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New Scientist Australian Edition 8-May-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 truth about exercise We all know exercise is a good route to a healthier life. But what kind? Is yoga enough? Should we all be hitting the gym three times a week? Or are we better off with high-intensity interval training? In this talk, Jason Gill reveals what science can tell us about how to get the most from exercise. Join us on 13 May from 6pm BST or watch on demand later. Tickets available now. newscientist.com/events Podcasts Weekly Thirty-five years on from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, podcast editor Rowan Hooper talks to the director of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank about the real risks from radiation. The team also chat about the wood wide web and the space station China is beginning to build in orbit. newscientist.com/podcasts Newsletter Our Human Story A monthly exploration of human evolution…

2 min
we must avoid complacency

THE situation in India continues to worsen, with more than 20 million cases of covid-19 recorded and health systems overwhelmed. But there is nothing unique about India that means it alone could face such a crisis. Around the world, country after country is being hit by surging coronavirus cases, driven in part by new variants that are harder to control. The pandemic is accelerating across South America, and cases are rising in many African countries too. In most low and middle-income nations, few people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, compared with some high-income countries, where high vaccination rates are allowing restrictions to be eased. Add to this the fact that many lower-income countries don’t have the medical capacity to deal with a huge new wave, and you have a catastrophe…

7 min
india crisis: what happens next?

WHILE life in some rich countries begins to return to a semblance of normality, the global coronavirus crisis is far from over. Official case numbers in India have surpassed 20 million and, globally, the week beginning 26 April was the worst since the pandemic began. Worldwide, the number of reported new daily infections hovers around 900,000, although this is a huge underestimate. More than a third of these are in India, where infections are still rising. New Scientist looks at what happens next. How much worse will it get for India? India’s second wave looks set to get a lot worse before it gets better. In terms of the number of people being infected, the outbreak is already by far the worst in the world. Having recorded more than 400,000 cases on 30…

1 min
what is india’s ‘double mutant’?

India’s “double mutant” coronavirus variant, more accurately known as B.1.617, is a variant of SARS-CoV-2 that is common in India and present in several other countries. Media reports claim it is the main cause of India’s second wave, but this hasn’t been formally established. It may be one of several variants playing a role. Calling it India’s double mutant is misleading on two counts. First, B.1.617 has around 15 mutations. Double mutant refers to the fact that it has two mutations of particular concern in the outer spike protein of the virus, which the virus uses to enter cells. These mutations may make antibodies to older variants or existing vaccines less effective, although initial studies suggest that the Covaxin and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines used in India still prevent infection by B.1.617. Second, the two…

3 min
vaccine side effects

AS GROWING numbers of younger adults get vaccinated against covid-19, social media is awash with conversation about side effects, which appear to be more common in young people. What kind of side effects can people expect, how can they be distinguished from signs of a rare blood clot syndrome, and what do they mean for people’s immunity? What side effects may people experience after a covid-19 vaccine? All vaccines can cause pain and swelling at the injection site, as well as more widespread, or “systemic”, effects. According to the National Health Services in the UK, these can include fever, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pains, nausea and chills – when people feel cold without apparent cause – and tend to happen in the first day or two after the jab. They shouldn’t…

1 min
lockdown inactivity in england proves long-lasting

MORE than one in four people in England did less exercise in the first lockdown than they would normally and didn’t increase it afterwards. The results from the first study of how physical activity changed beyond lockdown suggests that decreased physical activity could worsen obesity levels in the country. A survey of 36,000 people taking part in the University College London (UCL) COVID-19 Social Study found that 29 per cent decreased their physical activity between March 2020, when the lockdown started, and August. “It’s a sizeable number,” says Andrew Steptoe at UCL. “[Although] there were stay-at-home orders, people were encouraged to go out and exercise, but some people didn’t. Some people were frightened of catching covid. Some didn’t live in the circumstances where they had the opportunity to do this.” Steptoe says…