Get your coronavirus test, join the party: Experimental mass events in the Netherlands draw fire

Science Magazine, 29-4-2021 / online 27-4-2021 The Eurovision Song Contest, known best for its over-the-top performances and outrageous costumes, has a new feature this year: It will be the site of a massive field experiment to see whether concerts and other events can be held safely in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nine rehearsals and televised shows, staged 18–22 May in Rotterdam, Netherlands, will each be attended by 3500 visitors who will have to show a recent negative SARS-CoV-2

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Suspicions grow that nanoparticles in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trigger rare allergic reactions

Science Magazine   Severe allergy-like reactions in at least eight people who received the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech over the past 2 weeks may be due to a compound in the packaging of the messenger RNA (mRNA) that forms the vaccine’s main ingredient, scientists say. A similar mRNA vaccine developed by Moderna, which was authorized for emergency use in the United States on Friday, also contains the compound, polyethylene glycol (PEG). PEG has never been used before

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Is New Zealand ‘a particular case’ or does it show what would have been our best bet?

"I thought everyone would be going down the elimination path and follow the success of Asia." Reporters Online Exclusive While populations across Europe and North America are preparing for a harsh winter and the most austere Christmas in ages, their fellows in a country far away are in an entirely different situation. Early in the pandemic, New Zealand decided to go for elimination of the coronavirus. At just 100 cases and zero deaths, the experts ascertained they were - just

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More people are getting COVID-19 twice, suggesting immunity wanes quickly in some

The growing group of people who get sick twice suggests protection can wane relatively quickly. Or something else might be happening. Science Magazine In late June, Sanne de Jong developed nausea, shortness of breath, sore muscles, and a runny nose. At first, she thought it might be lingering effects from her COVID-19 infection in the spring. De Jong, 22, had tested positive on 17 April and suffered mild symptoms for about 2 weeks. She tested negative on 2 May—just in

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“Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said no one will be intentionally exposed to this virus.”

Global Public Health Professor Devi Sridhar What should we do to save and improve WHO? What has made the difference between the strategy in countries such as England, Sweden and the Netherlands and many others across Europe? And what lessons from the first months should we apply now? I asked Devi Sridhar, professor of Global Public Health. Reporters Online exclusive interview It’s quite a miracle that in between all her other duties, Devi Sridhar found the opportunity to talk to

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Corona: Why the Western world is so reluctant to learn from Asia

The corona crisis painfully exposes the vulnerabilities of the usually dominant West. Not the virus itself, but society will determine how we get out of this. (Translation of article published in De Groene Amsterdammer on May 27th 2020) On Tuesday May 20th, a remarkable situation occurred during the technical briefing on the coronavirus in the Dutch House of Representatives. In reaction to messages from the attentive twitterer Edwin Veldhuizen, Jaap van Dissel (Director of the Centre for Infectious Disease Control

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Why the corona crisis did not eradicate antivax sentiments

The corona crisis shows us what a virus can do when no vaccine is available. What does this do to the sentiments around vaccination? It’s early February and the first son of Frederike and Peter is born: Tim. As far as Peter is concerned, Tim gets his vaccinations when the time is right. But Frederike has doubts. She’s surrounded by people who are ‘fiercely anti’ and, to a certain degree, she understands them. But she also calls herself rational, not

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Not the virus will determine our future, but the way society is dealing with it

Anthropologist Agustin Fuentes emphasizes COVID-19 is not just a biological event For months, we’ve been obsessed by the virus. But according to Agustin Fuentes, COVID-19 is about our social, economical, political and health infrastructures. We should no longer regard COVID-19 as a biological event. At least, that’s what anthropologist Agustin Fuentes of Notre Dame University in Indiana, argues. Of course, he recognizes the virus SARS-CoV-2 is a biological entity, and COVID-19 is characterized by significant morbidity and mortality. But we

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‘I totally don’t understand that people in Europe don’t wear masks’

'Korean Dr Fauci' Woo-Joo Kim about his country's approach Should western countries adopt the approach of countries like South Korea? Or is their success too particular or even temporary? The ‘Korean Dr. Fauci’ Woo-Joo Kim explains his country’s strategy, its strengths and its weaknesses. And he shows his marvel about some of the western measures – or lack of them. Reporters Online exclusive The international press has lauded the Korean approach of the novel coronavirus, based on mask wearing, mass

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Guest post: A comparison of coronavirus approaches

Last week I was pointed at an interesting analysis of the global coronavirus approaches. The author, dr. Daxin Ni, a deputy director of the public health emergency center at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and former steering committee member of WHO's Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), compared two general approaches: the SARSlike and pandemic flu-like approach. Although I want to emphasize this is not my analysis and I do not necessarily agree with all

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