Covid-19: Pfizer’s antiviral pill and face masks behaviour studyon November 5, 2021 at 5:03 pm

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday evening.

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday evening. We’ll have another update for you on Saturday.

Pfizer logo and pills (file picture)

Image source, Reuters

An experimental pill to treat Covid developed by the US company Pfizer cuts the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89% in vulnerable adults, clinical trial results suggest. Paxlovid is intended for use soon after symptoms develop in people at high risk of severe disease. It comes a day after the UK medicines regulator approved a similar treatment from Merck Sharp and Dohme (MSD) called molnupiravir. The UK has already ordered 250,000 courses of the Pfizer treatment along with another 480,000 courses of MSD’s pill.

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Vaccination centre in Moscow

Image source, EPA

The European continent is once again “at the epicentre” of the Covid pandemic, the World Health Organization has warned. Insufficient vaccine take-up is responsible for a rise in cases, WHO Europe head Hans Kluge has said. While 80% of people in Spain are double jabbed, in Germany it is about 66% – and take-up is far lower in some Eastern European countries. Germany on Friday registered a record number of Covid infections for the second day in a row – more than 37,000 new cases.

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Could wearing face masks be affecting the way we interact? People tend to automatically imitate others’ facial expressions of emotion. But a study led by Cardiff University found people unable to use their mouth to mimic that emotion struggled to empathise with other people. Read about the different rules and guidance for face coverings and masks across the UK.

Woman wearing face mask in flower shop

Image source, Getty Images

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US employers hired more new workers in October than expected, after a slowdown in the summer partly due to the impact of the Delta variant. Firms added 531,000 posts, official figures showed. There had also been an apparent reluctance from parts of the workforce to return to jobs a few months ago but companies are now raising wages to attract staff.

A waitress serving customers at a New York City restaurant

Image source, Getty Images

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Birmingham’s German Christmas market has returned after the pandemic saw the event cancelled in 2020. The market is slightly smaller this year due to works being carried out in Victoria Square, where part of the event is held. But Birmingham City Council has warned the market could still be changed or cancelled if Covid restrictions return.

The market
Government statistics show 141,588 people have now died, with 193 deaths reported in the latest 24-hour period. In total, 9,241,916 people have tested positive, up 34,029 in the latest 24-hour period. Latest figures show 9,160 people in hospital. In total, 50,156,656 people have received their first vaccination. Updated 5 Nov.

The weekday morning coronavirus briefing is being paused for two weeks to tell you five things you need to know about the COP26 climate summit.

Restrictions on entering the US are being loosened on Monday for fully vaccinated travellers from 33 countries, including the UK. Here’s what you need to know about the changes.

Find further information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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