Liverpool’s heritage has been vandalised for years | Letters

Cllr Phil Davis says the loss of Unesco world heritage status is a timely reminder of the responsibilities of local and central government, while Christopher Coppock says the city burghers have only themselves to blame. Plus letters from Phil de Souza and David Dear

As someone who played a small part in promoting Liverpool’s case for world heritage status in the early 2000s, I was saddened to see the loss of the Unesco designation (Unesco strips Liverpool of its world heritage status). It is, nevertheless, a timely reminder of the responsibilities of local and central government to guard and conserve both the built heritage that merits this highest of distinctions and, equally importantly, its distinctive setting.

The pictures you published illustrate the failure to do so in Liverpool’s Victorian docks. The right sort of regeneration is not in conflict with heritage – quite the opposite. Unfortunately, Liverpool’s planning committee permitted a number of out-of-scale developments unsympathetic to the character of the docks. They were surely warned of the potential consequences. A fresh visit to the city by Unesco would simply confirm the decline in the unique character of the docks in the last 10 years.

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The pandemic has opened up a deep rift within the Conservatives. It will grow | Polly Toynbee

How can Britain recover without greater public spending? The tax-cutting party has no answers

Something strange is happening within the political party famously ruthless in its pursuit of power and keeping hold of it. Its still popular prime minister, with an 80-seat majority, has only just marked his second anniversary, and has faced little threat from the official opposition so far. And yet Boris Johnson goes into the parliamentary recess up against a crescendo of howls from his own side. The rift opening up in the Conservative party is startling in its ferocity, and has revealed a new animosity towards its leader.

“Senior ministers”, “over half the cabinet”, “high-ranking MPs” are variously reported to be in rebellion against all the government’s key policies. Raising the national insurance rate to pay for NHS and social care has triggered profound existential angst about how to be a Tory after the Covid crisis. An erstwhile loyal press claque has turned angry and accusatory. What kind of Conservative is Johnson, anyway?

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How do we know when England has reached a peak in Covid infections? | Graham Medley

The trajectory of the pandemic might look more like a range of hills rather than a single mountain

While the government’s decision to remove most lockdown measures in England was widely expected to result in a large wave of infection and disease, the number of new cases of Covid-19 has been falling over the last five days. Many hope this could mean that we’re past the peak. Yet the reality is more complicated. This is the first time an epidemic has taken place in a highly vaccinated population without control measures in place, so we are in uncharted territory. There is considerable uncertainty about what the next two months hold.

The big questions are how high the current wave will get and how long it will last. The number of people in hospital and dying of Covid-19 is directly linked to the number of infections. It’s impossible to accurately predict when we’ll reach the peak of infections, or how long it will take to come back down from this (if I had a pound for every time I’m asked “are we there yet?”, I’d be able to give away a lot of money).

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England’s ‘pingdemic’ is a convenient distraction from the real problem | Stephen Reicher

More people are being pinged because Covid infections are out of control. But No 10 has its head in the sand

  • Stephen Reicher is a member of the Sage subcommittee advising on behavioural science

We’re now in the full looking-glass stage of the pandemic, where things seem entirely back to front and solutions are treated as problems. The “ping” of the NHS test-and-trace app has been widely criticised as the cause of disruption for businesses, workers and supply chains. But our problem isn’t a “pingdemic”. A ping simply tells you that you have been in contact with someone who is infected and allows you to do something about it. The problem is the high rate of infection that greatly increases the chances that you will have been in contact with someone who has tested positive – and therefore that you might have Covid too.

Right now we are at a point where one in 75 people in England is infected (up from one in 95 the week before) – even without accounting for the government decision to remove almost all measures on 19 July. While there are many factors are involved, meaning we can’t be sure how infection levels will progress, the health secretary, Sajid Javid, has blithely accepted that cases could rise to 100,000 a day, while some estimates suggest they could reach 200,000.

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Will Covid become a disease of the young? The world is watching England to find out | Devi Sridhar

The UK government has decided to let the virus spread among young people. Paediatricians are split over how much harm it will cause

Few issues seem to provoke such a range of opinions among experts as Covid-19 and children. When the WHO-China Joint Mission first reported on the virus in February 2020, one of the nuggets of good news was that children seemed to be relatively unaffected by it. This was surprising; like other acute respiratory infections, coronaviruses usually spread among and infect younger children. China’s strong suppression of the virus meant cases remained extremely low, preventing the virus spreading into other age groups. At the time, Covid appeared to be a disease of the elderly, the overweight and those with underlying health conditions.

One year into the pandemic, richer countries embarked on a mass vaccination programme to protect not only older age groups but entire adult populations. The success of vaccines in weakening the link between hospitalisations and deaths is clear (although the link is not completely broken). With vaccinated adults now largely protected from the severe consequences of Covid-19, the questions for children have changed. In the UK, there has been a surge of infections among children and adolescents. These will only increase when the school year starts again in the autumn.

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