In the first story of the briefing today, we discuss yesterday evening’s announcement that England would be in full lockdown until “at least” mid-February. This should come as little surprise to anyone. While we were promised a Christmas that allowed for a little bit of contact through the ‘Christmas bubble’ plan, this was dashed at the last moment for those in the capital due to the spread of coronavirus. This spread was attributed to a new variant of coronavirus, and one that was reported to be around 70% more infectious than its predecessor.
As January rolled in, this variant did what we all expected it to do: spread. More and more areas were placed under the harshest ‘Tier 4’ restrictions. This got to the point where more than 75% of England’s population were living under Tier 4 restrictions.
Yesterday, with coronavirus cases soaring and the possibility of the NHS being overwhelmed, the Prime Minister announced that a full scale national lockdown would take place. For the majority of England, very little changes. Tier 4 and lockdown are very similar, and very few freedoms are allowed outside your house. Stay at home rules apply yet again. This means no leaving the house, except for limited reasons: such as going to work (only if you absolutely have to), escaping domestic abuse or meeting your support bubble. Another key difference is the closing of schools, and the announcement that many university students will not be returning to university any time
It has been suggested by the Prime Minister that the lockdown will last until at least mid-February, depending on the progress of the vaccine rollout.
COVID and Homelessness
Staying in the UK for the second story today, we discuss a saddening report that has been published about homelessness in the UK. As you can imagine, the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t alleviated this crisis at all, and it has been found that many of those living on the street are going to extreme lengths to try and get accommodation.
One report, published by the charity Justlife, found that some of those living on the street have considered trying to deliberately catch coronavirus in the hope that the council will then provide housing to them. In addition to this shocking and deeply upsetting fact, it has been noted that many of those living on the street have not heard about vaccines or testing. This demonstrates that more needs to be done to start rectifying the homelessness crisis in Britain and that government messaging needs to be able to make its way to those on the street.
Currently, more than 250,000 people in the UK are homeless, half of which are children. Even before the pandemic, homelesness figures were at an all-time high.
US Senate Elections
For the final story in today’s daily briefing, we are turning our attention to US elections, again. Today, residents of the state of Georgia are voting for two Senators. As some of you may be aware, these elections initially occurred on November 3rd, but as no candidate in either race reached 50% of votes cast, additional runoff elections were scheduled for January 5th.
The first race is between incumbent Kelly Loeffler and Democrat challenger Reverend Raphael Warnock. The other is between current Republican Senator David Perdue and his opponent, 33 year old Democrat Jon Ossoff. These elections have huge implications for the Biden presidency, as two Democrat wins would give the party control of both chambers of Congress, whereas anything else would help the GOP retain control of the Senate, thus potentially stifling the new Biden administration’s policy plans for the next few years.
A great deal of money has been spent in the campaigns, and any result is possible. If you want more information about these races and their potential implications check out our videos on the TLDR US channel – or you can just check back in with us tomorrow!
For those of you who think the news is too long, be sure to check out tomorrow’s Daily Briefing.