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Covid-19 information: North Korea reviews its first instances of the pandemic

An employee disinfects a supermarket in Pyongyang, North Korea in November 2021

An worker disinfects a grocery store in Pyongyang, North Korea, in November 2021

Jon Chol Jin/AP/Shutterstock

Latest coronavirus information as of 1pm 12 May

North Korea has launched a nationwide lockdown after reporting its first covid-19 outbreak within the capital Pyongyang

The nation had by no means reported a covid-19 case earlier than 12 May 2022. But many anticipate infections would have arisen in early 2020, earlier than North Korea closed its borders, given its journey and commerce relationships with China.

According to the North Korean information outlet KCNA, folks with fevers in Pyongyang lately examined constructive for the omicron sublineage BA.2, however state media has not confirmed the variety of instances or the place the infections might have originated.

There is not any official report of any of North Korea’s 25-million-strong-population being vaccinated.

According to KCNA, state authorities, together with North Korea’s chief Kim Jong-un, recognise {that a} “most serious emergency case” has occurred, and Jong-un hopes to “quickly cure the infections in order to eradicate the source of the virus”.

Other coronavirus information

More than half of people that have been hospitalised with covid-19 have a minimum of one symptom two years later, according to a examine that adopted 1192 folks dwelling in Wuhan, China, after they have been contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 virus in early 2020. The findings present the longest recognized follow-up of covid-19 signs to date, with earlier research spanning round one 12 months.

The contributors – who had a median age of 57 – have been assessed through a six-minute strolling take a look at, questionnaires and lung exams at six months, 12 months and two years post-discharge.

More than two thirds (68 per cent) reported a minimum of one lengthy covid symptom six months after leaving hospital, reducing to 55 per cent after two years. The mostly reported symptom was fatigue or muscle weak spot.

“Our findings indicate that for a certain proportion of hospitalised covid-19 survivors, while they may have cleared the initial infection, more than two years is needed to recover fully from covid-19,” Bin Cao on the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in China mentioned in an announcement.

The variety of reported covid-19 deaths that occurred within the African area between 2 and eight March was up 84 per cent on the earlier week, based on the World Health Organization. The African area additionally noticed instances rise 12 per cent week-on-week.

Globally, the variety of reported covid-19 instances and deaths have been declining because the finish of March.

Essential details about coronavirus

Where did coronavirus come from? And different covid-19 questions answered

What is covid-19?

Covid-19 vaccines: Everything you might want to know concerning the main pictures

Long covid: Do I’ve it, how lengthy will it final and might we deal with it?

What’s the fairest approach to share covid-19 vaccines all over the world?

Covid-19: The story of a pandemic

What to learn, watch and hearken to about coronavirus

New Scientist Weekly options updates and evaluation on the newest developments within the covid-19 pandemic. Our podcast sees skilled journalists from the journal talk about the largest science tales to hit the headlines every week – from expertise and area, to well being and the surroundings.

The Jump is a BBC Radio 4 collection exploring how viruses can cross from animals into people to trigger pandemics. The first episode examines the origins of the covid-19 pandemic.

Why Is Covid Killing People of Colour? is a BBC documentary, which investigates what the excessive covid-19 demise charges in ethnic minority sufferers reveal about well being inequality within the UK.

Panorama: The Race for a Vaccine is a BBC documentary concerning the inside story of the event of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine towards covid-19.

Race Against the Virus: Hunt for a Vaccine is a Channel 4 documentary which tells the story of the coronavirus pandemic by way of the eyes of the scientists on the frontline.

The New York Times is assessing the progress in growth of potential drug remedies for covid-19, and rating them for effectiveness and security.

Humans of COVID-19 is a venture highlighting the experiences of key staff on the frontline within the struggle towards coronavirus within the UK, by way of social media.

Belly Mujinga: Searching for the Truth is a BBC Panorama investigation of the demise of transport employee Belly Mujinga from covid-19, following reviews she had been coughed and spat on by a buyer at London’s Victoria Station.

Coronavirus, Explained on Netflix is a brief documentary collection analyzing the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to struggle it and methods to handle its psychological well being toll.

Stopping the Next Pandemic: How Covid-19 Can Help Us Save Humanity by Debora Mackenzie is about how the pandemic occurred and why it’s going to occur once more if we don’t do issues in a different way in future.

The Rules of Contagion is concerning the new science of contagion and the stunning methods it shapes our lives and behavior. The writer, Adam Kucharski, is an epidemiologist on the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK, and within the ebook he examines how illnesses unfold and why they cease.

Previous updates

Workers in personal protective equipment deliver food during the ongoing covid-19 lockdown in the Jing'an district of Shanghai in China on 7 May 2022

Workers in private protecting tools ship meals through the ongoing covid-19 lockdown within the Jing’an district of Shanghai in China on 7 May 2022

HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP through Getty Images

11 May

Lifting China’s zero-covid coverage may set off a big omicron wave, however the World Health Organization (WHO) says sustaining the technique is “unsustainable”

Scrapping China’s zero-covid coverage may result in 1.55 million deaths and improve intensive care numbers by an element of 15, based on a modelling examine from Fudan University in China.

