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This week in Tortoise: A year of Covid

This week in Tortoise: A year of Covid

It’s been a year. A year since Li Wenliang, the whistle-blower doctor in Wuhan, died of the coronavirus. A year since the WHO gave it a name: Covid-19. A year since the UK warned that the coronavirus was a serious and imminent threat to public health.

Tonight, Nadhim Zahawi, the UK’s vaccines minister, joins us for a ThinkIn to discuss with us the pathway out of the pandemic, the variants vs the virus. If you haven’t booked to join us, do sign up here.

All of us have lived with the pandemic for a year. No one has experienced it quite like Geoff Woolf. He entered hospital on 23 March 2020 and emerged 306 days later, having had his body and mind wracked by the disease. Listen here to the journalist Nicky Woolf, one of his sons, tell the story of those 306 days in this week’s Tortoise Slow Newscast.

Jean Twenge, the US psychologist specialising in generational differences, writes for us this week on the mental health long haul; Nell Frizell, the author of The Panic Years, writes on the specific pressures on women in their 20s and 30s; the photographer and anaesthetist Jon Williamson is back on the wards showing us what it’s like – right now – in hospitals dealing with hundreds of sick patients; and Phil Collins on politics in the pandemic, lessons from the Handforth Parish Council.

There’s much more to discuss, of course, so do weigh in at one of our ThinkIns:

  • Tomorrow morning, we look further into one of our key themes of 2021: Accelerating Net Zero. John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport, joins us for a business breakfast to explore if and how there’s a sustainable future for aviation. 
  • On Wednesday evening, joined by the author John Preston and other journalists who have delved into the subject, we look at the Maxwells – a family that, from Robert to Ghislaine, has mixed power with high scandal.
  • And, on Thursday, we are looking into inequality in the UK: is levelling-up a myth?

The Sensemaker daily email should, we hope, keep you across the stories that really matter. And do tune into the daily Sensemaker podcasts – in our app or on Spotify – making sense of the world one story at a time.

Take good care of yourself and have a good week.


James Harding,
Editor & co-founder