THE Health Secretary as Zebedee, phone shopping and a potential tsunami of psychological problems were the topics discussed by columnists and contributors in the newspapers.
The Daily Mail
Henry Deedes watched the Health Secretary’s Downing Street briefing late on Monday and described him as ‘his usual zingy, Saturday night game-show host self. Part Leslie Crowther of The Price Is Right fame, part Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout.’
“He seems immune to the rusty grind most of us experience on Mondays,” he said. “To be fair, the year he’s had he’s probably forgotten what a weekend is.”
He announced more than 12 million had been vaccinated and take up was 90 per cent – more than the Government’s estimated 75 per cent, he said.
“That will have been a deliberate low-ball estimate just so Hancock could boast about surpassing it,” he added. “As for the test and trace programme, it was now performing ‘brilliantly’ he insisted. The Health Secretary is never shy about giving himself a glowing report, is he? His memoirs are going to be a hoot.”
The Daily Express
Vanessa Feltz has shied away from using her phone for anything other than calling people and, ‘if absolutely necessary’, texting.
“It took a global pandemic to shove me kicking and screaming onto the World Wide Web,” she said. “The instant I twigged that I wouldn’t be able to see my beloved descendants face to face, I had no choice. So on March 10 last year I purchased an all-singing, all-dancing smartphone.”
However, with everyone in lockdown and forbidden to mix, there was no one to show her how to use it, she said, after her partner gave up.
“Last week, however, a chum schooled me in shopping on the phone,” she added. “I could now summon anything my heart desires and budget allows, delivered within hours. But when I found myself scrolling through “cow creamers shaped like elephants” I realised I’d hit “peak stuff”. Four days in and I’m out.”
Richard Bentall, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Sheffield, said some media reports claim we are now facing “the greatest threat to mental health since WWII” and a potential “tsunami” of psychological problems.
He and his team have been monitoring mental health since March and believe the tsunami theory to be misleading.
“We found that the economic threats associated were most linked with symptoms, whereas exposure to the virus seemed to have little effect,” he said. “The government can most preserve the population’s mental health by protecting people from the economic consequences of the pandemic and providing practical support to parents of young children.”