Coronacast

Coronacast

Coronacast is a podcast that answers your questions about coronavirus. We break down the latest news and research to help you understand how the world is living through a pandemic.

Episodes

January 20, 2022 23 min
The number of people dying from COVID hit a record high this week, as large case numbers continue in most states and territories. It comes as no surprise then that NSW and Victoria announced that people can get their third dose at the three month mark, bringing it forward from the 31st January which was originally planned. So why roll out boosters even earlier? Could the number of deaths be tied to people not being as protected a...
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We're all no doubt very tired of the pandemic by now and could be forgiven for hoping now that Omicron has landed in Australia, once we get over the current outbreak it's all over. But according to evolutionary virologist Eddie Holmes, sadly Omicron won't be the last and in fact the next variant probably won't evolve from Omicron. So what can we do apart from get vaccinated and hope this terrible roller coaster ri...
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Well, that escalated quickly. When Coronacast left you last year, there were nearly 4000 national daily cases. Yesterday, there were more than 72,000 and there's no sign it's slowing down. Health systems in most states and territories are beginning to groan under significant pressure. Add to it probably more than one or two hundred thousand cases a day going unreported, it's fair to say COVID in Australia is in a bit...
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December 16, 2021 10 min
It's been a massive year for coronavirus and COVID-19. There have been outbreaks, lockdowns and a pile of new variants. But there have also been massive successes like the vast majority of Australians coming forward to be vaccinated. But sadly, the pandemic seems like it's far from over. So on today's last Coronacast of the year, we look forward to 2022 and offer some tips on how to stay safe this summer. We...
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December 15, 2021 16 min
As COVID numbers continue to rapidly increase in NSW - likely due to the Omicron variant - we're being warned that modelling is pointing to 25,000 cases a day by the end of January. Yesterday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard talked about modelling by the University of NSW which said case numbers could reach heights not seen before in Australia. And it comes as NSW continues to let its foot off the restrictions brake, redefin...
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There was a large jump in COVID cases in NSW yesterday, and while we're largely moving on from day to day case numbers - this one is worth talking about. Why? Well, there's a new variant in town and health authorities are already suggesting that we can expect far more from Omicron in coming weeks. The same goes for other states and territories - like Victoria which still has higher daily figures than NSW, but hasn't y...
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After nearly two years of constant internal border changes, by the end of this week large parts of Australia will once again be open for domestic travel. South Australia opened a few weeks ago, Queensland opened yesterday and Tasmania is due to open tomorrow. Western Australia has also finally given a date and will reopen on the 5th of February next year. So with state and territory bubbles bursting all over the place, what mig...
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December 12, 2021 10 min
Australia now has two different booster options to choose from when the inevitable time comes for the third dose of coronavirus vaccine. Moderna was approved by the country's vaccine expert group ATAGI over the weekend. We'll also be able to get the booster a month earlier, with the Government announcing a shorter period due to the threat of waning immunity and new variants. So if Moderna is a choice, should you take it ...
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December 9, 2021 10 min
As the data from initial studies into how Omicron evades our immunity continue to flow in, it's becoming more and more likely that a third dose - or booster - is going to be essential. Several more studies have been released, all showing large falls in immunity to the Omicron variant. One thing that the studies imply though is that there are much higher antibody levels in people who have either been infected, or received a th...
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One of the first studies into Omicron and immunity has reported back and it's not super great news: there's significant evasion of antibodies produced by the Pfizer vaccine. But not all is lost. The study says that the Omicron variant uses the same way of getting into our cells, meaning our existing tools and techniques should be relatively easy to change so they work better. The study is not yet published, and is a very...
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December 7, 2021 10 min
Beyond the nasty and sometimes life-threatening symptoms that COVID can bring, there's another risk: long COVID. It's the collection of prolonged symptoms including brain fog, smell loss and fatigue. And while we know that being vaccinated drastically reduces your risk of a bad bout of COVID itself, a lingering question has been whether it also protects you from long COVID. Well, according to a yet to be peer reviewed ...
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Over the next several months, the fight between Delta and Omicron is going to be scientifically fascinating. In the red corner is the current world champion Delta, which easily beat out every other variant of concern to date. In the blue corner is the challenger Omicron, whose continued existence probably relies on its ability to beat out the champion. But how will we know who's winning and when will we get a better sense of...
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It's been a bit more than a week since we learned of Omicron, the newest coronavirus variant of concern. And while we're still a while from knowing solid answers, the world's scientists have done an amazing job over the last 7 days unraveling parts of Omicron's mysteries. The three big questions are will our vaccines continue to work? For people who do get the virus, will it be severe and will it beat Delta to bec...
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Just like we're likely going to be stuck with COVID for the rest of our lives, we're probably also going to be stuck wondering which is the most effective vaccine to protect against it. Well lucky we've got science to help sort it out, with a new study putting the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines head-to-head across hundreds of thousands of people. And other scientists have been busy working out how much protection you hav...
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December 1, 2021 10 min
As the days tick by since Omicron was discovered, it's slowly spreading around the world. One example is reports of a couple of Israeli doctors who likely picked up Omicron in the United Kingdom, before flying back home. Their symptoms are said to be mild at the moment, but more worryingly, both of the doctors were fully vaccinated with Pfizer - that's all three doses. So what do we know about how Omicron works with our ...
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Nearly two years into the global coronavirus pandemic, it's probably safe to say that we're all pretty much ready for it to be done. So no wonder we're hoping that very early reports from South Africa are possibly, just maybe, indicating that the Omicron variant is "milder" than variants before. But how much evidence is there for that yet? Is it true, or just wishful thinking? Also on today's show: * Is ...
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November 29, 2021 10 min
As the world desperately awaits news from scientists on anything Omicron, some experts have started thinking about where the variant might have come from. One theory is that it's from someone severely immunocompromised, where the virus has had millions of opportunities to evolve against a poor immune response. But it's far from the only theory. So on today's Coronacast, a few other possibilities of where - and when -...
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November 28, 2021 13 min
It's the news we didn't want: There's a new variant of concern in town and it's got all sorts of mutations just where you don't want them. It's also got a new fancy name: Omicron, and it's reportedly outpacing Delta in countries in southern Africa. But is it really? Is it more infectious? Is it more virulent? Is it vaccine resistant, and if so by how much? How much do we really know at the moment? Shou...
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November 28, 2021 13 min
It's the news we didn't want: There's a new variant of concern in town and it's got all sorts of mutations just where you don't want them. It's also got a new fancy name: Omicron, and it's reportedly outpacing Delta in countries in southern Africa. But is it really? Is it more infectious? Is it more virulent? Is it vaccine resistant, and if so by how much? How much do we really know at the moment? Shou...
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As pandemics go, the coronavirus one is pretty big. It rapidly spread around the world, and is still causing problems. But how does it compare to past pandemics? Are we actually living in a fortunate time in human history? If we could magically replace COVID with a bug from the past, would it be a good or bad idea? Would you prefer the plague? Syphilis? Perhaps a flu pandemic might tickle your fancy. Well to help you decide, on ...
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