Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 August 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
Future variant ‘could kill one in three’
A Covid variant that could kill up to one in three people is a “realistic possibility”, according to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies. In a new paper, the government scientists say a future strain could be as deadly as MERS — which has a case fatality rate of 35%. However, the SAGE report also claimed it was possible that Covid will mutate to become less lethal over time.
Starmer warned of huge challenge
Internal analysis by Keir Starmer’s new strategist has concluded that millions of voters who Labour must win back if it is to regain power have little idea what the party stands for or why it would improve their lives. Former pollster Deborah Mattinson, has found that the party faces a huge challenge if it is avoid a fifth consecutive loss to the Tories. However, her presentation also stated that support for the Tories and Boris Johnson is waning.
Tory chair offered access to Charles
The chairman of the Conservative Party profited from giving clients of his concierge company Quintessentially access to Prince Charles, reports The Sunday Times. According to a “major party donor,” Ben Elliot, who is the Duchess of Cornwall’s nephew, introduced a member of the “elite” tier of his luxury concierge company to the future king after he had paid his company tens of thousands of pounds.
Care death toll likely to be higher
The Covid death toll in England’s care homes is likely to be thousands higher than official figures show, says the Sunday Telegraph. Although the Care Quality Commission declared there were 39,017 Covid-related deaths across care homes in England when it published official figures, care providers say the numbers were likely to be far higher, as only people who died with Covid between April 10 last year and March 31 this year were counted.
Tory donors oppose tax rises
Leading Tory donors have told Boris Johnson not to increase taxes this autumn, warning it would “choke off a recovery when we need it most”. Amid reports that Johnson and his chancellor, Rishi Sunak, are considering tax rises to pay the bill from the Covid pandemic, Johnny Leavesley, chairman of the Midlands Industrial Council, one of the party’s biggest donor groups, urged Sunak “to embrace Thatcherite principles by limiting state spending and cutting taxes to stimulate economic growth”.
Myanmar chief promises new elections
Myanmar’s military ruler has promised new multiparty elections, six months after the army seized power from a civilian government following elections won by the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party. In a televised address, Min Aung Hlaing also said his government is ready to work with any special envoy named by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Myanmar has endured six months of upheaval and turmoil since the military ended the country’s decade-old experiment with democracy.
‘Kebabs for jabs’ to lure young
Young people will be offered discounts on takeaways and taxi rides to get their Covid jabs in a bid to boost vaccine uptake. The Department of Health and Social Care said food delivery and taxi-hailing firms including Uber, Bolt, Deliveroo and Pizza Pilgrims will offer incentives to people to get vaccinated. The Sunday People describes the arrangement as “kebab for jabs”. Around 67% of 18 to 29-year-olds in England have had a first dose of the vaccine.
Carrie expecting ‘rainbow child’
Carrie and Boris Johnson have revealed that they are expecting a second child, months after a miscarriage that left her “heartbroken”. Announcing the news on Instagram, the prime minister’s wife, 33, said she was hoping for a “rainbow baby” this Christmas. The term “rainbow baby” is used for a child born after a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. She wrote that she felt “blessed to be pregnant again” but had also “felt like a bag of nerves”.
Trump address DoJ phone call
Donald Trump says that when he told senior justice department officials to “just say that the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me”, he was merely trying to “uphold the integrity and honesty of elections and the sanctity of our vote”. The House oversight committee has released memos taken by Richard Donoghue, a senior DoJ official, regarding a call with acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue in December.
More medals for GB in Toyko
Great Britain won an eighth swimming medal in Tokyo as Duncan Scott’s silver in the men’s 4x100m medley relay set a new landmark for medals won by a Briton at a single Games. The silver was Scott’s fourth medal in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Great Britain’s Charlotte Worthington has won gold in the women’s BMX park freestyle Olympic final. The 25-year-old, who gave up work as a chef to focus on the sport, got a score of 97.50 to snatch gold on her second run.