The list of SARS-CoV-2 variants – each with its own unique qualities that give it an edge – just keeps growing.
Matt Anderson Photography/Moment via Getty Images
People are buzzing with questions about the omicron variant and whether it could help usher in herd immunity. A team of virologists deciphers the latest findings.
A positive COVID-19 test is the first step in the process.
Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
A nationwide genomic surveillance system analyzes positive COVID-19 tests to build a picture of which variants are spreading in the population.
The prime minister’s inflexibility on the home-testing COVID tests is beyond curious - especially in an election year.
The Omicron variant has been confirmed in all continents except Antarctica.
One of the ways the Omicron variant is different from other variants is the sheer number of mutations in the spike protein. Does this make it a super-variant?
South Africa is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
EMMANUEL CROSET/AFP via Getty Images
At this stage, we cannot say anything about the severity of cases with Omicron - either in primary or reinfections.
A researcher works with COVID-19 samples from patients.
Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images
Careful lab work will complement public health data as researchers worldwide focus on omicron, asking questions about contagiousness, severity of disease and whether vaccines hold up against it.
Evidence suggests kids under 12 aren’t major drivers of COVID spread. Avoiding them isn’t necessary.
The omicron variant possesses numerous mutations in the spike protein, the knob-like protrusions (in red) that allow the virus to invade other cells.
Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images
It’s too early to say whether the newly identified omicron variant is going to overtake delta. But particular mutations in the new strain have researchers deeply concerned.
AP Photo/Denis Farrell
If COVID symptoms are less severe, people with the Omicron variant may be less likely to test and isolate.
What not to do: ban travel. Scenes at South Africa’s OR Tambo International airport after the first flight bans were announced.
Phill Magakoe / AFP via Getty Images
The world needs to learn to live with the virus. And governments must follow the science and don’t distort it for political expediency.
Hannah Peters/Getty Images
A model of a “virtual” Aotearoa shows even a few new connections will lead to a complex web of transmission which could fuel the spread of the Delta outbreak.
Experts give trick-or-treating the green light this year.
Anchiy/E+ Collection via Getty Images
There’s no need to pull out the candy catapult this year, but a few reasonable precautions can keep COVID-19 transmissions in check.
Dealing with what have been called ‘wicked’ and ‘adaptive’ problems is a huge challenge for political leaders. A ‘clumsy’ response can be inevitable – and even desirable.
If mandatory vaccination means exclusion from certain activities in life, sometimes that’s just the price of sticking to one’s convictions.
Hannah Peters/Getty Images
If COVID-19 becomes endemic, we’ll see multiple local outbreaks. Schools and businesses will close for days because too many people are sick. Local hospitals will be overwhelmed without warning.
A bad flu year on top of the pandemic could mean trouble for already-stressed hospitals.
George Clerk/E+ Collection via Getty Images
Recent computer modeling shows the upcoming flu season might see a surge in cases. Coupled with COVID-19’s continued threat, doctors are again urging Americans to get their shots.
Perseverance took a selfie next to its biggest accomplishment yet – the two small drill holes where the rover took samples of Martian rocks.
Perseverance and its helicopter sidekick, Ingenuity, have been on Mars for nearly nine months. The duo have taken rock samples, performed first flights and taken images of the delta in Jezero Crater.
Most countries experienced serious outbreaks of COVID before widespread vaccination was available. Will it make the difference as New Zealand walks a narrow path towards opening up?
With the government decision on alert levels due today, it’s clear a more radical approach to vaccination is needed — including restrictions for eligible but unvaccinated people.
The Australian people will be best served by separating science from politics.