Day: 7 November 2021

News Round-Up

Anatomy of a Cancellation

We’re publishing a guest post today by longtime contributor Dr. Sinéad Murphy, an Associate Researcher in Philosophy at Newcastle University, about having a lecture cancelled because the title was thought to be too provocative: “Our Age of Vanishing Gender”. She was told her talk – due to be given at a student conference hosted by the Newcastle Philosophy Department – couldn’t go ahead due to concerns for students’ ‘mental health’. Here is an extract:

I thought of ending my presentation to the students with some recent examples of the demonisaton of gender, with the Conservative Woman’s report on September 25th 2021 in which Isabel Logan described how a teacher at her daughter’s all-girls school apologised to the class for having addressed them as “Girls”, with British Airways’ recently reported decision to stop using the phrase, “Ladies and Gentlemen”, with the Scottish Government’s publishing of its Covid vaccination statistics for “pregnant people”, and with Californian governor Gavin Newsom having last month signed a new law compelling large toy stores to provide gender-neutral toy sections.

As part of a conference entitled “Thinking Differently”, I judged that it might be worth ending by asking whether these apparently progressive moves against the alleged straitjacket of gender might not rather represent a further and final erosion of our greatest hope for aptitude and autonomy: our gendered bodies.

As it happens, however, I am no longer to give a presentation to students of Philosophy on November 17th this year. Having been asked to submit a title for my talk by the member of staff overseeing the event and having submitted the title “Our Age of Vanishing Gender”, I was informed a couple of days later that the students who were designing the poster for the event had resigned from their participation in it on account of my presentation’s title and that the event had been cancelled out of concern for students’ “mental health”.

Thinking differently? Only so long as we are thinking the same.

As with all Dr. Murphy’s pieces, this one is worth reading in full.

Covid Infections Fall by 20% In a Week

The number of Covid cases has dropped by 20% from last Sunday, while the number of people dying ‘with’ the virus has decreased by 16%. The MailOnline has the story.

Britain’s Covid infections have fallen by 20% in a week as health chiefs continue to urge the elderly and the vulnerable to receive their booster jabs amid an impending winter wave.    

Department of Health bosses reported a further 30,305 cases today, a drop from the 38,009 reported last Sunday.

The number of people dying with the virus also fell by 16%, with 62 deaths reported today compared to 74 on October 31st.

It comes as hospitalisations fell to 1,055 on Tuesday, the latest date data is available for. They were down 3.2% on the previous week. 

This week the Chief Executive of NHS Providers warned that health trusts in England are already at peak winter levels for bed occupancy…

From Monday the double vaccinated will be able to book their third dose a month earlier than before.

It comes as a second significant development, a new antiviral pill was also found to slash the risk of vulnerable people being hospitalised or dying from Covid. 

Ministers have faced fierce criticism over booster jabs, with the sluggish pace of the rollout blamed for high case numbers.

So far third doses could only be booked when they become due – six months after a second jab. That resulted in people waiting weeks for a convenient appointment, at a time when their immunity was waning.

But next week bookings can be made a month in advance online or by calling 119. 

Six million people in England who had a second dose at least six months ago and are eligible for a booster are yet to have it, with the gap continuing to widen, according to the Covid Actuaries Response Group.

Worth reading in full.

Sajid Javid Urges the Elderly and Vulnerable to Get Booster Jabs to Avoid a Winter Lockdown

Sajid Javid has called on all those eligible for the booster jab to take up the offer and do their part to avoid the need for a winter lockdown. The Health Secretary added that, as immunity against the virus begins to decrease over time, a third dose is needed to protect the public. Sky News has the story.

Around 30% of people aged over 80 and 40% of over 50s in England are yet to receive a top-up jab of the Covid vaccine, according to the Department of Health.

Three million more people in England are being invited to have a booster shot next week – and Sajid Javid said he “strongly urges” everybody eligible for the jab to take up the offer.

The Health Secretary said: “We know immunity begins to wane after six months, especially for the elderly and the vulnerable, and booster vaccines will top-up their protection to keep people safe over the winter.

“I strongly urge everybody who is eligible for a Covid booster or flu vaccine to take up the offer as soon as you can.

“For those not yet eligible, please help your parents, grandparents or vulnerable loved ones get their jabs, as it could save their life.”

Javid also told anyone who is yet to have their first or second dose of the Covid vaccine, “it is not too late”.

“This truly is a national mission”, he added.

“If we all come together and play our part, we can get through this challenging winter, avoid a return to restrictions and enjoy Christmas”.

Worth reading in full.

Quarantine and Testing May Return for Those Who Aren’t Triple Jabbed

The Government is considering tightening restrictions on international travel by mandating that holidaymakers be triple vaccinated if they are to avoid mandatory testing and quarantine. A grace period is being discussed which, if implemented, would mean that those not offered a booster jab within six months after they received their second dose would be exempt from the law, but the window could be as low as only two months. The Telegraph has the story.

The plans, which emerged on Saturday night, would see quarantine and testing reimposed for eligible groups who refuse to take up the top-up dose.

On Saturday night Government sources confirmed they were looking into the proposals, which would be modelled on the system in Israel.

British holidaymakers are already facing travel restrictions if they wish to travel to the country or to Austria, where the authorities have begun imposing limits on the validity of vaccinations.

However, according to the Mail on Sunday, the Government is now looking at imposing restrictions on those returning from abroad amid concerns that waning immunity over time risks them returning home with the virus.

Officials are said to be divided over how soon to implement the measures and are considering a grace period that would allow people to travel without quarantining if they had sought a booster six months after their second jab but had not yet been offered an appointment.

Sources said that a grace period of between one and two months was under discussion.

The plans are likely to provoke a backlash among Tory MPs and, if enacted, would represent another potential blow to the aviation and travel industries, which have already endured months of reduced trade due to global restrictions.

It came as Health Secretary Sajid Javid said almost 10 million people have now received their booster jab, but encouraged people to urge their elderly relatives to come forward.

Worth reading in full.