Illustration of a woman with a face mask
COVID, Prevention, Public Health

Yes, masks reduce the risk of spreading COVID, despite a review saying they don’t

An updated Cochrane Review published last week is the latest to suggest face masks don’t work in the community.

However there are problems with the review’s methodology and its underpinning assumptions about transmission. Well-designed real-world studies during the pandemic showed any mask reduces the risk of COVID transmission by 50–80%, with the highest protection offered by N95 respirators.

woman sleeping on a sofa in a darkened room
Coronavirus, COVID, Women's Health

Most long COVID cases had mild initial infections, UW study finds

Study found that a staggering 90% of people living with long COVID initially experienced only mild illness with COVID-19. After developing long COVID, however, the typical person experienced symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath and cognitive problems such as brain fog – or a combination of these – that affected daily functioning. These symptoms had an impact on health as severe as the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury. Our study also found that women have twice the risk of men and four times the risk of children for developing long COVID.

Coronavirus, Immunology, Public Health, Vaccines

COVID in 2023 and beyond – why virus trends are more difficult to predict three years on

So how will the pandemic be felt in 2023? This question is in some ways impossible to answer, given a number of unknowns. In early 2020 the scientific community was focused on determining key parameters that could be used to make projections as to the severity and extent of the spread of the virus. Now, the complex interplay of COVID variants, vaccination and natural immunity makes that process far more difficult and less predictable.

Coronavirus, COVID, Infectious Disease

China could face a catastrophic COVID surge as it lifts restrictions – here’s how it might play out

Given the low level of immunity in China, a major surge would likely see large numbers of hospitalisations and might lead to a dramatic death toll. If we assume, say, 70% of the Chinese population becomes infected over the coming months, then if 0.1% of those infected die (a conservative estimate ), a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests we’d see around one million deaths.