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This week in Tortoise: the Covid Variants

Monday 1 March 2021


Viruses are adaptable things. It’s in their nature to change, to mutate, which is why Covid-19 is now going by several different names – the Kent variant, the South African variant, the Brazilian variant – with more sure to follow. How fast will they spread? How resistant will they be to treatment? Will they define the years ahead as their parent virus defined 2020?

The Variants are the subject of this week’s Tortoise File. It opens today with another of Matthew d’Ancona’s audio essays. He reports on the ever-increasing role that variants have played behind the scenes in forming Boris Johnson’s pandemic strategy – and on the errors that have already been made in response to the microscopic mutants. The news on vaccine roll-out is good. But there is still a huge battle to be fought against the cunning of evolution itself. 

From microbial life to, well, extraterrestrial life. Such was the response to a piece that he wrote for us recently, we’ve invited Professor Avi Loeb to join us tonight for a ThinkIn on no less a question than: are we alone in the universe? Spoiler alert: Professor Loeb thinks there is life out there.

Tomorrow morning at 8am, Trevor Phillips guest-edits a ThinkIn to examine why there are now no Black people in the top jobs at FTSE100 companies. And, at our Open News meeting tomorrow, we’ll preview Rishi Sunak’s Budget. 

On Wednesday evening, join us for the perfect ThinkIn antidote to the Budget, with actor, writer and brick fanatic Emma Kennedy on the joy of Lego

And on Thursday evening, we ask whether the UK is quietly retiring the British Army

March is open for ThinkIn bookings. Mark Carney on values. Jeremy Hunt on the NHS. Sharon White on John Lewis. Feargal Sharkey on rivers. Mandu Reid on London. And many more. 

Hope you can join us, look forward to hearing from you. 

Allbest.

James Harding,
Editor & co-founder