What the papers said in the week ending 19 September 2020
Three matters of direct connection with Christianity in the UK attracted headlines this week:
Archbishop Justin Wellby and Bishop Sarah Mullally wrote in favour of giving strength and opportunity to local activities – a balance against the centralisation of so many things in this country and internationally. With size and distance, humanity and sensitivity is lost – and is not always the best economic model. A very welcome stance for the churches to be taking
Less obvious is the virtue of a proposal to spend £9.3m to erect The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer – a million bricks, 51 metres high in the shape of a Mobius strip – in Coleshill
The good people unceremoniously given notice by Sheffield Cathedral have maintained contact with each other and formed a ‘choir in exile’
So the cathedral presses on with its vision of a more modern choir, whilst the traditional and established talent is not being lost
Fears about the immediate and long-term effects of Colvid-19 have become dominant again
Increases in cases in Europe and elsewhere have affected younger people – but older people are also being identified as cases – including in care homes. These are the people most at risk of the worst symptoms and death
News has been dominated by changing rules and regulations as evidence that the virus is spreading faster emerges in pockets around this country and elsewhere. This is a very serious and difficult situation but the responses are reminiscent of attempts to swat a fly – with much damage threatened to innocent bystanders
We learn that delays in treatment because resources have been diverted to deal with the real or anticipated needs of Covid victims have left many people with more disability after stroke than need be.
And what is true for stroke is true in differing guises for many other illnesses
The World Health Organisation fans the fears that the virus is out of control and requires a return to extreme disciplines
Interpreting the changes in the nature of the virus and its likely response to vaccines is difficult, with the partial knowledge we have for now
Sweden – noted for its initial determination not to over-react to the threat of the virus, is now feeling this may have not been such a mistake, as it has fewer new cases than its neighbours and seems to have more resilience to it in the population
Professor Moin Saleem of The University of Bristol marshals evidence that 35 – 50%of the world population has natural resistance and another 25% has acquired resistance – to Covid-19. This means we may be approaching herd immunity. ‘Is Covid’s end closer than we think?’
Starkly differing interpretations by sober and committed experts. Not easy for politicians or ordinary people to know what to make of it – What to do for the best?
We read again of the UK government’s disregard for the law
- And the perplexity the rest of the world is experiencing in response to this diversion from the country’s previous sound behaviour: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/13/a-threat-to-democracy-how-europe-media-reacted-to-uk-plan-to-renege-on-brexit-deal
It is small wonder that anxiety has become endemic, particularly amongst women and especially within younger age groups. Despite all the changes in the past decade, older people remain more philosophical.
Changes in the environment find the world hotter now than at any time since records began: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/sep/14/northern-hemisphere-record-hottest-summer-noaa?ct=t(RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN)#:~:text=This%20summer%20was%20the%20hottest,according%20to%20US%20government%20scientists.&text=June%2C%20July%20and%20August%20were,and%20Atmospheric%20Administration%20(Noaa).
The legality of the raised pension age threshold for women has been confirmed after a court challenge: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/sep/15/women-lose-court-of-appeal-challenge-against-pension-change
The government is determined to keep people in prison longer when they have been found guilty of certain crimes, but alternative approaches to imprisonment for less serious antisocial behaviour are being explored https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/sep/16/ministers-to-pilot-new-york-style-courts-in-reforms-to-sentencing
A new option for the dead is to choose to be buried in a coffin made of mycelium, which will speed up the process by which the remains are broken down and contribute to the fertility of the land: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/sep/15/first-funeral-living-coffin-made-mushroom-fibre-netherlands
Losses this week have included:
Toots Hibbert who gave us Reggae https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/sep/12/toots-hibbert-obituary-maytals
And Sir Terence Conran who gave us Habitat Sir Terence Conran obituary