COVID-19

Coronavirus variants have new names: we can finally stop stigmatising countries

Guest Author Jun 02, 2021

Ed Feil, University of Bath   The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a new naming system for the coronavirus that uses Greek letters to refer to the different variants. For the variants of concern, B117 (the UK or Kent variant) will now be known as alpha, B1351 (South Africa) will be beta, P1 (Brazil) is gamma and B16172 … Read More

Flights have resumed between New Zealand and NSW, but the temporary travel pause may not be the last

Guest Author May 11, 2021

Michael Plank, University of Canterbury and Andrew Chen, University of Auckland   New Zealand has resumed quarantine-free travel with New South Wales today, even though the Australian state’s government has extended restrictions in greater Sydney for another week. From New Zealand’s perspective, the fact no further community cases have been discovered gives us confidence we’re not overlooking a … Read More

Could the COVID vaccines affect your period? We don’t know yet — but there’s no cause for concern

Guest Author May 04, 2021

Michelle Wise, University of Auckland Over recent weeks, news reports have indicated some women are experiencing irregularities in their menstrual cycles after receiving a COVID vaccine. This has included periods arriving early and being heavier than usual, or being absent or late, among other changes. At this stage, there’s no research evidence to support these anecdotal reports. But it … Read More

Exercise boosts immunity and makes vaccines more effective – new study

Guest Author Apr 23, 2021

Sebastien Chastin, Glasgow Caledonian University The availability of vaccines has brought hope for the end of the pandemic. Yet COVID deaths and cases are still surging around the world. As we try to immunise the world, the most likely scenario for the next few years is that COVID-19 will be like other infectious diseases, such as flu, that we … Read More

Why strict border control remains crucial if we want to keep the travel bubble safe

Guest Author Apr 21, 2021

Nicholas Steyn, University of Auckland and Michael Plank, University of Canterbury With the opening of a quarantine-free travel corridor between New Zealand and Australia this week, it’s easy to forget COVID-19 is still spreading globally, faster than ever, with more than three million deaths recorded worldwide. Within a day of the travel bubble opening, a fully vaccinated border … Read More

COVID-19 cost more in 2020 than the world’s combined natural disasters in any of the past 20 years

Guest Author Apr 20, 2021

Ilan Noy, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington and Nguyen Doan, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington What have we lost because of the pandemic? According to our calculations, a lot — and many of the worst hit countries and regions are far from world media attention. Typically, damage from any disaster is measured in separate … Read More

Have introverts really fared better in lockdown?

Guest Author Apr 14, 2021

Lis Ku, De Montfort University Since the onset of the pandemic, everyone from newspaper columnists to Twitter users has advanced the now idea that extroverts and introverts are handling the crisis differently. Many claim that introverts adapt to social distancing and isolation better than extroverts, with some even suggesting that introverts are practically “loving” the crisis, as it offers … Read More

The best hope for fairly distributing COVID-19 vaccines globally is at risk of failing. Here’s how to save it

Guest Author Apr 14, 2021

Deborah Gleeson, La Trobe University COVAX, the global initiative to coordinate the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in an equitable way, is crucial for bringing the pandemic under control. But COVAX’s aim of delivering 2 billion doses to participating countries by the end of 2021 — including 92 low-income countries that can’t afford to buy vaccines directly from manufacturers — … Read More

Vaccination alone will not provide full protection. When borders open, NZ will still be managing COVID-19

Guest Author Apr 09, 2021

Nikki Turner, University of Auckland From next week, unvaccinated staff working at managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities will be moved to low-risk jobs, following a case of a worker who missed vaccination appointments and then tested positive for COVID-19. The recently announced ban on arrivals from India underscores an important point: even once all border and … Read More