(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Vaccine confidence grows as side-effect worries fade
Confidence in COVID-19 vaccines is growing, with people’s willingness to have the shots increasing as they are rolled out across the world and concerns about possible side-effects are fading, a survey showed on Friday.
Co-led by Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation and the polling firm YouGov, the survey found trust in COVID-19 vaccines had risen in nine out of 14 countries covered, including France, Japan and Singapore which had previously had low levels of confidence.
The latest update of the survey, which ran from Feb 8. to Feb. 21, found that people in the UK are the most willing, with 77% saying they would take a vaccine if one was available that week.
Doubling masks offers little help preventing viral spread
Japanese supercomputer simulations showed that wearing two masks gave limited benefit in blocking viral spread compared with one properly fitted mask.
The findings in part contradict recent recommendations from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that two masks were better than one at reducing a person’s exposure to the coronavirus.
Researchers used the Fugaku supercomputer to model the flow of virus particles from people wearing different types and combinations of masks, according to a study released on Thursday by research giant Riken and Kobe University.
India passes key vaccination milestone
India administered 1.4 million vaccine doses in the past 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Friday, the highest in a day since the campaign began in mid-January as the government moves to address initial hiccups.
The country of 1.35 billion people still has to nearly double its current rate of vaccination to meet its target of covering 300 million people by August. The two vaccines in use in India need to be administered in two doses, four to six weeks apart.
India has so far given 18 million doses to about 15 million people.
Moldova first European country to receive COVAX vaccines
Moldova became the first European country to receive shots from the global vaccine-sharing COVAX scheme, President Maia Sandu said on Friday.
The first batch of 14,400 doses arrived on Thursday, Sandu said on Twitter.
Moldova and neighbouring Ukraine, two of Europe’s poorest countries, have lagged behind the rest of the continent in the scramble for vaccines and welcomed donations from friendly governments.
World no closer to answer on COVID origins
The world is no closer to knowing the origins of COVID-19, according to one of the authors of an open letter calling for a new investigation.
“At this point we are no further advanced than we were a year ago,” said Nikolai Petrovsky, an expert in vaccines at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and one of 26 global experts who signed the open letter, published on Thursday.
In January, a team of scientists picked by the World Health Organization visited hospitals and research institutes in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus was first identified. But the mission has come under fire, with critics accusing the WHO of relying too much on politically compromised Chinese fieldwork and data.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Nick Macfie)