Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Tuesday 7 Apr 2020


Johnson in intensive care and ‘may need ventilator’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent last night in an intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London – his second night in hospital – after his coronavirus symptoms worsened at the critical ten-day stage. One expert told Sky News that Johnson must be “extremely sick” and it was likely that he would need to use a ventilator.


Closing schools ‘has little impact on virus spread’

A team of UK researchers says closing schools has little effect on the spread of coronavirus, leading some experts to say they should be reopened because the economic and social cost of their closure outweighs health advantages. Others say the study does not take into account the combined effect of closures with other virus restrictions.


Australia: judges overturn Cardinal Pell conviction

The most senior figure in the Catholic Church to be jailed for sexually abusing children has been freed after Australia’s highest court quashed his conviction. Cardinal George Pell, 78, the ex-Vatican treasurer, was released after serving two years of a six-year sentence when the High Court agreed with his appeal lawyers that exonerating evidence had been overlooked by the jury.


Warning: coronavirus death figures may mislead

Experts are cautioning the media and public against studying the daily death figures from Covid-19 coronavirus in the UK too closely because they may reflect delays in reporting, leading to a too-optimistic picture. Yesterday’s figure of 439 deaths was much lower than Saturday’s 708 but statisticians say this may be down to reporting patterns.


Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish and Paul McCartney to perform

Lady Gaga is putting together a starry benefit concert, with performers including Billie Eilish and Sir Paul McCartney, to raise money from businesses and philanthropists to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The musicians will perform at home in isolation, with the show – entitled One World: Together at Home – streamed live on 18 April and broadcast on BBC One the next day.


NZ health minister ‘sorry’ for lockdown breach

New Zealand’s health minister has apologised for taking his family to a beach 12 miles from his home after the country went into strict lockdown. David Clark said he was an “idiot” for doing so. He kept his job because of the crisis but has been demoted. Scotland’s chief medical officer has resigned after a similar transgression.


RFK granddaughter’s body found after canoe trip

The body of Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean has been found in the waters of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, five days after she went missing while canoeing with her eight-year-old son, whose body is still missing. McKean, 40, was the granddaughter of Robert F Kennedy and great-niece of former US president John F Kennedy.


Harry and Meghan to call new charity ‘Archewell’

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have revealed the name of their new charitable foundation – Archewell – and say it was inspired, like the name of their son Archie, by the ancient Greek word for a source of action, arche. The couple hope the charity would “do something that matters” and would be launched “when the time is right”.


Briefing: What is Japanification?

Fears are growing that the economic downturn and record deflation triggered by the coronavirus outbreak may lead to the so-called “Japanification” of the eurozone.

The term is used as shorthand for the economic problems that crippled Japan around the turn of the millennium.


China: no new Covid-19 deaths for first time

China released its latest figures for the coronavirus outbreak this morning and, for the first time since it began issuing daily figures in January, reported no new deaths from Covid-19 disease. The figures show 32 new cases of infection were confirmed, down from 39 the day before. There have been claims the figures are under-reported.

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