Coronavirus live: Portugal delays Lisbon lockdown easing; highest daily cases in Russia since March | World news


Lisbon lockdown easing delayed

Scientists are concerned that measures to combat Covid-19 have weakened the immune systems of young children who have not been able to build up resistance to common bugs, leaving them vulnerable when mask-wearing and social distancing eventually end, writes Guardian science reporter Natalie Grover.

Contact with viral pathogens happens on a fairly regular basis and although it does not always lead to sickness, the exposure helps shore the immune system against the threat should the bugs be encountered again.

Over the past 14 months or so, protracted restrictions on mixing and travel, alongside mask-wearing and social distancing, have not only reduced the risk of Covid but other respiratory bugs such as the flu – cases of which were basically nonexistent last winter, according to surveillance data largely encompassing England compiled by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).

However, virologists are concerned about RSV, a virus that can cause serious lung infections requiring hospital admission, and sometimes even death, in children under the age of one – and for which there are no approved vaccines.


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