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article imageLatest COVID-19 news centers on the role of biodiversity

By Tim Sandle     Jul 16, 2020 in Science
Digital Journal presents periodic round-ups of interesting COVID-19 related news. For this occasion, we looks at news items relating biodiversity, the complexities of estimating viral spread, and when exactly infections began.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Digital Journal has focused on delivering the latest news and advice, as well as focusing on some of the major research themes being considered by scientists as the world seeks to make sense of the disease.
Biodiversity
In an interview with the magazine Biologist, Professor Kate Jones looks at the rise in infectious diseases. While it cannot yet be said that zoonotic diseases are increasing, the conditions that are helping to promote the species jump are becoming more favourable. The reason for this is due to the way humans are interacting with the environment, especially with eroding patterns of biodiversity, which alters the natural world and disrupts habitats.
Just how widespread is COVID-19?
In a separate feature in the Biologist, Professor Sunetra Gupta looks at alternative epidemiological data pertaining to the U.K. This is centered on the argument that the coronavirus was present in the U.K. far earlier than previously thought and that more people are infected, albeit asymptomatic, than has previously been realized.
The main concern, the researcher argues, is the lack of reliable prevalence data. Without this, the true picture of how widespread COVID-19 has been across the U.K. is still unclear. What is certain is that U.K. government figures are not as reliable as politicians like to think.
Earlier U.S. origins?
Picking up on theme of when the viruses first hit, according to scientist Alessandro Vespignani the coronavirus may have reached the U.S. far earlier than initial reports suggested, with cases arising in 2019.
The new research suggests that in several coastal states, international travel drove introduction of the virus. With the U.S., this means in California and New York, SARS-CoV-2 might have begun circulating as early as December 2019. This is based on an examination of serological studies and it is set out in the research paper "Estimating the establishment of local transmission and the cryptic phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA."
More about Covid19, coronavirus, Epidemiology
 
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