKDOWN in England was further relaxed on 1 June, with groups of up to six people allowed to meet in a socially distanced manner outside, and schools encouraged to open to some year groups. But the UK Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said in a statement that it feared the government was “lifting too many restrictions, too quickly”. The group said there were signs over the weekend that the public was no longer so strictly following guidance. A relatively high R – the average number of other people one case is likely to infect – of between 0.7 and 0.9 for the UK means “the room for manoeuvre is tight”, the ADPH said. It is essential to keep R below 1 to keep the outbreak in decline. “It’s a little…

7 min.
how it all went wrong in the uk

THE UK has been a leader in its coronavirus response, but not in a way any government would aspire to. The country now has the highest absolute excess deaths in Europe, 59,537 more than usual since the week ending 20 March, and the second highest per million people, behind only Spain for countries with comparable data, according to a Financial Times analysis. The total number of confirmed covid-19 deaths when New Scientist went to press was second only to the US, and was still rising by more than 100 a day. “Not knowing they were infected, many people were carrying on as normal and infecting others” “I think it’s nothing short of a disgrace, and a dereliction of duty,” says former UK chief scientific adviser David King about the figures, which are…

5 min.
countdown to a vaccine

JUST months after the coronavirus pandemic began, 10 vaccines designed to prevent covid-19 are already being tested in people, and another 114 are in development. A vaccine that provides effective, long-lasting protection against the coronavirus would be a game-changer, far better than any treatment. “Do we need a vaccine? Absolutely we do. It’s really better to prevent,” says Peter Horby, who is leading a UK trial evaluating several covid-19 treatments. However, we don’t yet know whether it is possible to induce long-lasting coronavirus immunity with a vaccine. When people are infected by other kinds of coronaviruses, their immunity seems to fade rapidly – although subsequent infections are milder. There are concerns this could mean that any protection from a vaccine would fade too. “It may be that we don’t get a one-dose…

3 min.
ventilators may not be best for severe covid-19

WHEN the coronavirus pandemic began, the UK scrambled to get more ventilators for use in intensive care. But now some doctors are trying to keep people off ventilators, as they believe it makes some people with covid-19 worse – although we don’t have the results of studies to assess this yet. Ventilators are used to treat people with covid-19 who have difficulty breathing on their own, but the procedure is invasive and can even be traumatic. Doctors have other, less invasive, options, including giving patients oxygen by face masks or nasal cannulas, two tubes that sit just inside the nostrils. Those with severe infection may need to be put on a ventilator, which usually requires a patient to be unconscious so a tube can be put down their throat. But this carries…