New Scientist

New Scientist 18-Apr-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.

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51 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
stronger for a longer life

“FOR the first time in history we can save the human race by lying in front of the TV and doing nothing. Let’s not screw this up.” The gag is just one of many similar memes doing the rounds on social media. If only things were so simple. For many, the idea of being cooped up at home for weeks or months on end without our usual means of exercise is daunting. Regular exercise brings many benefits, extending to both physical and mental well-being. But pounding the pavements could put us and others at risk. In many countries under lockdown, it is limited or even forbidden. There is a neat solution: strength training. As we report in our cover story (see page 34), we are only now discovering just how beneficial this…

3 min.
facing two deadly viruses

FRESH cases of Ebola have been detected just days before the deadly epidemic in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) was due to be declared over, and as cities lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. On 10 April, the country’s Ministry of Health confirmed the death of a man in the city of Beni in North Kivu province. Two further cases then emerged at the same health centre, including an 11-month-old girl, whose death was announced on 12 April, and a 7-year-old girl currently receiving treatment. The cases are a significant blow to the country, which had previously recorded its last Ebola case on 17 February and was on the verge of ending an outbreak that has killed more than 2200 people since 2018. Bringing the epidemic…

6 min.
how hubei fought the virus

WUHAN – the city where the coronavirus pandemic began – has partially lifted its lockdown, with the epidemic that spread through the city and out across the surrounding province of Hubei under control for the time being. In early April, New Scientist spoke to three doctors about life at the peak of the province’s crisis. What were your roles in the coronavirus outbreak? Xiang Lu: I led a medical aid team of more than 300 people from Jiangsu province to Huangshi [a city in Hubei province]. Our doctors were assigned to eight designated hospitals with coronavirus patients. Zhiyong Peng: I manage the intensive care unit (ICU) at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, with 30 doctors. Yi Han: I first worked in the ICU at Wuhan First Hospital, and now I’m in Jinyintan Hospital. I’m currently…

2 min.
australia keeps a lid on covid-19 – for now

EARLY signs suggest that Australia is beating the coronavirus, with the rate of new infections slowing for more than two weeks. But will the trend continue? The number of new, confirmed covid-19 cases per day has been dropping in the country, from 460 cases on 28 March to 44 on 13 April. As of 14 April, there had been just more than 6300 confirmed cases, with 61 people dying from the virus so far and another 35 on ventilators. The country’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, said in a press conference on 7 April that the situation is better than the best-case scenario predicted by government modelling in January. However, he said, it “could all come undone” if Australians flout rules put in place to contain the virus. Australia’s pandemic response has centred…

2 min.
concern coronavirus may trigger post-viral fatigue syndromes

COULD the coronavirus sweeping around the world have a second illness following in its wake? We may expect to see an outbreak of post-viral fatigue syndromes in some people who have had covid-19, according to some researchers. Viral infections have previously been linked to problems with long-term fatigue symptoms. For example, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which is also called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), sometimes occurs after viral infections. People who have CFS experience extreme fatigue and a range of other symptoms, such as pain and sensitivity to light, but the condition is poorly understood. So is it possible that the coronavirus could trigger similar fatigue syndromes? There are hints from the related SARS virus that this may happen. After the SARS outbreak of 2002 to 2003, some people in Toronto, Canada, who were…

3 min.
is wearing a face mask a good idea?

AS CASES of covid-19 continue to rise in many places, some people are choosing to wear a face mask when out in public – but do they work? Guidance on face masks varies among international health bodies and governments. The World Health Organization (WHO) currently only recommends face masks for people who are coughing or sneezing and for those who are caring for people who may have covid-19. “There is some evidence of protection, but we still don’t know if face masks in the community work” In some places like Lombardy, the worst hit region of Italy, face masks are mandatory. The UK government doesn’t advocate their widespread use, while on 3 April, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people wear “cloth face coverings” when they go out. The body…