In Depth

Instant Opinion: ‘Vaccine chaos is looming’

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 29 September

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Sarah Zhang in The Atlantic

on contentious cures

Vaccine chaos is looming

“On the day that a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, a vast logistics operation will need to awaken. Millions of doses must travel hundreds of miles from manufacturers to hospitals, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies, which in turn must store, track, and eventually get the vaccines to people all across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local health departments, coordinates this process. These agencies distributed flu vaccines during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic this way, and they manage childhood vaccines every day. But the COVID-19 vaccine will be a whole new challenge.”

2. Rachel Sylvester in The Times

on a very popular chancellor

Rishi Sunak’s rising star puts Boris Johnson in the shade

“The voters know there is no such thing as a free lunch and most will ultimately favour hard-headed realism over moonshot fantasies as the country grapples with the long-term shock of the coronavirus crisis. That means the real impact of the shift in emphasis may be political rather than personal, destabilising the delicate balance between No 10 and No 11 Downing Street. Mr Sunak is prepared to be mean when the economy needs him to be; Mr Johnson is determined to keep on playing the part of the fat bearded guy in the red suit. This is partly driven by an institutional tension between their offices. The Treasury is the department that likes to say ‘no’ whereas Downing Street always wants to say ‘yes’ to popular public spending. But the long-standing Whitehall clash is exacerbated by the differences in temperament and political outlook between the chancellor and the prime minister. One is a former journalist who famously likes to have his cake and eat it, the other is a former hedge fund manager whose success in the City depended on making difficult choices.”

3. Former foreign secretary William Hague in The Telegraph

on a UN pledge

The PM has a glorious chance to restore our green and pleasant land

“Dare we hope that the next decade will be any different from the appalling story of the last half-century? I think we can. Slowly, the truth is sinking in and a tipping point in opinion and action is being reached. The current pandemic may be a sufficient shock to billions of people to demonstrate that driving more roads into rainforests to grow palm oil and soya, and trading in scores of wild animals while allowing their blood and viruses to mix is not a good idea. The rapid death of coral reefs and record fires across Australia and the western USA are becoming too obvious for even the most myopic of climate-change cynics to ignore. The reality that humans need bees to pollinate our food, healthy soil for our crops to grow, insects for the food chain to work and woods to walk in for our psychological well-being is finally sinking in.”

4. Mathias Dopfner in Deutsche Welle

on the free press

Independent journalism is a pillar of open society

“We are living in confusing and uncertain times. The world order seems to be disintegrating. Europe and the US are growing apart. China is striving for global domination. Russia's behavior is becoming increasingly outrageous. Islamists are assaulting open society. Populists are on the rise from London to Budapest. Artificial intelligence could make humans servants of algorithms. A virus has put the world in a state of emergency and occasionally brought it to a standstill. In such times, thoroughly researched, truthful information becomes more and more important — a historic opportunity for journalism. During all this, our business model has been changing from an analog one to a digital one. This transformation is great, but it confronts many publishers with existential challenges.”

5. Joan C. Williams in the New York Times

on abortion and the Supreme Court

The case for accepting defeat on Roe

“Many women seeking abortions aren’t suburban teenagers without economic pressures or family responsibilities. Nearly 60% have already had one child and nearly half live below the poverty level; some fear they’ll be fired if they take time off, particularly if they need to make two trips, as they must in the 26 states with mandatory waiting periods. The argument that the left has already lost the abortion fight reflects the fact that there’s no abortion clinic in 90% of American counties. This is the result of the highly successful death-by-a-thousand-cuts anti-abortion strategy, which has piled on restriction after restriction to make abortion inaccessible to as many American women as possible.”

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