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New Scientist Australian Edition 16-Jan-21

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.

New Scientist Ltd
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min
elsewhere on new scientist

Virtual events The misunderstood science of metabolism Why do so many diets lead to us gaining weight? Is exercise really essential to losing a few pounds? Evolutionary biologist Herman Pontzer has conducted groundbreaking studies into such questions, including work with Hadza hunter-gatherer communities in Tanzania. In this lecture, he reveals how metabolism controls every aspect of our health. Join us on 25 February from 6pm GMT or watch later on demand. Tickets are available now. newscientist.com/events Podcasts Weekly The facts about two new, fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus; the bones of a possible new species of human; do low-carb diets work? newscientist.com/podcasts Newsletter Fix the Planet Get chief reporter Adam Vaughan’s weekly dose of climate hope delivered free to your inbox. In this edition, he explains heat pumps, the green tech that can heat homes. newscientist.com/sign-up/fix-the-planet Online Covid-19 daily briefing All the latest, most…

2 min
time to think smart

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…” We are just a couple of weeks into 2021 and yet that famous opening from Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities has never rung truer. On the one hand, we are seeing the roll-out of effective vaccines against a disease that little more than a year ago was unknown to science – a stunning tribute to human wisdom, and to the power of a belief in science. On the other hand, we have the incredible scenes of an enraged mob rampaging through the US Capitol, the fulcrum of what until recently was considered one…

3 min
uk variant spreads in us

THE highly contagious B.1.1.7. variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in the UK, has officially reached 10 states in the US, but infectious disease experts say the true extent of its spread is unclear due to a lack of monitoring. Texas, Minnesota and New York are among the states that have detected the variant. Given it has been found in 10 states, it is likely to be present in more, says Lane Warmbrod at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Still, she says, “it is hard to know how widespread the variant is because we don’t have sufficient genetic epidemiology capacity or capability in the US”. William Hanage at Harvard University says the overall picture is unclear due to insufficient monitoring. Community spread is occurring in at least California, Florida and…

6 min
vaccine dosing controversy

IN A bid to vaccinate as many people as fast as possible, the UK is taking an unorthodox strategy against covid-19. The country is eking out its vaccine supply by making most people wait three months to get their second dose of the two-shot regimen. Both vaccines currently being used in the UK were intended to be given over much shorter timescales. Changing a medicine’s dosing schedule so dramatically is unprecedented, and some experts have branded it a dangerous gamble, putting lives at risk. But what does the evidence say? The UK announced its approach on 30 December as it was battling a huge surge in covid-19 cases, partly driven by a new, more transmissible variant of the virus. This was the same day that the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford…

1 min
vaccine roll-out around the world

Covid-19 vaccine doses administered There is great variance between countries in how many doses of vaccines have been given to people so far. The total number of doses administered is shown here for selected countries, which may not equal the total number of people vaccinated, because multiple doses of some vaccines are needed Covid-19 vaccine doses administered per 100 people The total number of individual vaccine doses given per 100 people (only selected countries shown). This may not equal the total number of people vaccinated because multiple doses of some vaccines are needed…

4 min
can the uk hit its vaccine target?

THE UK’s race to vaccinate 13.9 million people in high-priority groups against covid-19 by 15 February is a Herculean undertaking. “Unprecedented” may have become an overused word in the pandemic, but the size and speed of the vaccine roll-out warrants it, though it may still be months before many people receive a covid-19 vaccine. The numbers tell the story. Figures released on 11 January showed that nearly 2.3 million people in the UK have had a first dose of one of the three vaccines approved by the UK regulator. On that same day, the UK government said it aims to be vaccinating at least 2 million people a week in England by the end of this month. To reach the mid-February UK target that prime minister Boris Johnson announced on 4…