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31,287 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

Hold on one more week Victoria – Daniel Andrews is correct to take a cautious approach | Tony Blakely and Jason Thompson

If in the next week daily Covid cases are fewer than five per day with few or no mystery cases, we will be the first to protest if there is no step 3 opening Victoria cases trend map; Full Australia statsMelbourne stage 4 restrictions; Vic stage 3 rulesSign up for Guardian Australia’s coronavirus emailOn Sunday the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, announced some opening up of Covid...

Coronavirus live news: global infections near 40m as US Covid cases rise in all but two states

Italy introduces new restrictions; Trump holds Nevada rally; South African health minister tests positive. Follow the latest updatesEurope’s Covid fight takes a turn for the worsePolice disperse drinkers protesting against tier 2 rules in LondonUS records highest daily coronavirus case total since JulyUS coronavirus cases surge in most statesSee all our coronavirus coverage 12.40am BST Here’s...


SUNDAY 18. OCTOBER 2020


Starwatch: how to see the Orionid meteor shower

In the final week of British summer time, meteors from Comet Halley will be streaking across the night skyThis week, keep an eye open for the Orionid meteor shower. It may not be the brightest or the most spectacular meteor shower of the year but it derives from the most famous comet of them all: Comet Halley. Meteors are tiny pieces of dust that have been left in space from the tails of comets....

Victoria could have eliminated Covid in six weeks by entering stage-four lockdown in July, analysis shows

New modelling indicates mandatory masks and strict closures of public spaces early in the state’s second wave could have eradicated the virusVictoria cases trend map; Full Australian Covid statsMelbourne stage 4 restrictions; Vic stage 3 rulesSign up for Guardian Australia’s coronavirus emailElimination of Covid-19 has been found to have been achievable in Victoria within six weeks had the...

The pursuit of herd immunity is a folly – so who's funding this bad science?

Links between an anti-lockdown declaration and a libertarian thinktank suggest a hidden agenda Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageEarlier this month, in a wood-panelled room at a country estate in Massachusetts, three defiantly unmasked professors gathered around a large oak table to sign a declaration about the global response to the pandemic. One academic had flown...

Why finding your favourite fragrance will make you feel better

Our sense of smell is crucial to survival – so wearing the right perfume could be more important than you thinkEarlier this year I was asked to give a lecture to a group of fashion journalism students at Condé Nast College – an event that was swiftly moved online thanks to the pandemic. It goes without saying that giving a lecture to a group of students looking back at you from a Zoom grid is...

White noise as sleep aid may do more harm than good, say scientists

Review finds quality of evidence is poor and noise may lead to more disrupted sleepWhether it is nature sounds, the whine of a hairdryer or the incessant hum of a ceiling fan, white noise apps have been downloaded by millions of people around the world in the hope of getting a better night’s sleep. However, research suggests there is no good evidence that they work, and may even be making things...

Coronavirus test results must come in 24 hours, says Sage scientist

Chair of modelling group urges curb on capacity in favour of speed if test-and-trace system is to workCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA massive expansion of testing will still leave Britain struggling to keep Covid-19 infections under control unless the system can inform people they are positive within 24 hours, one of the government’s most senior scientific...

How do pandemics end? In different ways, but it’s never quick and never neat | Mark Honigsbaum

Just like the Black Death, influenza and smallpox, Covid-19 will affect almost every aspect of our of lives – even after a vaccine turns upOn 7 September 1854, in the middle of a raging cholera epidemic, the physician John Snow approached the board of guardians of St James’s parish for permission to remove the handle from a public water pump in Broad Street in London’s Soho. Snow observed...

From the archive: what geese can teach us, 1966

Animal behaviour expert Konrad Lorenz explains why it is man who is red in tooth and clawYou can see why the goslings on the cover of the Observer Magazine of 1 May 1966 took Konrad Lorenz (‘the world authority on animal behaviour’) to be their parent – with his feathery white hair he could pass for a goose himself. In fact, the geese have a ‘fixed idea’ that his hair is grass, which is...


SATURDAY 17. OCTOBER 2020


Digital 'health passport' trials under way to aid reopening of borders

CommonPass aims to create common standard proving a traveller is Covid-free or vaccinatedCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA new digital “health passport” is to be piloted by a small number of passengers flying from the UK to the US for the first time next week under plans for a global framework for Covid-safe air travel.The CommonPass system, backed by the World...

Curing the incurable: teaching an old drug new tricks to fight ovarian cancer

The winning essay in the Max Perutz science writing award 2020 was written by Sarah Taylor from the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh In May, PhD students who are funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) were invited to enter the Max Perutz science writing award 2020 and to tell the general public “why your research matters”. From the many...

