A round-up of the week’s news and comment
OUR TOP STORIES
A government report released on Monday revealed that the impact of the lockdown – and the ensuing economic catastrophe – on quality of life will be worse than that of the coronavirus itself. The virus is expected to account for the loss of 570,000 ‘quality-adjusted life years’, whilst the figure for the lockdown legacy is closer to 812,000 (due to heart disease and distress, among others), the Department of Health and Social Care has found – Times
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson backed down on Monday to demands for A-level grades to be based on teachers’ predictions, after previously stating that there would be ‘no U-turn, no change’. The change heightened fears of rampant grade inflation within the education system – Times
Tuesday again saw the worsening of Britain’s economic state thanks to the government’s lockdown, as Marks and Spencer announced it will be cutting 7,000 jobs over the next three months, both in management and across its stores. In the last eight weeks, sales of clothing and homewares through its stores fell by 48 per cent compared with 2019 levels, revealing the extent of the economic damage inflicted by the lockdown – Guardian
On Wednesday, a 28-year-old Sudanese man (originally reported as a 16-year-old boy) was found drowned in the Channel, which he had attempted to cross from France in a dinghy – Mail
On the same day, Sainsbury’s bowed to pressure to remove a Roald Dahl-inspired mug from its stock, as the words ‘a brilliant idea hit her’, taken from the children’s author’s classic work Matilda, directed against the book’s villain Mrs Trunchball, were alleged to promote violence against women. A campaigner said: ‘It’s an insult to victims. This is further evidence that domestic abuse is not understood by so many’ – Times
More than a quarter of GCSE results released on Thursday were graded seven (an A in the old system) or above, up from 20 per cent last year, adding to fears that the education system is riddled with grade inflation. Some schools are even considering appealing against grades which they believe to be too high – Guardian
On Friday, a government report revealed that coronavirus hospital admissions were inflated at the supposed height of the pandemic, as patients who had once been infected were added to official statistics even if they were being treated for other illnesses. It was previously reported that almost 20,000 coronavirus hospitalisations occurred each week in early April, though this figure is now in need of revising – Telegraph
Monday saw South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem turn down President Donald Trump’s extra $300 unemployment funds, despite roughly 33,000 people being unemployed in the state as of June (a 120 per cent increase on last year), largely due to the lockdown, suggesting that politics – as usual – is at play.
The alleged killing of a five-year-old (white) boy by a (black) man may have gone largely unnoticed by the mainstream media – due to this not fitting its racial narrative, as we reported last week – but it has received an extraordinary response across the US, with almost $800,000 being raised on a GoFundMe page set up to raise $5,000 for funeral costs. The parents of Cannon Hinnant are seeking the death penalty for his alleged murderer – Breitbart
The S&P 500 rose to a record closing high on Tuesday, above its previous all-time high in February, raising hopes of a coming economic recovery following the lockdown – Forbes
On Thursday, Trump’s former Chief of Staff Stephen Bannon was arrested and charged with fraud by a New York prosecutor over a wall fund.
OUR COMMENT CHOICE
Entering another week of semi-lockdown, Peter Hitchens shared his suspicion that ‘the wrecking of the economy and the state-sponsored panic of these times has killed more people than Covid ever did’ – Mail on Sunday
As the media continues its ‘Project Fear’ coverage of the coronavirus, Allison Pearson offered some light relief this week, writing a satirical report of what should be heard on the Six O’Clock News – Telegraph
Increasing cases of positive discrimination at educational establishments and workplaces led Lionel Shriver to write on the current form of ‘racism by another name’. She warned that institutions that engage with such racial quotas, like Yale in the US, should ‘beware a resulting flurry of lawsuits’ – Times
William Hague berated the government for its handling of the exam fiasco this week, noting that the affair may well be ‘another poll tax moment’ for the party he once lead – Telegraph
The Mail’s Stephen Glover added to this criticism, noting that Boris Johnson’s silence on the fiasco ‘heaps arrogance upon incompetence’.
IN THE NEWS TODAY
Public sector debt rose above £2trillion on Saturday for the first time in British history. Due to the government’s lockdown policy, over £26billion was borrowed in the month of July alone – Mail