Still Musing About The Corona

24/03/2020. A number of things have changed/happened overnight. My sinusitis attack has resulted in me now being isolated for 7 days. Trainline is going to refund my train ticket,  the hotel is busy organising my refund and South Africa is locked down for 21 days. I have to admit that President Ramaphosa does present a very re-assuring speech and I do not really envy him or Boris Johnson for that matter. These are dangerous days and we do not know when the end will be. 

If are in South Africa and are looking for information about covid-19 here please visit the South African online resource below.

The UK is on an unofficial lockdown for 3 weeks and some businesses are closed while necessary ones are staying open but with limited service. I should be OK for food but when we hit week 3 I will probably be staring at empty cupboards. It is no real use going shopping as there is nothing on the shelves to buy. The early birds are catching the worm and bulk buying everything in sight and that is a major problem.  When you work days the only time you have to shop is after hours or weekend. By then it is too late. Let us hope that a solution is found and very soon too. 

The numbers for the UK (24/03/2020) are as follows:  Coronavirus Cases: 6,650 Deaths: 335 Recovered: 135

21/03/20120. Yep, it is true, this continues my musings about Covid19, although Conoravirus is a much easier name to remember. Theoretically the  beastie looks like this:

“This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).” (https://phil.cdc.gov/)

The reality is that this seemingly innocuous fuzzball has brought the world to a standstill. At this point disaster has struck the UK as pubs, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close as of last night. This had led to mass buying of last rounds and tears from the harden bar propper uppers. Unfortunately this will also mean job losses in the industry too. 

At work we are still waiting to hear what will happen with us, as we have a busy week and then a quiet week. However there is still a lot of work that has to be processed and we are as busy as usual. Things may change but hopefully we will keep our jobs. I am also concerned about the place where I live, anything can really happen and to be truthful I am quite stressed at the moment. I have also cancelled my London trip as it is too risky to use public transport and head all the way into London which has 1221 confirmed cases. The Daily Express has the following breakdown for 17 March: 

  • England – 2,756
  • Scotland – 266
  • Wales – 170
  • Northern Ireland – 77

the diagnosed cases of COVID-19 across England the cases are as follows

  • London: 1,221
  • South East: 340
  • Midlands: 282
  • North West: 220
  • North East and Yorkshire: 194
  • East of England: 147
  • South West: 140

There is an informative website called https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ with up to date statistics and graphs. Things do not look good.

And, on the subject of not looking good: there is a lot of fake news and speculation doing the rounds too (as usual). The World Health Organisation has busted quite a few of these myths and untruths. Just remember that if you find it on social media that does not mean it is legitimate or true. 

I have just found out that the South African Embassy has closed indefinitely from the 20th so just as well I decided to not go. Fortunately I have had excellent service from Easyhotel where I was going to stay. I have had to cancel my booking twice and they went out of their way to assist me. Guess where I will be staying when/if I get to London again.  Unfortunately I cannot say the same thing about trainline (link not provided on purpose). Their attitude was: reschedule the trip on the same route/train up to 12 weeks in advance and we may forgo the exorbitant associated fee.  I was prepared to loose that money and it was my mistake for using them in the first (and now the last) place. I do believe that the issue may not lay with them though, but with the systems operated by the franchise holders. Trainline has since redeemed themselves, although it could take ages to get the money back.

On the plus side there are still many people out there in the front lines who are doing their jobs under very trying circumstances. Our local postie, the laundry up the road, the retail workers, the NHS staff, police, firemen and other emergency services, care workers, media workers, cleaners, truck drivers, delivery staff, farmers and agricultural workers, members of HM Military Forces and so many others that I cannot name. THANK YOU!!!!!!

And while we all are hiding in our bunkers clutching at our bogroll it is worthwhile considering that nature continues. Trees grow, squirrels collect nuts, ducks quack, flowers bloom, crops grow and the wind just keeps on blowing. The drop in air travel has been good for the planet, and the negative impact of humanity is diminishing as we are laid low by that little virus in the pic. If we all got wiped out tomorrow you can be rest assured that the planet would carry on without us.  

