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‘I have sad thoughts every day. I try not to be overcome by them’: Michael Rosen on coping with the death of his son

He is much loved for his daffy humour, but poet Michael Rosen’s new memoir, Getting Better, is an arrestingly honest account of devastating loss. He talks to Alex Moshakis about feeling sad, and why he’s no longer ‘carrying an elephant’

So, this is my little den,” the poet Michael Rosen says, showing me into his north London office. The den brims. Books fill shelves. Boxes pile on other boxes. Knickknacks freckle a desk. “Where would you like to sit?” he goes on. I choose the only seat he isn’t about to occupy himself, something wooden and old and half-covered by a coat. Rosen describes it as a “captain’s armchair” and seems satisfied. “It was my dad’s,” he says. Then a mischievous grin appears, as though he knows what is about to happen. When I sit down, the chair groans under my weight, and I become scared to move in case it gives way. Rosen says, plainly, “It’s a bit creaky.”

Rosen is the author of 140 books of poetry and prose, and is our former Children’s Laureate. He is tall and lanky; when he sits down at his desk it is like watching a long piece of paper fold itself into creases. It’s more than two years since he left hospital after a near-lethal battle with Covid. And though while in hospital nurses shaved his jaw clean, now his beard has returned and so has his good humour, so that he more closely resembles the Rosen people know: scruffy, daffy, softly playful.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Most bosses secretly want all staff back in offices, says head of CBI

Since Covid pandemic ‘whole world of work has gone crazy’, adds Tony Danker

Most bosses secretly want to get all staff back to working in the office, according to the head of Britain’s leading business lobby group.

Tony Danker, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said the whole world of work had “gone crazy” since the coronavirus pandemic, which led to a major shift to more working from home for many people who used to work solely from the office.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

How to fight inflation? (Spoiler alert: not with interest rate rises) | Joseph Stiglitz

US inflation is mainly supply-side driven so further rate hikes will have little to no effect – and cause deep problems of their own

Despite favourable indices, it is too soon to tell whether inflation has been tamed. Nonetheless, two clear lessons have emerged from the recent price surge.

First, economists’ standard models – especially the dominant one that assumes the economy always to be in equilibrium – were effectively useless. And, second, those who confidently asserted it would take five years of pain to wring inflation out of the system have already been refuted. Inflation has fallen dramatically, with the December 2022 seasonally adjusted consumer prices index coming in just 1% above that for June.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

China claims Covid wave has peaked with severe cases, deaths falling fast

But reporting from inside China during the lunar new year period suggests rates of infection and fatalities exceeding official reports

China’s health authorities have said the Covid wave is past its peak, with rapid decline in both severe cases and deaths in hospitals, but experts remain wary of the government’s official data.

According to China’s Center for Disease Control (CDC), the number of critically ill patients in hospital peaked in the first week of January, then rapidly declined by more than 70%. The number of deaths also reached its highest level that week, the data said.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

US moves to simplify Covid vaccines into yearly dose to target variants

The FDA asked its scientific advisers on Thursday to help chalk out plan to move to a flu shot-like schedule for coronavirus

The US is poised to make Covid-19 vaccinations more like a yearly flu shot, a major shift in strategy despite a long list of questions about how to best protect against a still rapidly mutating virus.

The Food and Drug Administration asked its scientific advisers on Thursday to help lay the groundwork for switching to once-a-year boosters for most Americans – and how and when to periodically update the shots’ recipe.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Covid lockdowns created ‘online backdoor’ for child abusers, says charity

Internet Watch Foundation reports rise in UK children aged seven to 10 manipulated into abusing themselves on camera

Internet predators have exploited a rise in online activity during lockdown to manipulate primary school age children into abusing themselves on camera, with reports of such imagery rising by more than 1,000% in the UK since 2019.

The Internet Watch Foundation received reports of 63,050 webpages containing images and videos of children aged seven to 10 sexually abusing themselves on camera last year, an increase of just over 1,000% on the year before the coronavirus pandemic.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Department of Health wasted £15bn on unused Covid supplies, watchdog finds

National Audit Office finds ‘extraordinary waste’ along with failures of governance, oversight and financial controls

The Department of Health has wasted a total of £15bn on unused personal protective equipment, Covid tests and vaccines, prompting heavy criticism from the Whitehall spending watchdog.

The department spent £8.9bn during 2020/21 and another £6bn last year on such supplies, including masks and gowns for NHS staff that have proved unuseable and are now being burned.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Boris Johnson may get more taxpayers’ money for Partygate defence

Senior civil servant admits budget of £220,000 for ex-PM to defend claims he misled parliament could rise

Boris Johnson could get more taxpayers’ money to cover extra legal support as the inquiry into his Partygate denials drags on, it has emerged.

The cost of helping the former prime minister defend himself over claims he misled parliament about law-breaking parties during Covid “could potentially exceed” the current £222,000 budget, a senior civil servant admitted.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Andrew Bridgen to sue Matt Hancock over criticism of Covid vaccine remarks

MP who lost Tory whip after appearing to compare vaccines to Holocaust says he is suing Hancock for defamation

An independent MP who lost the Tory whip after appearing to compare Covid vaccines to the Holocaust is suing Matt Hancock for criticising his remarks.

Andrew Bridgen is suing the former health secretary for £100,000 over a tweet in which Hancock accused Bridgen of spouting “antisemitic, anti-vax, anti-scientific conspiracy theories” over the vaccine.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts

Andrew Bridgen to sue Matt Hancock over criticism of Covid vaccine remarks

MP who lost Tory whip after appearing to compare vaccines to Holocaust says he is suing Hancock for defamation

An independent MP who lost the Tory whip after appearing to compare Covid vaccines to the Holocaust is suing Matt Hancock for criticising his remarks.

Andrew Bridgen is suing the former health secretary for £100,000 over a tweet in which Hancock accused Bridgen of spouting “antisemitic, anti-vax, anti-scientific conspiracy theories” over the vaccine.

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from Coronavirus | The Guardian
via COVID-19 Alerts