Tagged: Pandemic

The virus that stole Christmas - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Dec 20, 2020

Mutant and virus are two words that rarely go well together. Reports from the UK that a  variant of SARS-CoV-2 has emerged (called lineage B.1.1.7), and may be more readily transmissible, aren’t what we want to hear just before Christmas, or any time. However, it isn’t necessarily a nightmare scenario. Coronaviruses have relatively low levels of mutation, … Read More

Sweden vs. New Zealand, with Taiwan in the lead - COVID-19

Dave Heatley Dec 11, 2020

Is the Covid pandemic and our collective responses to it best framed as health vs. the economy? That is, are countries forced to make a horrible trade-off between: minimising Covid infection rates at high economic cost; and accepting higher Covid infection rates, this being the cost of maintaining economic activity? This framing underlies many of the popular narratives comparing the … Read More

Will the Coronavirus Evolve to Be Less Deadly? - COVID-19

Guest Author Nov 14, 2020

Wendy Orent No lethal pandemic lasts forever. The 1918 flu, for example, crisscrossed the globe and claimed tens of millions of lives, yet by 1920, the virus that caused it had become significantly less deadly, causing only ordinary seasonal flu. Some pandemics have lasted longer, like the Black Death, which swept out of Central Asia in 1346, spread across Europe, … Read More

New Zealand needs a ‘traffic light’ system to stop COVID-19 creeping in at the border - COVID-19

Guest Author Nov 06, 2020

Nick Wilson, University of Otago and Michael Baker, University of Otago Following the sixth COVID-19 incursion in three months, New Zealand needs to shift from a one-size-fits-all strategy to a risk-based approach to border management. Two staff have recently tested positive after coming into contact with international seafarers in the course of their duties at a managed isolation facility … Read More

Treating an infected president - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Oct 04, 2020

News reports indicate that a range of therapies are being tried on the President of the United States to treat his SARS-CoV-2 infection. Two of these involve treatments that have not yet completed clinical trials. One was a cocktail of two neutralising antibodies. The second is an anti-viral drug.   Monoclonal antibodies The president was initially given a single treatment … Read More

Where in the world will the next epidemic start? - Guest Work

Guest Author Sep 27, 2020

Naomi Forrester-Soto, Keele University Viruses jumping from animals to humans have been the starting point of numerous outbreaks, from Ebola to Zika. Given the similarity of SARS-CoV-2 to coronaviruses found in bats, this probably marked the beginning of COVID-19 too. We know that viruses have passed from animals to humans throughout history, and will continue to do so. Read More

Coronavirus: the road to vaccine roll-out is always bumpy, as 20th-century pandemics show - COVID-19

Guest Author Sep 26, 2020

Samantha Vanderslott, University of Oxford If you have been following the media coverage of the new vaccines in development for COVID-19, it will be clear that the stakes are high. Very few vaccine trials in history have attracted so much attention, perhaps since polio in the mid-20th century. A now largely forgotten chapter, summer polio outbreaks invoked terror in parents. Read More

The long-term health burden of COVID-19: further justification for NZ’s elimination strategy - Public Health Expert

Public Health Expert Sep 24, 2020

Prof John D. Potter* This blog briefly surveys the emerging scientific evidence on the longer-term burden of symptoms and disease in survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these symptoms point to damage in the brain and heart. These long-term harms add to the wide range of other reasons for Aotearoa/New Zealand to persist with its successful COVID-19 elimination strategy. Read More

Terrible luck: lockdowns on learning and youth job prospects - COVID-19

Guest Author Sep 23, 2020

What is bad luck? Bad luck is spilling spaghetti sauce down your shirt right before an important meeting. When the person in front of you gets the last seat on the bus, that’s bad luck. Bad luck is when it’s sunny outside, so you leave the house without a coat, and it hails almost immediately (unless you live in Wellington, … Read More

Things that grow fast, and things that surprise us - Tuhia ki te rangi

Guest Author Sep 17, 2020

Marie Becdelievre January 2020. The number of news article mentioning coronavirus exploded and anxious voices whispered about a global pandemic. Whisper? To me, it was only a whisper. I tend to learn about the world through non-fiction books, conferences, and academic research rather than news and social media, so I did not see the crisis coming. But as whispers … Read More