Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 1 Apr 2020


Johnson tackling testing as ‘F1 ventilators’ ready

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has personally taken charge of efforts to source chemicals needed for coronavirus tests that the government has admitted are reaching front-line NHS workers too slowly, The Times reports. Meanwhile, new ventilators developed at breakneck-speed by a consortium including F1 teams McLaren and Mercedes, Ford, Siemens and Meggitt are to begin being delivered to hospitals this weekend.


Boy of 13 named as UK’s youngest coronavirus victim

A London boy aged 13 who died after testing positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus had no apparent underlying health conditions, his family has said. Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from Brixton, died at King’s College Hospital in the early hours of Monday and is the UK’s youngest known coronavirus victim. A total of 381 coronavirus-related deaths were reported at NHS hospitals on Monday, the biggest daily increase so far, bringing the UK death toll to 1,789.


NHS chief hails ‘green shoots’ in battle to contain outbreak

NHS England Medical Director Stephen Powis yesterday welcomed “green shoots” signs that the rate at which people in the UK are becoming infected with Covid-19 is starting to slow, as the government reported that the number of new cases seems to be holding steady at around 2,500 a day. However, the World Health Organization has been critical of the number of tests being carried out in the UK.


Trump warns of ‘painful two weeks’ ahead

President Donald Trump yesterday told US citizens that a “very, very painful two weeks” lies ahead for the country. The warning came as the White House admitted that even if social distancing continues, the number of US deaths resulting from the coronavirus pandemic is currently projected to be between 100,000 and 240,000. In a two-hour press conference, Trump also defended his earlier handling of the crisis.


Newspapers set for £50m loss as ad ‘blacklists’ bite

UK newspapers face losing £50m in digital revenues if the coronavirus outbreak lasts for another three months, as advertisers use “blacklist” technology to block adverts from appearing next to all stories that mention the pandemic, The Guardian reports. Publishers are begging advertisers to stop using blacklists of negative words – including “coronavirus” and “death” – to decide where to place ads.


Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage saved for nation

The former seaside retreat of late avant-garde filmmaker Derek Jarman has been saved for the nation after the UK’s biggest-ever arts crowdfunding campaign. Around 7,300 donors including artist David Hockney gave a total of £3.5m to safeguard Prospect Cottage, located on a shingle beach in Kent and overlooked by Dungeness nuclear power station.


Dolphins join forces to end teamwork myth

Synchronising movements and communicating with each other while working as a team has long been thought to be a characteristic unique to humans – but now scientists are challenging that belief after discovering that dolphins exhibit the same behaviour. A team lead by researchers from Bristol University found that male bottlenose dolphins team up in small groups to herd females, especially during the mating season.


British man recognised as world’s oldest at 112

A Hampshire man has been named as the world’s oldest by Guinness World Records after turning 112 two days ago. Bob Weighton, from Alton, is self-isolating because of the coronavirus outbreak but said he was “very pleased”. Weighton survived the Spanish Flu epidemic but has never before endured a lockdown, which he describes as a “bizarre” experience. The previous title holder, a Japanese farmer called Chitetsu Watanabe, died on 23 February at 112 years and 355 days.


Climate change ‘shortens nightingales’ wings’

Nightingales have evolved shorter wingspans over the last 20 years because of changes in the climate that mean an earlier spring and increased drought, researchers in Spain have discovered. The scientists say they are concerned that the change could affect the bird’s ability to migrate large distances. Nightingale numbers have declined by 90% in 50 years in the UK.


Briefing: coronavirus and women’s bodies - the new rules

Changes in rules and services that disproportionately affect women and their bodies have been among the unforeseen consequences of the coronavirus outbreak.

Of the two sexes, men are proving more susceptible to Covid-19, with higher mortality rates reported among males worldwide, but some of the indirect effects for women are also significant and potentially life threatening.

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