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New Scientist International Edition

New Scientist International Edition 7-Nov-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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1 minuti
elsewhere on new scientist

Courses The biggest questions of the cosmos What happened at the big bang? What is the universe made of? Are we part of an infinite multiverse? If you’re fascinated by the biggest questions in the cosmos, this new expert-led online course from New Scientist Academy is for you. Register your interest to qualify for a special introductory rate. newscientist.com/courses Podcasts Weekly Halloween special: real-life vampires, the science of ghosts, deep-sea zombies and monster black holes. newscientist.com/podcasts Newsletter Health Check Our free newsletter delivers a weekly round-up of health and fitness news direct to your inbox. newscientist.com/sign-up/health Online Covid-19 daily briefing The day’s coronavirus coverage updated at 6pm GMT with news, features and interviews. newscientist.com/coronavirus-latest Shop Jigsaw puzzles Our limited edition 500 and 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles make the perfect Christmas gift. Each is handmade in Britain from recycled materials. Available to order now. shop.newscientist.com Essential guide The fourth in the Essential Guide…

2 minuti
realism needed

AS THE coronavirus began spreading through Europe in the spring, many scientists warned that worse could come in winter. Now, it seems they were right. The continent’s wave of second lockdowns (see page 7) has brought gloom, anger, fear and, in some countries, protests. In the UK, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, has tried to offer his citizens some hope, telling them that everything will look much cheerier come 2021. Such offerings of hope should be treated with caution. Perhaps things will be better when spring returns to the northern hemisphere. But it isn’t immediately clear why that should be the case. It is possible that by then we will have a stopgap therapy to create immunity without a vaccine, but as Graham Lawton writes on page 12, the results are still…

9 minuti
lockdowns across europe

ENGLAND has begun a second national lockdown, after weeks of regional restrictions failed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The UK government didn’t follow suggestions made by scientific advisers in September to institute a shorter lockdown weeks earlier, intended to halt the exponential growth of coronavirus cases. This new lockdown is needed to stop the spread of the virus, but it and similar efforts across Europe may be too late to prevent the second wave of covid-19 being worse than the first. “It’s pretty bleak,” says Paul Hunter at the University of East Anglia in the UK. He thinks the second wave will be more drawn out but will eventually lead to more deaths in the UK than the 44,000 seen in the first wave. “I think probably we will ultimately see…

4 minuti
germany hit hard by second wave

HAILED as an example to follow for its initial coronavirus response, Germany is now struggling to curb surging infections amid Europe’s second wave. “We are now at a point where, on average nationally, we no longer know where 75 per cent of infections come from,” German chancellor Angela Merkel said during a press conference on 28 October. Unlike many nations, Germany didn’t have to build up its testing and contact-tracing infrastructure from scratch when the pandemic hit. During its first wave in the spring, the country’s 400 or so local health authorities facilitated rapid identification of source cases and tracing of their contacts. Ahead of a gradual easing of restrictions in early May, Merkel and German state leaders focused on expanding the country’s tracing capacity further, agreeing in April that local health authorities…

7 minuti
the stopgap before a vaccine

FOR people who have survived covid-19, there is an opportunity to add another chapter to their recovery story: they could help save other people’s lives by donating blood. The plasma of people who have recovered from the disease contains precious antibodies that helped them fight off the virus, and could help others do the same, or even make them temporarily immune. Such antibodies are an increasing focus of research efforts to treat and prevent covid-19. According to senior US health official Anthony Fauci, antibody therapies could be a “bridge to a vaccine” – a stopgap to carry us safely to the promised land. The use of antibody-laden blood plasma was developed more than 100 years ago to treat diphtheria. It fell out of favour with the introduction of antibiotics, but was revived…

2 minuti
fusion energy but cooler

RESEARCHERS have successfully tested a new £55 million nuclear fusion machine in the UK, which could provide vital insights for a future prototype power station. The Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) Upgrade at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire took seven years to build. Last week, the machine produced its first plasma, the state hydrogen reaches when heated to extremely high temperatures. Our understanding of how stars are powered by hydrogen fusing into helium dates back around a century, but efforts to harness clean energy from the reaction in a commercial power station still face many barriers – not least how to extract more energy than we put in. One key problem is the heat from the plasma, which reaches millions of degrees Celsius. This means it gradually burns away the…