With spring not far off, the flu season will be nearing its end, reducing one threat to the health of those who have vulnerabilities when germs are left lingering on surfaces like touch screen ticket dispensers and cash points.
However, the Covid threat has not gone away – and the latest data suggest a new wave has started.
According to government data, the week leading up to February 3rd saw a 28.3 per cent rise in cases, while the seven days leading to February 6th saw a 9.5 per cent increase in hospital admissions.
Although the graph of cases over recent months suggests that each successive wave is starting at a lower base than its predecessor and having a lower peak, it remains a danger for those who are most vulnerable.
For this reason, it makes sense for those at high risk to wear a finger covering when using touch screens and other surfaces on which the virus may be present. The comparatively low rate of infection means such surfaces will not be getting disinfected in the same way they were when the pandemic was at its height.
Because the virus remains an ongoing threat and there is always the danger of new variants arising, researchers are looking at developing new vaccines that may be more effective in stopping mutations from causing future surges.
Among those working on a second generation vaccine of this kind are researchers at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
Last month, it was revealed that the university’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research is working on a vaccine that would work by targeting antibodies at the core of the virus, which does not change rapidly, rather than the spike proteins, which is where variation takes place rapidly.
Such a vaccine would protect against all and any variants of the virus, including future ones, which might have the potential to end the pandemic for good.