Unlocking Lockdown

It has been quite some time since my last mutter about Coronavirus and lockdown, and quite a few things have changed. For starters some of the shops have re-opened and that was good news, however the inconvenience is considerable what with queues, people hiding behind masks and screens, mysterious arrows pointing in unwanted directions and of course the previously empty pavements suddenly swarming with people and I had to walk in the street on occasions to avoid large groups filling the complete pavement. I do however understand the need for things like this, it is the new normal I am afraid, until we can get a handle on this virus. Unfortunately I do suffer from poor hearing and many of these interactions are incredibly difficult for me. I even explored having a takeaway but would have to phone in my order and presumably hide until it was ready for collection. I tried to buy new safety shoes the other day too and sure as eggs are eggs so did everybody else in the shop (7 at a time please). I also attempted to buy a piece of wood for my bedside table but it was made so complicated that I did not go ahead with the purchase. I am afraid that I am not the only one in this boat, many people are just not going to visit the shops or even attempt social interaction. 

On my reading list this past week was a book about the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic and it made for interesting and chilling reading. More people died from Spanish Flu than the total number of cases and deaths from covid-19. While gravehunting in South Africa I noticed that a years deaths would take up roughly a page and a half in the cemetery register. However, when it comes to 1918 suddenly there are 4 or 5 pages just for October! The book I read had a chapter on South Africa and the Flu and it seemed to peak in Cape Town and the mines in Kimberley and Transvaal were badly hit.

“Writing in the Conversation Africa in March 2020, emeritus professor Howard Philips, a historian at the University of Cape Town, said South Africa was estimated to have been “one of the five worst hit parts” of the world.

Philips specialises in the social history of medicine and has written two books on the Spanish flu’s effects on South Africa. He told Africa Check that the official death toll released by the government in 1919 was 140,000 to 142,000. This was for 1918 and 1919.  But the unreliable way the figures were calculated meant this toll was probably low, Philips said.

“There was no comprehensive death registration system in South Africa in 1918. There was supposedly for whites, but for Africans in [the Cape province and Transvaal] there was no requirement to register deaths,” he said.”  (AfricaCheck.org)

In other news it was announced that Tewkesbury  has had no active Coronavirus cases since May 24. At that point there had been 182 cases up till then. Hopefully this will continue though because all it takes is one infected person to walk down the street or go to work.   

The numbers game continues. Worldometers reports the following: There are 9 622 238 Cases world wide with 487 339 deaths. The USA still tops the charts with 2 477 876 cases and 124 485 deaths. The UK has seen a slowing in cases and deaths and while still at number 5 has 307980 cases and 43230 deaths.  South Africa has been climbing the charts though, it is currently at number 18 with 11796 cases and 2205 deaths. These rankings are for total cases, and look differently when total deaths is considered.: USA – 1, Brazil 2, UK – 3, South Africa – 25. The situation in South Africa is very difficult because of socio-economic conditions and often incomprehensible regulations. A report at Mybroadband.co.za stated “Liberty Fighters Network (LFN) and Reyno De Beer will be arguing in the High Court today that they believe that since of this morning Wednesday, 24 June 2020, the lockdown regulations are unconstitutional and invalid and that effectively the Lockdown is legally over.” Naturally this will get fought out in the courts, and huge amounts of money will get spent and eventually it will probably be settled out of court and the only ones who benefit will be lawyers. 

And that is it in a nutshell. Today it is supposed to be 32 degrees outside but I suspect we missed most of the heat at work. I remember those 37 degree days in Johannesburg in Summer, and the thunderstorms that often used to build up, apparently we are in for some of those too tonight too. 

Till next time… stay 2 metres away.

DRW © 2020. Created 25/06/2020

 

Covid-19. The story continues

My last post about the corona virus situation was on the 25th of April, and to be frank I have not been in the mood to waffle about it much. The situation is depressing, exacerbated by some of the images coming out of America featuring armed men and women shouting the odds about the “plandemic”. It is a pity we are unable to split the populace in half: one half that does not want to die and another that wants to see a conspiracy between the Illuminati, 5G, the lizard people and black hats. The anti-vaccine fringe is also shouting the odds and the numbers do not mean anything to them, because they think its all a conspiracy. Tell that to the family of those who have died so far and see whether they believe it is a conspiracy or not.

How do the numbers look? my usual source of numbers is worldometers although for all I know they may be part of the conspiracy too. 

There are 4 103 537 cases of the virus worldwide ( 2 832 454 cases worldwide on 25/04) with 280 470 deaths. Leading the field is the USA with 1 347 318 cases and 80 040 deaths. The UK sits at 215 260 cases and 31 587 deaths. The UK has the highest number of deaths in Europe and the 2nd highest in the world. South Africa is seeing a gradual rise in numbers with 9420 cases and 186 deaths. Unfortunately South Africa seems to be unwinding even though it has changed to a level 4 lock-down state.  Please note that the image below is only pertinent to South Africa and nowhere else. It was sourced from the SA Corona Virus website 

Locally I found the following table that illustrates the numbers in Gloucestershire where I live: (sourced from https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/

This last Friday was the VE Day commemoration and there were many public festivities planned around the day, but these were all cancelled although local groups did their best to celebrate and commemorate as best they could. I went down to the war memorial in town (I do go out on occasion to “exercise”) and walked down the high street with it’s closed shops and scattered people. It was very depressing. 

