The Map of the Universe
This is the 101st episode of the Daily Briefing which means I can finally stop promoting the 100th episode livestream. Thanks to everyone who watched and if you are new here be sure to subscribe, because when we hit 20,000 youtube subs we have another fun livestream planned that may or may not involve us running our own government… anyway thanks for your support.
In the first story in the Daily Briefing today, we look at some news about science – something that we never really discuss that often. It has been revealed today that telescopes in Australia have mapped a million new galaxies in high detail – providing the most accurate map of the universe produced so far.
This map was produced through the use of The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (Askap), which is a collection of 36 dish antennas. They work together in order to make panoramas of distant galaxies. 903 panoramic images have been produced – which has resulted in a huge 83% of the sky being mapped.
In addition to this, the scientists have made the images publicly available, in the hope that other astronomers will make new discoveries about the universe.
In the second story today, we move back onto a standard topic of the Daily Briefing: the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, today we will discuss the community testing plan that the UK government has pushed ahead with. In areas that have been put into Tier 3 (where the virus is most prevalent), local leaders will be given the option to take part in six weeks of community testing. The aim is to discover who could be passing the virus on asymptomatically and instruct them to self isolate. This, in turn, would reduce the ability for the virus to spread.
The specifics of how this testing program is run will be discussed and agreed between the local authorities and government. One way the program could be run is simply testing all residents over 11 years old. Another could be to test just specific areas with high case numbers.
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said about the scheme: “By expanding our testing to include people showing no symptoms, we are finding more positive cases more quickly and breaking chains of transmission. Up to a third of people have coronavirus without symptoms, so it is incredibly important to be testing those who could be infecting others unknowingly”
However, in order for any of these schemes to work, participation is required. In fact, the higher the participation, the more likely it is for the scheme to work. So, the government has announced that “incentive schemes” could be used, with one possibility being a “discount scheme with local businesses”.
Nothing is, as yet, set in stone and we will have to see exactly what is agreed between local authorities and government.
In the last story today, we stay in the UK to discuss the fines that have been issued during the second national lockdown. While we like to assume that most people have been following the guidance that has been put in place to save lives, unfortunately some have not been. The police have been given powers to issue fines to those who contravene the coronavirus rules, and it has been clear that they have used them.
In the first two weeks of November, 1,977 fines were issued for coronavirus regulation breaches. Manchester was the area that issued the most fines, with 309 issued since the second lockdown began. Different police forces have taken a different approach in relation to fines – the guidance is that they will be used as a ‘last resort’, although obviously some interpret this differently.
Let’s just hope that compliance increases and fines decrease.
For those of you who think the news is too long, be sure to check out tomorrow’s Daily Briefing.