Digested week: which Squid Recreation are you on, my six-year-old asks | Emma Brockes


Earlier than you possibly can even get to the story, the numbers are staggering: there are 78,000 academics within the New York Metropolis public faculty system, employed throughout 1,800 faculties and with an annual working finances of $38bn (£28bn). The substitute instructing pool is 9,000 individuals sturdy, past which there are an additional 5,000 substitute instructing assistants who as of this morning, mentioned the mayor’s workplace, had been able to step in ought to the Covid vaccine mandate for academics result in gaps within the system.

Per week earlier, nursing properties and hospitals within the metropolis had gone via the same drill, with astonishing outcomes. Statewide, the week earlier than the vaccine mandate got here into impact 84% of nursing house workers reported having had no less than one shot. Virtually in a single day that quantity flew as much as 97%. In some elements of New York, nursing properties reported 20% will increase in just some days.

Final Friday workers on the metropolis’s faculties had been instructed that in the event that they didn’t present proof of no less than one vaccine by the top of the weekend, they’d be placed on unpaid go away. Three days later, the quantity remaining unvaccinated was 3,000 – larger than anticipated, maybe, given the idea that the individuals instructing our kids are 100% smart.

However nonetheless, as percentages go, these weren’t unhealthy. “Ninety-five per cent of all full-time DoE workers are vaccinated, 96% of all academics, 99% of all principals,” mentioned Invoice de Blasio, the mayor. Comparable upsurges had been happening within the non-public sector, too. At United Airways, information broke that the airline had hit 99% compliancy with its personal vaccine mandate, with solely 600 out of 67,000 workers fired for holding out. There have been comparable numbers at Delta, which final month introduced it might be including $200 to the price of the corporate’s month-to-month healthcare bundle for unvaccinated staff, a really persuasive argument, because it turned out.

The loophole is spiritual exemption legal guidelines. For years earlier than Covid, anti-vaxxers claiming to be Orthodox Jews or religious Christians would trek downtown to the Division of Schooling places of work and current themselves as holy abstainers. Given the general public well being danger of approving these claims, there must be an oversight system in place no less than as rigorous as that attending suspect inexperienced card marriages. Need to declare spiritual exemption? OK, present me proof of your baptism, your first Bible camp, your prayer circle, your examine group, plus please reply the next questions: when did you first get to know Jesus? What did you like about him most? What’s essentially the most memorable factor he ever mentioned? Which facet of the mattress do you retain your Bible on? Have you ever ever been on pilgrimage collectively and do you’ve gotten the photographs to show it?


“You’re solely doing it as a result of it appears like England,” says a pal, and she or he’s not incorrect. On daily basis after faculty I drag my youngsters 50 blocks north to the Cathedral of St John the Divine. It is likely one of the largest cathedrals on the planet, with in depth grounds inside cloisters that look unmistakably English. Extra importantly, it runs an after-school programme subsidised by the Episcopalians that’s wonderful and fairly priced.

I’m in love with this cathedral and its delicate Anglican vibe. The primary stone was laid in 1893, which I discover myself being a bit sniffy about: not precisely Chartres, is it, I believe, the form of comment that provokes Individuals, with some justification, to hold on hating the English. However there’s a pure white peacock wandering the grounds. (He’s known as Phil and so they feed him on cat meals.) On the flagstaff, the Stars and Stripes hangs beside the Episcopal flag, which encompasses the purple cross of St George. After drop-off I stroll previous the cathedral’s stone steps and contemplate how even the phrase “sacristy” is deeply soothing. Out-of-control nostalgia: perhaps it’s time to return house.


Within the ledger of pandemic winners and losers, right here comes Warby Parker, the US equal of Specsavers, a low-cost eyewear agency that publicly filed for its IPO this summer season and promptly gained entry into the “I can’t imagine they mentioned that out loud” corridor of fame. Addressing prospects and traders, an organization spokesperson broke the excellent news that current surges in display use in America had completed wonders for corroding the nation’s eyesight and bettering Warby Parker’s backside line.

Different corporations have made progressive play of the pandemic. A black truck emblazoned with the phrases “Wilmore funeral house” not too long ago drove round Charlotte, North Carolina, with the message “don’t get vaccinated” on the facet, to encourage, er, enterprise. (Clearly there was no Wilmore funeral house, it was a PR stunt by an promoting company appearing for the general public good, or no less than appearing on the idea that being seen to be good could be good for enterprise.)

In New York, in the meantime, plucky underdog Macy’s took on Amazon final week, to attempt to forestall it from renting 2,200 sq ft of promoting house on a hoarding outdoors its retailer. As with Barnes & Noble earlier than it, Macy’s, a former big of bricks and mortar retail, finds itself within the position of mother and pop retailer valiantly staring down the Amazon T-rex. We’re not far off, certainly, from cheering on Walmart, ye olde megamart and former title holder of worst place to work in America, because the valiant little man standing as much as its – extremely – much more evil successor.


It’s the eve of the opening of the brand new James Bond film within the US, and photographs of Daniel Craig wanting like an ageing matinee idol abound. It’s all there: the receding lips, the waxy sheen, the haughty manner, plus a number of very tedious interviews. (Pattern perception from the New York Occasions: “Imagine me, I’m fully a mere mortal.”). He’s about to play Macbeth on Broadway, God assist us.

I’m too caught up in Squid Recreation to have a look at Bond, pushing via seven hours of the violent South Korean present in three days. No spoilers, however in broad define – and like so many hit reveals, from Mare of Easttown to, sorry, even bits of The White Lotus – it begins off extremely sturdy, wobbles within the center and falls off a cliff on the finish with a Scooby-Doo finale.

“Which recreation are you on?” one in every of my six-year-olds asks, and I regard her with horror and amazement. My youngsters don’t have impartial entry to Netflix, however – who knew? – the present has already been became a number of worlds on Roblox. “Is there killing?” I ask. “Sure,” she says. “What occurs when somebody is killed?” “They explode right into a thousand items.” She appears delighted. (I test, clearly; the graphics are garbage. When somebody is “killed” their blocky head falls off and their physique inoffensively pixellates.) We retreat to completely different elements of the home and our age-appropriate variations of this horrible present.


There’s horror in every single place. We’ve got spent a lot of the week speaking about the person in Illinois who – brace your self – woke in the midst of the night time to discover a bat on his neck, a colony having arrange house in his loft. He received rabies – the primary particular person to have caught the illness in Illinois since 1954 – refused the anti-rabies vaccine and died a month later, presumably becoming and frothing on the mouth. There’s an efficient pro-vax advert marketing campaign someplace in there.

Picture of the week: Flight for males, by Calvin Klein. {Photograph}: Toby Melville/Reuters

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