Tag Archives: covid

On the brink….

At the end of the first covid lockdown in August, our Prime Minister said that if the R rate (ie the number of people 1 infected person passes the virus on to) went above 1.0 he wouldn’t hesitate to go back into lockdown. Less than 2 months later the R rate is currently 1.6-2.0 in the north of England, yet a lockdown is nowhere to be seen. We economically can’t afford it. We’d rather let people die than close down the economy again. Tough choice. I get it. Though I probably wouldn’t get it if I died. Or my parents died. Or my best mate died just to keep my local pub open so everyone had somewhere to get pissed on a weekend when the pandemic is over. Just sayin’.

Instead, local areas are facing tougher restrictions, like closing the pubs at 10pm instead of 11pm (because the virus likes an early night) and not being able to mix in groups of more than 6 indoors (unless you’re in a pub filled with 100 people, all of whom are off their heads on drink and none of whom are wearing a mask).

The restrictions differ depending on where you live in the country and no-one understands them, not even our Prime Minister apparently. Consequently not everyone is obeying them, making them about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

Where I live in Cumbria, we are the only part of the North of England not on local lockdown. But it’s coming. It has to, because there is no ban on travel from nearby infected areas (fucking insanity!) and the virus doesn’t respect county line borders.

Last week, I rang my Mum for their weekly shopping list. “We’d like some loo rolls” she tells me.
“Er, didn’t I get you 9 last week?”
“Yes, but we want some more in case there’s a lockdown”.
“Mum, there isn’t a shortage of loo rolls and you don’t need any more”.
“There was a shortage of loo rolls during the last lockdown, so this time we’re stocking up!”

Yesterday, we were talking about the 16,000 missed infections cockup which will inevitably lead to an exponential increase in cases. “And did you see on the telly all those people panic buying again?” Mum asks me, clearly frustrated, “it’s bloody ridiculous!”
And no matter what I said I couldn’t get her to understand that her bulk purchase of bog roll and UHT milk last week is panic buying and it’s because of behaviour like hers that the bloody shelves were bare during the last lockdown. It’s a self-fulfilling event.

Today I’ve done this week’s Tesco shop and there were only 3 types of loo roll available. My Mum has asked me for yet another 4 cartons of UHT milk and I’m delighted to say that Tesco said “not on your nelly!” and only allowed me to put 2 in my basket.

Far from bringing out the Blitz spirit and us all being “in this together” the pandemic has clearly shown that it’s every man for himself. Which makes me desperately sad.

I still don’t understand the whole bog roll thing. I could understand it if Covid-19 gave you raging diarrhoea but I’m fairly certain it affects your lungs, not your arse. Yet at my local Tesco this week there are 32 bottles of cough medicine and no Andrex 🤔. As Piers Morgan would say:

Covid-19: Second Wave

July 4th marked the end of lockdown in England (bizarrely, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have different rules and timescales) with the re-opening of pubs and cafes. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that infection rates would rise once we all started to mingle and sure enough, with a lag of several weeks, confirmed cases of Covid have shot up in the past 14 days.

The official infection figures from the Government are inaccurate. Testing facilities are still inadequate (shame on you Boris Johnson) and there is talk of rationing tests to hospitals and care homes only, so we have no clue what the actual infection rate is in the wider population. The best data appears to come from the Covid Tracker app from King’s College Hospital/Zoe which has 4.3 million users and has been in situ from the very start of the pandemic, so I’ll quote data from that.

  • When lockdown ended on 4th July there were a predicted daily 25,748 cases of Covid in the UK. It beggars belief there were any cases!
  • Within 2 weeks this has risen slightly to 28,806 which was to be expected.
  • However, by the 4th September (8 weeks after the end of lockdown) cases started to rise in earnest and as of Wednesday this week (16th September) predicted daily cases have nearly tripled to 69,687 and are rising fast.
Source: BBC. Official figures. Actual figures almost certainly higher.

So what’s gone wrong? You only have to look at people’s behaviour to see why Covid is once again on the rise.

  • Not observing social distancing. I had someone reach across me in the supermarket the other day for some bread FFS.
  • Wearing masks incorrectly. How stupid do you need to be to wear a mask under your nose? And the amount of people who don’t ensure their mask fits correctly before venturing out leaves me mystified. Surgical masks are too big for me, so I tie a knot in the ear loops so that the mask doesn’t bag on my face and I don’t have to keep pulling it up.
  • Breaking the rules. My new next door neighbours are intelligent, church going folks who allowed 15 of their sons’ closest friends to meet for a party in their garden a week after lockdown ended. Let’s ignore the fact there was zero social distancing going on, and concentrate on the fact that until this week although you were allowed a gathering of up to 30 people these people were only supposed to come from two households. It did not mean you could have 30 random bloody strangers in your garden!
  • But the biggest factor by far was opening pubs and clubs. Young adults are reckless at the best of times, but when they’re drunk they will act in ways they wouldn’t dream of when they’re sober. It’s no surprise that the highest rate of new infection by a million miles is in the 20-29 age group.

You only have to read our local Facebook noticeboard to see the attitude towards Covid of young adults. Each week, the FB page posts the latest news about coronavirus and each week hundreds of young adults post lots of these 😆. They think the whole pandemic is hilarious, a hoax or wildly exaggerated. Their most common comment is “yeah, the killer virus which you need a test to even know you have!”. Their level of ignorance blows my mind and even our Health Secretary is concerned. They’re aware that even if they catch Covid it’s unlikely to make them unwell, but the fact that while infected they are spreading to the virus to everyone they come into contact with is still not getting through. The R rate in some parts of the UK is now 1.7, which means that for every infected young person they are passing it on to effectively 1½ other people, who are in turn passing it on to 1½ other people, who pass it on to 1½ other people………….it’s no wonder cases are spiralling.