China launched the technique, which goals to rapidly lower off transmission to finish outbreaks, in August 2021 in response to the faster-spreading delta variant. Officials at the moment are mentioned to be evaluating the sustainability of their coverage.

Fudan’s mathematical mannequin, primarily based on a totally vaccinated inhabitants with no mass testing or motion restrictions in place, predicts that lifting the zero-covid technique may result in as many as 5.1 million hospitalisations, 2.7 million intensive care unit admissions and 1.55 million deaths by September 2022.

People over 60 who’re unvaccinated would make up 74 per cent of those deaths, the mannequin predicts.

But the WHO doubts whether or not protecting zero-covid insurance policies in place is sustainable, because the highly-transmissible omicron variant continues to drive instances in China.

“When we talk about the zero-covid strategy, we don’t think that it’s sustainable, considering the behaviour of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future,” WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned at a press convention.

“We have mentioned about this subject with Chinese consultants and we indicated that the strategy is not going to be sustainable.

“Transiting into another strategy will be very important.”

Other coronavirus information

Pregnant people who find themselves vaccinated towards covid-19 are 15 per cent much less prone to have a stillbirth than their unvaccinated counterparts, based on a meta-analysis of 23 research protecting greater than 117,000 vaccinated pregnant folks.

Vaccination in being pregnant can also be 90 per cent efficient at stopping covid-19 an infection, with no proof of an elevated danger of problems, resembling a decrease birthweight or postpartum haemorrhage, the examine discovered.

New Zealand has recorded greater than 1 million covid-19 instances, based on its ministry of well being. Over 986,000 of those instances occurred in early 2022, with the federal government loosening its zero-covid technique in March.

More than 20 per cent of New Zealand’s 5-million-strong inhabitants is subsequently recognized to have been contaminated, nevertheless, modelling suggests the true quantity could possibly be 3 times bigger.

A Moderna covid-19 booster jab is prepared at a vaccination site in London in April 2022

A Moderna covid-19 booster jab is ready at a vaccination website in London in April 2022

SOPA Images Limited/Alamy

10 May

Study suggests a fourth dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine usually gives elevated safety from covid-19

A fourth dose of an mRNA covid-19 vaccine may present a “substantial boost in antibody levels and cellular immunity”, based on a examine carried out as a part of the University of Southampton’s Cov-Boost vaccine trial and revealed in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

A fourth vaccine has been rolled out throughout the UK for folks aged 75 and over, and those that are immunocompromised. Off the again of the Cov-Boost examine, a bigger group of individuals within the UK could also be supplied a second booster jab later this 12 months.

In the trial, 166 contributors who had obtained a 3rd dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, following two preliminary Pfizer/BioNTech or University of Oxford/AstraZeneca doses in June 2021, have been both given a full dose of Pfizer/BioNTech or a half dose of Moderna as a fourth jab, about seven months after their third vaccination.

Results reveal the fourth jab usually supplied increased antibody ranges than a 3rd dose and supplied significantly robust safety for these aged 70 and over.

However, the examine additionally discovered that some contributors maintained increased ranges of immunity after a 3rd dose and solely obtained a restricted increase from a fourth jab, suggesting there could possibly be a ceiling to the immune response.

If this ceiling impact is seen in additional research, it may counsel {that a} fourth booster shot is much less efficient in those that have lately been contaminated with covid-19 or with a window shorter than seven months between their third and fourth vaccine doses.

“These results underline the benefits of the most vulnerable people receiving current spring boosters and gives confidence for any prospective autumn booster programme in the UK,” lead writer Saul Faust mentioned in an announcement.

Other coronavirus information

Lockdowns and social distancing brought on by the pandemic led to a “small but significant increase” in loneliness worldwide, based on a meta-analysis of 34 research, protecting 200,000 contributors throughout 4 continents.

Speaking to The Independent, Mareike Ernst, of Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz in Germany, mentioned: “Given the small effect sizes, dire warnings about a ‘loneliness pandemic’ may be overblown. However, as loneliness constitutes a risk for premature mortality and mental and physical health, it should be closely monitored.”

Just 51 per cent of people that have examined constructive for covid-19 are following isolation tips in England, based on figures for 28 March to 2 April 2022 issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The authorized requirement to self-isolate after testing constructive for covid-19 was eliminated in England on the finish of February 2022. In April, new isolation steerage was issued for individuals who examined constructive, urging them to keep away from contact with different folks till they now not had signs or felt unwell. Similar steerage is in place in the remainder of the UK.

“Only half of those who tested positive for covid-19 adhered fully to self-isolation guidance,” Tim Gibb at ONS mentioned in an announcement. “While this is a similar proportion to what we reported in mid-March 2022, it however represents a significant decrease to levels of adherence seen earlier this year.”

