For many, the pandemic is merely an annoyance. But some groups face a particular risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd), the symptoms of which include nightmares, flashbacks and feelings of guilt, anxiety or isolation. The most vulnerable are those who have been very ill, or lost relatives, as well as victims of previous traumas (such as refugees), and those with front-line jobs, such as doctors and nurses. In Spain nearly a sixth of those infected are health-care workers, and most of them show signs of ptsd. In Bangladesh, where the incomes of poor people briefly fell by 80% when lockdowns were tight, 86% of people in one poll reported covid-19-related stress.
Start with the coronaverse, which people everywhere now inhabit, or the quarantimes, the era in which they now live. Early fears of the total breakdown of society in a coronapocalypse have proved, thankfully, too pessimistic. But viral anxiety reigns, as do complaints of Zoom fatigue. Participants appear on screen for meetings with a quaransheen of unwashed sweat on their faces. Feelings seem to be on an emotional coronacoaster. Meanwhile, covidiots are spurning lockdown restrictions in ways likely to make the pandemic worse, amid an infodemic of dodgy news and half-informed coronasplaining. At least there is a locktail hour at the end of the week (or, for many, at the end of most days).
In this age, we look up to billionaires. Well, another of those writing about how he became what he became.
Mr Schwarzman has little time in the book for the little guy. Other financiers wring their hands over the wealth gap between bosses and workers. Not him. He was a rare executive in America’s Business Roundtable not to sign a charter last month calling for an end to the shareholder-led model of capitalism. His private life appears to be one of lavish parties and glamorous schmoozing. Acknowledgments in the book stretch to 14 pages and he name-drops five American presidents, four French ones and China’s Xi Jinping.
Is it time to leave the cities to live in the countryside?
I first realised this in a Swiss village in the Engadin, which I visited often over the past 25 years. I began to notice drastic changes there. The village was simultaneously growing and hollowing out. A man I assumed was a farmer turned out to be a dissatisfied nuclear scientist from Frankfurt. Cows disappeared, along with their smell, and in came minimalist renovations, abundant cushions absorbing their new owners’ urban angst. Farming itself was now left to Sri Lankan workers. And nannies, nurses and assistants recruited in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines were now looking after the homes, kids and pets of the virtual, one-week-a-year population who had caused the village to expand.
The epic story of scouting.
The tale opens in 2007 as Josep Colomer, the scout who nurtured Lionel Messi at Barcelona, navigates the Niger Delta escorted by armed rebels. Supported by 6,000 volunteers across Africa, he aims to assemble a squad of the continent’s most promising 13-year-olds by testing half a million of them—every year.
Mr Abbot’s book focuses on a clutch of early candidates who are plucked from Ghana and Senegal and transported to unimaginable luxury in Doha. The motives of their benefactor, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani, are unclear. Ostensibly they are there to provide practice for local players in the hope of strengthening the national team, ahead of a bid to host the World Cup in 2022. Some think the real plan may be to make Qatari citizens of Africa’s finest.
A much needed change.
Those pressures have become even more evident in recent days. On January 7th the Red Cross claimed there was a “humanitarian crisis” in Britain’s hospitals. The NHS’s medical director for acute care denied this but admitted that staff were under “a level of pressure we haven’t seen before”. According to leaked documents seen by the BBC, nearly a quarter of patients waited longer than four hours in accident and emergency (A&E) rooms in the first week of this year. One in five patients admitted for further treatment endured a long wait on a trolley or in a hospital corridor—twice the rate normally seen. With not enough mental-health care provided in the community, recent research has found that the number of people with mental illness coming to A&E doubled between 2011-12 and 2015-16.
An interesting article from The Economist. This needull discusses the growing issue of unfulfilled desire for children for a lot of couples.
Medical infertility is part of the problem, not just in rich countries, where couples put off having children until it is rather late, but also in poor countries, where health care is worse. By one global estimate, at least 48m couples have been trying for a child for the past five years but have not succeeded, up from 42m in 1990. But the main reason for the shortfall, according to our poll, is money. From Brooklyn to Beijing, the cost of housing and education is so high that many young people say they cannot afford as many children as they want.
When I had started working as a research analyst in a UK based firm, I was asked to start reading The Economist. My bosses believed that The Economist had the best written English. They were not wrong. My favorite section in the magazine was Obituary.
For today, I am recommending David Bowie’s obituary.