Even some leading medical minds in the UK have been downplaying the recent surge in cases, saying that although infection rates are up hospitalizations and deaths are not. You can forgive ignorance in young people, but not in the middle aged and certainly not when they are in positions of authority.

The UK has always been around 5 weeks behind Europe when it comes to Covid, so we only need to look at what’s happening in France, for example, to see what’s heading our way. On 13th September, France reported the highest number of daily Covid cases since the pandemic began in February. Both hospital admissions and deaths are rising sharply and doctors in Marseille revealed this week that the 70 intensive care unit beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients in the city and the surrounding Bouches-du-Rhone region were all occupied by Tuesday. The situation in Spain is even worse and they have now exceeded half a million cases, the highest in Europe.

Where the UK went wrong at the start of the Pandemic was in thinking that what was happening in Italy couldn’t happen here. Yet the UK has surpassed the Italian death rate by tens of thousands. To think that what’s currently happening in France and Spain won’t happen here is insanity. We’re not even in winter yet. The weather is still warm and dry and we are congregating largely outdoors. Everyone agrees that infection rates will increase once we are forced indoors with re-circulated air and social distancing becomes that much harder. My mind boggles as to where we’ll be by December.

Despite the fact that our Prime Minister stated at the end of lockdown that if the R rate went above 1 we would go back into lockdown, this will never happen. The R rate is 1.7 in some parts of the UK but he is putting money before lives and not even considering another lockdown because he knows the economy would once again grind to a halt. I can see his point, but what price life?

Various parts of the UK are in regional lockdown, or at the very least have increased restrictions. Glasgow and surrounds, most of the North East of England, Manchester and surrounds, parts of West Yorkshire and Lancashire, Birmingham and surrounds, south Wales……………come on now Boris! It’s lockdown by the back door for heavens sake. Restrictions on visiting hospitals and care homes has begun in many places throughout the country. There is also talk of a national lockdown during the school half term holidays, but it’s not children who are spreading the virus. It is, and always has been, the 18-40s. Stop them partying and half the problem would be halted in its tracks. But as the hospitality industry is a significant part of the economy, our government would rather keep pubs open and people dying. This despite the fact that problem drinking has increased massively this year and is going to cost the country a fortune in treatment in the long term.

The official death rate in the UK from Covid is nearly 42,000 however it is more likely to be nearer 60,000 and counting. How many people have to die before our Government gets a proper grip on this killer pandemic?

Close To Home

Yesterday saw the death from Covid-19 of someone I know well and the seriousness of the situation really hit home.  When you live in a rural area you feel a bit immune to stuff that goes on in cities, but this virus cares not for age, location, sex, ethnicity nor anything else.

The person who died was one of the women who treated me badly at my last camera club, so I have mixed feelings about her passing.  She put me through hell last year when I had done absolutely nothing to deserve it and despite her knowing how difficult my life already was, so I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say I’m deeply affected.  On the other hand, her partner also died who was lovely and I genuinely feel for their families and friends as they can’t have normal funerals where they celebrate the lives of their loved ones and receive support from each other.  I simply can’t imagine losing my Mum or Dad and not having a funeral.  It’s a huge part of the grieving process and I think will have repercussions for those left behind.  I know at least one of my lovely readers is also currently in this position and my heart goes out to her.

Having just heard the news yesterday, I totally lost my shit with my neighbour up the drive.  As regular readers will know, I am currently pursuing legal action against him as he has to travel over the private driveway to my home to access his upholstery business and for the past 4 years has let delivery vans, staff and customers park on my drive to load/offload which blocks me in my garage.

On Sunday, our Government here in the UK announced a total lockdown.  You should only be going in to work if you are classed as “essential”, though can work from home if needed.  So what did I find on Tuesday?  My neighbour working as usual and a customer, who had come to pick up furniture, blocking me in my drive.  Livid doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction.

I am classed as being in the vulnerable group as I am chronically ill, and my 80 yr old neighbours who live only 6ft away from the workshop, are also in total lockdown.  The very last thing we need are people tooing and froing up the drive to our homes, especially as my elderly neighbours have no garden or outdoor space so tend hundreds of pot plants in the driveway and were out doing just that all day in the sunshine to pass the time.  So I sent a very stern email to shit-for-brains telling him to fuck off home.  If he wants to put himself at risk by continuing to work and have customers visiting he can do it at his own house, but not ours.  FFS.

I continue to have mixed feelings about the general public’s reaction to the pandemic.  They are all freaking out at how they will manage financially with no money coming in.  Welcome to our world.  When I first became ill with M.E. and had to stop working I lived alone and had a massive mortgage which I could only pay by taking in lodgers even when I was working.  So despite being bedridden and at times critically ill, I still had to share my home with a succession of total strangers for 10 years so I didn’t end up losing my home.

People are already going stir crazy with boredom and it’s only been a week.  Trying lying on your own, sick in bed, with no internet, mobile phone, TV, radio or books for 23 hours a day for the next 6 years then tell me what stir crazy feels like.  Seriously people, get a grip.

I have friends who have been bedridden and lived in almost total isolation for over 2 decades.  It is not headline news.  Welfare benefits for the sick and disabled continue to be disallowed, or reduced to the point where no-one can possibly survive on them.  Social care is down to 15 minutes twice a day – you can’t possibly make a fresh meal in that time.  Yet the healthy population haven’t given a flying fuck and, once this pandemic is over and their lives return to normal, they will continue not giving a flying fuck.

So I’m afraid my sympathy for healthy people living for a couple of months without their usual income and in isolation (though for the most part with family) and with little health or social care isn’t particularly high.  They are getting a taste of what life is like for millions of chronically ill and elderly people, but at least their life will resume by the end of the summer, unlike ours.