NHS using drones to deliver coronavirus kit between hospitals

Trials in Essex using GPS-enabled remote-controlled aircraft to carry blood tests and PPECoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAn NHS drone is being used to courier Covid-19 samples, blood tests and personal protective equipment between hospitals in England.It is hoped that the trials, backed by a £1.3m grant from the UK Space Agency, can establish a network of air...

Coronavirus live news: Austrian foreign minister tests positive; Victoria reports just one new case

Alexander Schallenberg might have caught it at EU meeting; calls to ease restrictions in Australian state of Victoria; UK accuses Russia of trying to disrupt vaccine researchCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage 8.17am BST In the US, the White House quietly told Tennessee early this week that “a statewide mask mandate must be implemented” to curb its growing spread of...

The tardigrade in the ice hole: how extreme life finds a way in the Arctic

Tiny organisms nicknamed water bears offer clues about possible alien life but the changing climate means their habitat faces an uncertain futureAs we make our way across Greenland’s ice sheets, I look around. We’re surrounded by numerous tiny black holes, some only a few centimeters in diameter, others up to 4-8in (10-20cm) wide. As we advance, we notice that more and more holes are magically...

Covid reinfections 'to be expected' as virus spreads, say government scientists

Reports suggest timeframe between recovery and reinfection ‘relatively short’ for those who contracted virus twice Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageGovernment science advisers have warned that reinfections with Covid-19 are “to be expected” as the virus spreads, based on what is known about people’s immunity to other coronaviruses that cause the common...


FRIDAY 16. OCTOBER 2020


Overzealous profanity filter bans paleontologists from talking about bones

A virtual conference was thrown into confusion when the platform hosting the event came with a pre-packaged ‘naughty word’ censor Participants in a virtual paleontology session found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place last week, when a profanity filter prevented them from using certain words – such as bone, pubic, stream and, er, beaver – during an online conference.The...

Parliament restaurants not complying with test-and-trace rules, says union

PCS union said decision not to display QR codes at eating establishments is putting members at risk of coronavirusCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMPs and peers are unable to utilise the NHS test-and-trace app at restaurants and cafes in the Palace of Westminster, union officials have said.PCS union said the parliamentary authorities were putting their members at risk...

Midwives, physios and pharmacists to administer future UK Covid vaccine

Expanded workforce will undergo training programme to immunise as much of population as possibleCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMidwives, physiotherapists, pharmacists, student nurses and doctors are among those who will be authorised to administer a mass Covid-19 vaccine under new laws that have come into force.They follow a consultation on moves to give emergency...

Coronavirus infections hit 27,900 cases a day in England, data suggests

ONS figures estimate 1 in 160 people were infected with Covid in first week of OctoberCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageCases of coronavirus are rising rapidly in England, according to new figures that suggest there were about 27,900 new cases every day in the community in early October.Data from the Office for National Statistics, based on swab testing of randomly...

I went out to buy a bed and came back with a spoon – am I really that disorganised? | Coco Khan

I used to think the mental block I have around life admin was to do with an innate lack of focus. But then I discovered ‘decision fatigue’Recently my mother paid me one of her quintessential “compli-sults”: a lashing of praise that somehow leaves a bruise. I’m moving flat, and mentioned that my poor organisational skills were sure to wreak havoc with the process.“Stop putting yourself...

ExxonMobil misled the public about the climate crisis. Now they're trying to silence critics | Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes

Newly leaked documents reported by Bloomberg News show that ExxonMobil’s climate dishonesty is even worse than we thoughtIn 2017, we published the first peer-reviewed analysis of ExxonMobil’s 40-year history of climate change communications. We found that the company and its parents, Exxon and Mobil, misled the public about climate change and its severity. Central to this conclusion was the...

Remdesivir has very little effect on Covid-19 mortality, WHO finds

Results from gold-standard trial described as sobering, as drug found not to improve survival ratesCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageRemdesivir, one of the big treatment hopes for Covid-19, has very little effect on preventing deaths, according to a large and comprehensive trial run by the World Health Organization.The drug, which made by the US biotech firm Gilead, has...

Pubs to close in Lancashire as tier 3 Covid strategy reluctantly accepted

Measures, yet to be officially confirmed, accepted in exchange for £42m financial supportCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverage Pubs and bars will close for more than 1 million people in Lancashire after the region’s leaders reluctantly accepted the strictest tier 3 coronavirus restrictions in exchange for £42m in financial support.The move, which was signed off during...