I then made a turn around the Abbey which is closed for the duration (or until they are allowed to reopen). It is at times like this that the Abbey would be better off open so that people can find some sort of solace within it’s ancient walls. The building has seen so much in the almost 900 years that it has been standing, and it can add this pandemic to it’s long history. I find it a very comforting place, and it did help me when my mother passed away last year. That reminds me… Happy Mothers Day Mum. 

Outside is it cold and windy and overcast. I may just self isolate today. I am watching an excellent anime called Cike Wu Liuqi or Scissors Seven. It is quite a zany and erratic romp and I have enjoyed it thoroughly. It is in Chinese but as usual I am using subtitles so the language does not bother me too much. However, spoken Chinese is very different from Japanese so it does sound quite odd. I may experiment with changing it to Japanese dub with English subtitles and see how it plays out. At least it keeps me amused.

I have also posted quite a few more ships to our shipping group on facebook and I am surprised at how many memories it has stirred in myself and others. It is just a pity that ships draw such a small interest group in the country, but then it is to be expected. Here is a ship just to cheer me up, I hope she cheers you up too. 

Till next time…

DRW © 2020. Created 10/05/2020 (Day 2893476484)

No End in Sight

31/02/2020. Day 745673…. Still here. The company where I work now has key industry status and as such we are technically “key workers”. I will admit they are really trying their best to keep the virus out and us safe. So far though 109 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Gloucestershire and 8 have died in county hospitals. The UK tally is 22141 cases with 1408 deaths.  Around us life more or less goes on and people are getting used to the queues and delays although quite a lot are still out and about. Our local Morrisons is slowly getting their shelves packed and today is the first time I have seen toilet paper on the shelves in a long time. Online shopping and delivery have been bogged down though and some people are getting slots for a month down the line. Our local eateries are doing their best to cater to the demand that has been created for takeaways, and anybody that hasn’t been able to adapt will end up suffering until restrictions are lifted. Unfortunately I have had to buy a washing machine due to the closure of the local laundry, it was one expense I was hoping not to have to make. Hopefully it will be delivered on Saturday. Getting through to your bank is almost impossible with a large amount of people phoning in about the financial situation and how the virus will affect it. Unfortunately the virus is not only dangerous from a medical point of view but also from a mental point of view, so keeping busy is vital and going to work may be good for your mental health! (ya right…). So, nothing new to report. Still hanging in there. 

Day 384674….. still here, lost track of time. It is now the weekend, technically had all been hunky dorey I would have been on my way back from London after renewing my passport. Instead I am cold and grumpy, browned off  and depressed.  I had to get some shopping done and tried our local Morrisons but the queue was not going anywhere. They have complicated the matter by closing off the bicycle parking so I ended up chaining my bike to a pole. The queue was even slower than lines at an airport so I ended up giving up again and going to Tesco instead.  The town is like a ghost town, there are very few people around, most of the shops are closed and the traffic has halved. There is also parking available and heaven help you if you park where you are not supposed to (letters will be written to “The Times”).

Yet, there are still people manning tills, cleaning floors, moving boxes, delivering mail, delivering cargo, driving trucks, buses and trains and just doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.   The medical staff are in the front line and in spite of ticket wardens handing out parking tickets and yobs stealing their bikes they keep at it. Even Boris Johnson is infected and as much as I hate to say this it does show that he is human and not some stuck up suit in a distant office. At the end of the day we all have to ride out the storm together.

Back in South Africa the lockdown has been stringently enforced by police and military forces, and looking at the statistics for the country I can see why. There were 202 confirmed cases as at 20/03/2020, currently the total is running at 1170 cases with 1 death.  Unfortunately I fear that things will get much worse in South Africa as mob rule, criminality and xenophobia start to raise their ugly heads. I was reading a post last night about a German woman that was taken to a hospital in South Africa and there were people posting who were ready to use the pitchfork and burning torches. It made for very sickening reading and I blocked that post very quickly. 

On the positive side even the pigeons are laying low.

I would love to say “Things will get better” but at this moment in time that would be a white lie. However, we can count ourselves lucky that we were not living way back in 1665 when the “Black Plaque” was raging. The Public Domain Review  posted about “mortality” during the black plague and it makes for interesting reading. I know that I certainly would not like to be suffering from some of the things mentioned in those lists.

On one of the pages there is an exhortation devoted “To The Reader” and I advise you to take its wie word eriouly 🙂

I am heading back to work on Monday following my 7 days self isolation. At least I still have a job at this stage, but I do not know how much work there will be as the time passes. In the meantime I am busy making sure that if somebody does not hear from me for a long time that they check to see whether I haven’t suffered an attack of “Riing of the light” or “infant” or a “head mould hot“. 

DRW © 2020 Created 28/03/2020. Bills of Mortality are in the public domain worldwide and free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights.  https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/