Top story: Biden – cover your face for others’ sake
Good morning, Warren Murray enlightening you this Tuesday morn.
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, said he was not surprised by Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection and declared that “masks matter” as the still-infected president returned to the White House and pointedly removed his mask on the balcony. Shortly after flying back from the Walter Reed medical centre, an unmasked Trump recorded a rambling, triumphalist video statement in which he claimed to be overcoming the virus, said, “Maybe I’m immune!” and urged Americans: “Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re gonna beat it … Be careful!”
Biden said: “I would hope that the president having gone through what he went through – and I’m glad he seems to be coming along pretty well – would communicate the right lesson to the American people … These masks, they matter. It saves lives. The only thing I heard was one of the tweets saying that, you know, don’t be so concerned about all this, essentially. There’s a lot to be concerned about.” Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, who has been shunned by Trump, told CNN that doctors would need to monitor the president for a “reversal” in his progression because he was still in the danger period. Fauci also said he strongly suspected an experimental monoclonal antibody drug given to Trump was helping him recover.
Julian Borger writes that the next four weeks will be dangerous not just for Trump but those around him. “Many students of Trump’s life and career have warned that he would be prepared to sacrifice anyone to spare himself the humiliation of a one-term presidency. It involved creating a culture in the White House in which the wearing of masks was scoffed at, and seen as a sign of disloyalty. Trump drove home the message on Monday night … He has produced a toxic workplace to the point of potential lethality.”
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Coronavirus latest – Conservative and Labour MPs have signalled they could withdraw backing this week for the rule of six and the 10pm pub and restaurant curfew. Contact tracers are scrambling to reach up to 50,000 people who should be self-isolating because of contact with an infected person after nearly 16,000 confirmed positive cases fell off the end of an Excel spreadsheet. Hospitals could face shortages of drugs during the second wave of Covid because medicines stockpiled against Brexit shortages have been used up, NHS bosses have warned. The Department of Health and Social Care declined to say whether any of the drugs in the Brexit stockpile had been depleted. Get the latest on the pandemic at our global live blog.
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PM windmills in – Boris Johnson will promise to power every UK home from offshore wind by 2030 and make the pandemic a catalyst for green growth. In a speech to the virtual Tory party conference today he is due to say the government is banking on a clean energy future to create jobs, likening the UK’s offshore wind resources to Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth. The government has come under fire for failing to set out plans for a green recovery that would put the UK on track to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The PM did not mention onshore wind which is the cheapest form of wind energy but hampered by planning regulations because grassroots Conservatives don’t like the turbines. The boost for offshore wind has been welcomed by green campaigners, who urged the PM to go further with his plans by providing incentives for electric vehicles and other low-carbon infrastructure.
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Turmoil after Kyrgyz election – Scores of people have been taken to hospital with injuries in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, after clashes broke out over a disputed election. Protesters eventually forced their way into the main government building despite police hitting them with water cannon, stun grenades and tear gas. Opposition supporters have called for the pro-Russian president, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, to resign as 10 parties called for a rerun amid claims of vote-buying. The president’s office has promised he will meet today with leaders of all 16 parties from the election. Two parties that scored big wins and support the president are at the centre of the vote-buying allegations, with one of them saying it is open to a rerun.
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Corbyn grouping defies Starmer – More than 20 Labour MPs were understood to have rebelled against the party leadership on Monday night at the second reading of a bill confirming MI5’s right to let informants commit crimes. Keir Starmer wanted his party to abstain on the security bill but the Socialist Campaign Group led by Jeremy Corbyn voted against it – the second rebellion in less than a fortnight. On Monday the bill passed at second reading by 182 to 20. Jon Trickett, an MP close to Corbyn, had said he would vote against the bill which “seeks to give legal cover to illegal undercover actions”.
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Glad to see the back of you – Dogs are just as excited by the back of our heads as the front, scientists have found. Researchers scanned the brains of dogs and humans while showing them videos of either the front or the back of a human or dog head (stay with me). Dogs’ brains showed no difference when shown a face compared with the back of the head; the dogs were mostly focused on whether they were looking at a dog or a human, whereas the humans were mainly focused on whether there was a face. Dr Attila Andics, co-author of the study from Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary, said the findings did not mean dogs completely ignored faces, but might be linked to their general reliance on a range of body cues.
Today in Focus podcast: Coronavirus in the Oval Office
Donald Trump spent the weekend in hospital after developing symptoms following a positive test for Covid-19. But with confusing medical briefings and a controversial drive-by stunt, Americans are still trying to get answers about how the president became infected as the election approaches.
Lunchtime read: keeping friends close during pandemic
Zoom fatigue, cancelled visits and limits on gatherings can all make it feel like our friends are drifting away. But with a few expert tips it’s easy to rekindle close connections, writes Emine Saner.
Arsenal have completed the signing of Thomas Partey from Atlético Madrid after a dramatic day in which they met his £45m release fee with hours to spare before the transfer deadline. Novak Djokovic surges on, Alexander Zverev goes home to heal his ailing body as the most extraordinary French Open in living memory enters the second week burdened with fresh concerns about coronavirus. Petra Kvitova eases into her second Roland Garros quarter-final defeating Zhang Shuai of China. She will face Germany’s world No 66, Laura Siegemund, who beat Paula Badosa.
Geraint Thomas saw his Giro d’Italia hopes go up in smoke on Mount Etna and Simon Yates faltered badly as Jonathan Caicedo won stage three and João Almeida moved into the leader’s pink jersey. The England prop Joe Marler has told how psychiatric help transformed his life and why Eddie Jones is the most supportive coach he has known.
Veolia, the French waste management company which employs 14,000 people in the UK, has succeeded in its bid to buy a 29.9% stake in its rival Suez for €11.2bn. It paves the way for a full takeover offer despite an attempt by the French government to stall the deal. Donald Trump’s upbeat assessment of his health has helped Asian markets climb to a two-week high overnight. The FTSE100, however, is set to open flat with the pound on $1.299 and €1.101.
The Guardian leads with that Excel spreadsheet catastrophe that has left nearly 50,000 Covid contacts untraced. In the third edition our front-page picture shows Donald Trump leaving the Walter Reed medical centre. The Metro is bold-facedly incredulous at a “A world beating fiasco” as “48,000 contacts are lost without a trace”. The Express splashes with “Payback time! Covid tax rises on the way” – our write-up here on Rishi Sunak’s warning.
The Mail leads with “Wind farms to power every home” and its final edition front page has a stick down the side for a picture of the president and the headline “Thumbs up! Trump out of hospital”. The Mirror leads with “Every parent’s nightmare” – the deaths of four people including Newcastle and Northumbria university students from suspected illegal drug use.
The Telegraph amplifies Trump saying “Don’t be afraid of Covid” while the i reports “Trump claims he has beaten Covid-19”. The Times leads with the wind power story and its final edition shows the president removing his mask on the White House balcony, headed “Trump leaves hospital still battling virus”. The Sun accuses Kenny Goss of “Taking the Michael” as he reportedly seeks an allowance from his late lover George Michael’s estate.
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