Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Coronavirus testing collapses in Myanmar after coup
Testing for coronavirus has collapsed in Myanmar after a military coup prompted a campaign of civil disobedience led by doctors and mass protests swept the country, official testing figures showed. The number of cases found on Monday was just four – compared with an average of 420 a day in the last week of January.
A health ministry spokesman declined to comment. In a statement on Monday, the ministry appealed to health workers for help with a vaccination campaign that began late last month. It said all staff members “are strongly urged to return to their duties with taking the wellbeing of patients into consideration”.
WHO team to brief media on Wuhan findings
Members of a World Health Organization-led team looking for clues about the origins of COVID-19 will hold a briefing on Tuesday after nearly two weeks of meetings and site visits in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the disease was first identified.
The WHO said it would also include experts from the Chinese side who have been involved in the investigation. Members of the team have sought to rein in expectations about the mission, with infectious disease expert Dominic Dwyer saying it would probably take years to fully understand the origins of COVID-19.
UK variant carries higher death risk
The coronavirus variant first identified in Britain is deadlier than earlier variants, a new study confirms. Researchers tracked roughly one million individuals tested for COVID-19 from November to January in community settings, including about 3,000 who ultimately died from it.
After accounting for other factors that affect COVID-19 outcomes, patients with the new variant had a roughly 35% higher risk of death, they reported on Wednesday on medRxiv ahead of peer review.
The researchers did not have data on people who were diagnosed in hospitals or on infected people who were never tested. Co-author Nicholas Davies of the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene said his team was updating its analysis with more data.
“It looks like the increase in mortality may well be higher than 35%,” Davies said.
Fauci says quick vaccinations needed to slow variants
The best defence against emerging variants of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic is getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, top U.S. infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci said on Monday.
Nearly 700 cases associated with coronavirus variants have been identified in the United States, U.S. officials said on a press call. Of them, 690 cases are from a more transmissible variant first discovered in Britain called B.1.1.7, which could become the dominant variant in the United States by March, the officials said.