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New Scientist 10-Oct-20

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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.

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51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
elsewhere on new scientist

Virtual events Unleashing innovation The UK government wants annual spending on research and development to be £65 billion by 2027, with the goal of making the UK an innovation superpower. But how to make the most of that money? Join our panel for this free debate, covering moonshots, attracting talent and much more. Thursday 22 October 2020, 6pm BST. newscientist.com/events Podcasts Weekly The hunt for life on Venus and Mars; the effect of diet on your biological age; the world’s most endangered group of animals and an exoplanet in a galaxy far, far away. newscientist.com/podcasts Newsletter Launchpad Our free newsletter sends you on a weekly voyage across the universe. This week: a newly discovered underground lake on Mars. newscientist.com/sign-up/launchpad Video Science with Sam How did life begin? This week, intrepid video reporter Sam Wong explores one of the biggest mysteries in science: the origins…

2 min.
making the cut

ASK most people to list the causes of climate change, and you would expect to hear about oil companies, flights and cars. But, increasingly, we are realising that producing our food has massive environmental impacts. Farming is one of the main drivers of deforestation and global warming, among many other issues. The flip side of this is that improving the way we farm can have massive environmental benefits. Boosting yields so that we can grow the same amount of food on half the land could save a forest, along with all the carbon that it stores. One of the best ways to do this is to develop better breeds. The plants and animals we eat have already been transformed by conventional breeding, but it is a slow and clumsy process. Now we…

2 min.
the week that shocked the us

HEALTH experts criticised US president Donald Trump this week for telling people not to “be afraid” of coronavirus, and for removing his face mask on arriving at the White House after being treated for covid-19 in hospital. His return to the residence on Monday immediately raised questions over whether he would break guidance on self-isolating for 14 days. “Will be back on the campaign trail soon,” Trump wrote on Twitter. Efforts are still under way to trace his contacts, with at least 17 other positive cases linked to the Trump administration. Anthony Fauci, the US’s leading infectious disease expert, appeared to contradict Trump’s advice. “Obviously, the message should be that we should try as best as we can to avoid infection. No matter who you are, how old you are, or what…

6 min.
covid-19 symptoms rethink

HAVE we been getting covid-19 all wrong? As the list of symptoms recognised by health authorities evolves, we are starting to learn that people seem to fall into one of several symptom clusters, and that we might be missing the most important signs of the disease in children. The findings could help researchers better understand how the virus affects individuals differently, and how an outbreak in a preschool might look very different to one in a care home. In January, when the world was first alerted to a new coronavirus spreading in the Chinese city of Wuhan, health authorities listed cough, fever and difficulty breathing as key symptoms. People with severe infections developed pneumonia. The illness looked like many other respiratory infections. With time, that picture evolved and today, both the World Health…

1 min.
six types of covid-19?

A team from the Covid Symptom Study has split the disease into six types: 1 Flu-like symptoms, no fever Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat and aches and pains, but no fever. Around 1.5 per cent of this group will go on to require breathing support in hospital. 2 Flu-like symptoms with fever Similar to group 1, plus a loss of appetite and fever. 3 Gastrointestinal Diarrhoea alongside loss of smell and appetite, headache, sore throat and chest pain. Typically, no cough. 4 Fatigue This cluster is considered more severe than the previous three, as 8.6 per cent require breathing support. Fatigue accompanies headache, loss of smell, cough, chest pain and fever. 5 Confusion Another severe category. People experience confusion in addition to symptoms listed in cluster four. Around 10 per cent will require breathing support. 6 Abdominal and respiratory Considered…

2 min.
uk doctors may struggle to cope with covid-19 this winter

LIFE as a general practitioner slowly started returning to normal after the summer. I saw only one patient with “long covid” and none with covid-19 symptoms during September. The local “hot hub” that I helped to set up to deal with people who potentially had covid-19 closed on 28 August amid single-digit cases in the area. Sadly, it wasn’t to last. Last week saw record numbers of daily diagnosed cases in the UK, reaching well in excess of 7000. Restrictions are tightening, and however the government chooses to handle things, many people will become unwell. I am worried. Doctors’ surgeries are likely to get overwhelmed again, and there is no doubt that more patients will be redirected to emergency departments. One of the difficulties facing us as doctors will be assessing people with…