And this is where I shall pause for now. “Keep Calm and Carry On” I guess. 

DRW © 2020. Created 21/03/2020. Image of Cornona Virus: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS. 

Musings About Covid19

It was inevitable that I would eventually blog some stuff about the pandemic facing the world, after all we are all about to live through it and suffer the consequences that will follow. For the record I fall into the 50-59 year old age group so that alone puts me in a moderately dangerous space. However, the proliferation of fake news and sheer rubbish being churned out by the media makes it really difficult to know where you stand. The fact remains that the only way you will know if you will survive is to actually have the virus. Unfortunately the end result of the media onslaught is triggering panic buying, paranoia, and shifty eyes at anybody that sneezes, coughs or shows any sign of a cold, sinus, allergies or dust related sneezing. At some point lynch mobs may just run around with pitchforks and flaming torches; it is entirely possible that people will loose their sense of reason and level headedness, and you know what happens when they do!

Our local supermarkets have empty shelves in the bogroll, soap, surface wipes, pasta, hand wash, paracetamol and a few other items as people stockpile like crazy. I bet the bottled water will sell out too, and before you know it no baked beans or instant noodles will be available. Pitchforks and flaming torches may soon be in short supply too. The company where I work has been posting NHS warnings and information in the building and are gearing up for the possible absence of staff who have to self isolate. So far the schools have not been closed but if they are this can impact on businesses too as staff may end up having to stay at home to look after children that would ordinarily be at school. Like it not many businesses will have to remain open as we rely on them for amongst others food deliveries, refuse removal, post, electricity and of course healthcare. The UK borders have not been closed as yet, but it is early days still and anything can happen. Naturally if a celeb tests positive you can bet that it will be splashed all over social media and millions will try to do the same because that is the nature of the fickle celeb and influencer worshippers.  The guidelines issued by my local surgery however may read as restrictive but in reality it is more or less what we go through anyway when we need to see a doctor. 

Back in South Africa there are supposedly 24 confirmed cases so far (202 as at 20/03/2020), but it is difficult to know what the true rate is because already there are rumblings that this is a Western middle class disease and not a poor African disease. Trust me, there are political brownie points to be made with something like this. As we head into a new week we will have to keep an eye on the news to see what plans will be cancelled and what cities will close down. I spotted an excellent post on facebook this afternoon and would like to ask the question that the original poster asked:

I am still booked for London on the 25th but whether the embassy will be open or not is another question, ask me again next week.  There is one smidgen of good news to bear in mind though: at least it isn’t Anthrax! 

DRW © 2020. First created 14/02/2020

OTD: Moorgate Tube Accident

On 28 February 1975, the Moorgate Tube Accident occurred.

In my 2016 London trip I used Moorgate to get to Bunhill Fields and at the time spotted a plaque on the wall of the station.  

Later reading put the accident in context; and it has now been almost 4 years since I passed through Moorgate, and 45 years since the accident occurred. The plaque was unveiled on 28 February 2014 by the Lord Mayor of London, on the side of the station building, in Moor Place and there is also a memorial in the south-west corner of Finsbury Square; just north of Moorgate station. 43 people died and 74 were injured after a train failed to stop at the Northern Line’s southern terminus at Moorgate. 

Following the accident an inquiry was established and it found no equipment fault on the train, and that the dead man’s handle had no defect and attention focused on the 54 year old driver –  Motorman Leslie Newson, However nothing conclusive was found to explain his lack of action when approaching the terminus.  The report by  Lieutenant Colonel Ian McNaughton, the Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways, found that there was insufficient evidence to say if the accident was due to a deliberate act or a medical condition.

The cause of the accident was never adequately explained and it did mean rail safety was looked at once again and improvements were made to the system. The London Tube is an impressive work and one of the best things about London. It is however not infallible, but given how many use the tube it has a very impressive safety record. 

DRW © 2020. Created 15/02/2020