An aerial view of a burial site for people who died with covid-19 at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, in the Amazon forest in Brazil, taken on 21 November 2020

An aerial view of a burial website for individuals who died with covid-19 on the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery in Manaus, within the Amazon forest in Brazil, taken on 21 November 2020

MICHAEL DANTAS/AFP through Getty Images

5 May

The covid-19 pandemic straight or not directly precipitated 14.9 million deaths as of the tip of 2021, based on a WHO report

In a serious evaluation, officers from the World Health Organization (WHO) calculated the variety of pandemic-related deaths that occurred globally between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2022.

The researchers mixed nationwide demise information for every nation with statistics from scientific research carried out in the identical nation. They additionally used a statistical mannequin to account for deaths that will have been in any other case neglected.

The workforce then estimated the variety of fatalities that may have been anticipated had the pandemic not occurred, evaluating the 2 figures to present an “excess” of 14.9 million.

This extra contains deaths straight brought on by SARS-CoV-2 virus, in addition to those who have been not directly brought on by the pandemic, resembling individuals who died prematurely as a result of healthcare programs have been overwhelmed.

According to John Hopkins University information, simply over 6.2 million folks have died of covid-19 worldwide, not considering the pandemic’s oblique deaths.

“These sobering data not only point to the impact of the pandemic but also to the need for all countries to invest in more resilient health systems that can sustain essential health services during crises, including stronger health information systems,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned in an announcement.

Other coronavirus information

More than one in 10 folks hospitalised with covid-19 may have extreme neurological signs, a examine suggests.

Researchers at Boston University studied greater than 16,000 individuals who have been hospitalised with covid-19 in 24 international locations between March 2020 and March 2021. Nearly 13 per cent of the contributors developed a critical neurological situation – like a stroke, seizure or encephalopathy, an umbrella time period for illness that alters the mind’s operate or construction  – at admission or throughout their hospitalisation.

Fighting off SARS-CoV-2 virus might temporarily increase your safety towards different coronavirus strains, together with those who trigger widespread cold-like signs.

In a small examine, scientists at Scripps Research within the US discovered serum samples from individuals who had lately fought off SARS-CoV-2 virus reacted extra strongly to the spike proteins of different coronavirus strains than samples taken from folks pre-covid-19.

A stock image of a medic assessing an MRI brain scan

A inventory picture of a medic assessing an MRI mind scan

xijian/Getty Images

3 May

People hospitalised with covid-19 might lose 10 IQ factors, equal to the pure cognitive decline that happens between 50 and 70 years outdated

Covid-19 could cause lasting cognitive and psychological well being points, together with mind fog, fatigue and even post-traumatic stress dysfunction. To higher perceive the dimensions of the issue, researchers on the University of Cambridge analysed 46 individuals who have been hospitalised as a result of an infection between March and July 2020.

The contributors underwent cognitive exams on common six months after their preliminary sickness. These outcomes have been in contrast towards these of greater than 66,000 folks from the final inhabitants.

Those hospitalised with covid-19 scored worse on verbal analogical reasoning exams, which assess a person’s means to recognise relationships between concepts and suppose methodically.

They additionally recorded slower processing speeds. Previous research counsel glucose is much less effectively utilized by the a part of the mind answerable for consideration, advanced problem-solving and dealing reminiscence after covid-19.

Scores and response speeds improved over time, nevertheless, any restoration was gradual at greatest, based on the researchers.

This cognitive impairment in all probability has a number of causes, together with insufficient blood provide to the mind, blood vessel blockage and microscopic bleeds brought on by SARS-CoV-2 virus, in addition to injury triggered by an overactive immune system, they added.

“Around 40,000 people have been through intensive care with covid-19 in England alone and many more will have been very sick, but not admitted to hospital,” Adam Hampshire at Imperial College London mentioned in an announcement.

“This means there is a large number of people out there still experiencing problems with cognition many months later.”

Other coronavirus information

The organic mechanism behind a uncommon and extreme covid-19 response seen in some kids might have been uncovered by researchers on the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Doctors have to date been unable to establish why some kids develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) in response to covid-19, which might trigger signs resembling fever, stomach ache and coronary heart illness.

After analysing the blood of 33 kids with MIS, the researchers recognized 85 proteins particular to the situation, potentially aiding analysis and opening the door to new remedies.

Covid-19 might worsen bronchial asthma in kids, based on a examine of greater than 61,000 folks aged two to 17 with the respiratory situation within the US. The 7700 contributors who examined constructive for covid-19 went on to have extra asthma-related hospitalisations, emergency inhaler use and steroid remedies within the six months post-infection, in contrast with the contributors with no confirmed covid-19 an infection.

How covid-19 impacts folks with bronchial asthma is considerably muddled. In November 2020, a examine discovered folks with bronchial asthma could also be much less prone to develop covid-19 problems, probably resulting from their steroid use or lowered publicity through shielding.

See earlier updates from April 2022, March 2022, February 2022, January 2022, November to December 2021, September to October 2021, July to September 2021, June to July 2021May 2021, April to March 2021, February 2021, January 2021, November to December 2020, and March to November 2020.

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