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‘Wishful thinking’: the dangers of UK hype during Covid-19

From the UK government over-promising on testing to scientific spin on a vaccine, realism is in short supply

They were billed by the UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, as “lifesaving” and “hugely beneficial”: two new coronavirus tests that claim to deliver results within 90 minutes, promoted enthusiastically to the public with the help of front pages in the Times, the i and the Daily Mail, which declared they would “transform the war on corona”.

The suppliers are little known, evaluation data is not yet available, and it is unclear how effective the tests are outside hospital settings, not least because taking blood or swabs is difficult for non-medics.

Related: New UK coronavirus restrictions will test optimism over economic recovery | Larry Elliott

Related: Immunity to Covid-19 could be lost in months, UK study suggests

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UK weather: being outdoors could become dangerous during heatwaves

Health experts call for action on climate emergency as parts of country brace for record temperatures

As parts of the UK get set for potentially record-breaking temperatures, a leading health expert has warned it would become highly dangerous to be outdoors during heatwaves if nothing were done to curtail the climate emergency.

Forecasters have said Friday could be the hottest day of the year in some parts of the country, with temperatures predicted to rise as high as 38C (100F) in some places. This was expected to give way to thunderstorms early next week.

(January 1, 1959) 

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How to hug in lockdown: plan ahead and wash your hands

Lack of touch has impacted mental health during the pandemic, so experts suggest ways to embrace as safely as possible

To hug or not to hug? And what about washing your hands beforehand, turning your face away from your loved one, and holding your breath during the embrace?

As England moves into lockdown-lite, these are the tentative recommendations of scientists who warn above all to exercise caution – and plan your hugs ahead.

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Covid-19: lack of diversity threatens to undermine vaccine trials, experts warn

Oxford and Moderna trials draw from strikingly white cohort, for a virus that has disproportionately affected people of colour

The remarkably fast progress of two leading contenders for an effective coronavirus vaccine has raised hopes the pandemic may be speedily tamed. But some experts have warned the vaccine trials risk being undermined by a lack of diversity among their participants.

Related: Coronavirus vaccine tracker: how close are we to a vaccine?

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My pandemic epiphany: how I fell in love with online therapy

André Wheeler cringed at the idea of connecting through a camera but he needed to clear the fog inside his head

Therapy is the pinnacle of awkward. You spend an hour talking about the deepest parts of yourself, to a person you barely know, and then you pay them and carry on with your day. I always leave with the same guilt and self-consciousness that comes with an accidental overshare. Did I talk too much about my childhood? Does she view me as overdramatic? What does she think of my new haircut? I couldn’t imagine undergoing the same process virtually.

Related: Therapy under lockdown: ‘I’m just as terrified as my patients are’

While everyone was using webcams to pretend we were fine, here I could be real

Related: Text therapy: once my therapist sent me an emoji, I knew it was game over

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