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20 October

In the headlines

NHS chiefs are imploring Boris Johnson to deploy “Plan B” coronavirus restrictions now. But a lockdown is “not going to happen”, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told LBC’s Nick Ferrari this morning. It’s time to ask “how many Covid deaths can we live with”, says Daniel Finkelstein in The Times. Every death is a tragedy, but lockdowns have “a massive economic cost with a potential impact on life expectancy”. They also divert hospital treatment from conditions such as cancer. Doesn’t Boris Johnson realise that trying to reach net zero by 2050 is going to bankrupt Britain, asks The Sun. His pricy plans will “become a millstone round our economy’s neck”. The Queen has refused The Oldie’s Oldie of the Year award – because, at 95, she feels too young.

Comment of the day




“One of my staff has asked for paternity leave because he has a new puppy. What do you think?” asked Roger Wade, founder of the pop-ups business Boxpark, on LinkedIn. Thousands responded, with 39% backing the idea of “pawternity leave”. Others were unimpressed. “This sounds barking,” wrote one. 


A school in Miami has asked students who get the Covid vaccine to quarantine for 30 days, based on a debunked theory that they might infect others. The private Centner Academy, which charges parents up to $30,000 a year, has form here, says The Washington Post. In April it barred vaccinated teachers from having any contact with pupils and in January it invited anti-vaxxer Robert F Kennedy Jr as a guest speaker. 

Gone viral

Teenage Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg performed Rick Astley’s 1980s No 1 Never Gonna Give You Up at a climate concert in Stockholm on Saturday. She was joined by 17-year-old fellow campaigner Andreas Magnusson. “We are just teenagers fooling around with each other,” Thunberg told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “Not just the angry kids the media often portrays us as.” Astley was impressed: “Fantastic and Tack så mycket! Rick x,” he tweeted. That’s Swedish for “thanks so much”. Watch the video here.

Love etc

Professor Mary Beard, 66, recalls her wild teenage years in Jay Rayner’s Out to Lunch podcast. “So you went off and shagged a lot of men twice your age,” says Rayner. “Jay, I couldn’t have put it better myself. Yes!” replies Beard.


The Vatican will launch its Click to Pray 2.0 app on 1 November after a test run involving monks and nuns, says France24. An earlier version of the app, which allows users to join global prayer groups, has been downloaded by 2.5 million people since its launch five years ago.


Quoted 20-10

“Whenever things are frightening, it is a good idea to measure them.”

Novelist Daniel Kehlmann

Snapshot answer

It’s Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. The 44-year-old rapper, who legally changed his name this week, was spotted roaming around New York in a mask on his way to lunch with Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, PR guru Ronn Torossian and Israeli judo champion Or Sassoon. He says he changed his name because “Ye” is the most used word in the Bible. “Seems a bit suspicious to me,” says Sarah Hagi in Gawker. “I’m no Christian, but you’re telling me it was used more times than ‘the’ or ‘a’?”