Isolation - American Gothic-Style
I haven't written anything at length on here for a long time, but as there is precious little else to do, it's probably time for a UK update, specifically my area (Cornwall) and how things look at the moment. Most of this is approximate, so forgive me if there are some things are off the mark. This is also not in date order - it is mostly random as I remember it.
* I was warned that something nasty had jumped the fence in Wuhan back in late January. I was directed to the World Health Organisation site, where they were jumping up and down about it, but Europe and the West were just taking no notice. Rumour has it that a lot of the warning ended up in Our Illustrious Leader's spam folder. It was only clear that the problem was escalating when the hospitals of Italy were raising the alarm. Still, our government was slow to react, even having a worrying cavalier attitude, summarised as "things just happen - what the hell". My family didn't panic buy, we gradually built up our stocks, which we now top up with necessities on a week/10 day basis.
* As seen on TV, people panic-bought items that were immediately linked to flu, namely loo roll, paracetamol, anti bac and soap/sanitiser. When they realised the implications, people bought stuff up as if it was Xmas, stock piling and leaving shops absolutely gutted. The elderly/frail and the key workers soon found that they could not find themselves essential goods. Now supermarkets are monitoring the situation; the elderly/frail are in at a certain time and priority shopping is reserved for NHS staff. Some stores have erected shielding for the cashiers, some have marked out 2 metre floor space. Many are paying by PDQ machine or not wanting their penny change.
* Pre stage 1 (because folks, I believe there will be a very much more astringent lockdown due sometime in the next week/ten days), people were advised of the new two metre 'social distancing' rule, wash your hands, try not to copiously cough/sneeze over anyone and if you have a temperature and/or cough isolate for 7 days singularly/14 days if you live with people. We were advised not to go to pubs, clubs, restaurants etc., then when it was clear that people didn't give a crap, they closed down all 3rd Place areas and schools, colleges and unis.
* People STILL didn't get it - I will presume that people have seen the numbers in parks, on the tube etc, - the latter was a problem because some idiot in their divine judgment thought that cutting tubes would force people to stay at home. Not so - key workers still had to get to places, so even more people (and therefore higher risks of infection) were crammed on the tubes and buses. An informal lockdown took place about 8 days ago. People STILL milled about too close together and even hosted Covid19 parties, only to find some have since been hospitalised. Most of it comes down to whether people feel they are ok or not - they believe that if they feel ok, then they clearly haven't got it and they are therefore ok to be outside. The thing that is the problem with this bug is that you can be asymptomatic and therefore be a super spreader without realising it.
* Down here in sunny Cornwall, we have been freaked out by the fact that a lot of caravanners and second home owners have treated this as an 'early holiday' and decided to flood remote, low-case sea resorts with their potential out-of-county-bugs. They are surprised to find all of the camping and chalet/lodge venues closed - some have tried to break into caravan parks, so tractors have had to fill gaps. Some then decided to park in residential areas. A lot were very surprised to find that all of the pubs/cafe/restaurants and nick knack shops shut and that even the ability to sun themselves on the beaches has been severely curtailed. This is the reason for my passionate plea a few days ago. People just don't get it, even now.
* Non-essential workers who can work from home can do so, the rest in some form have been furloughed in one form or another. Key workers obviously are the medics and other NHS staff, retail assistant and shelf fillers in supermarkets, emergency services, builder of municipal areas and gas/plumbing/highways and electric engineers, to name but a few. A lot of noise was made in regards to the government not addressing the needs of the self-employed and temp agency staff - this is now being addressed. Some business have been absolute arseholes over this, notably JD Sports and most definitely Wetherspoons who have had to backtrack, but also seemingly refusing to pay suppliers, too. A Wetherspoons pub has since been vandalised - quite unsurpisingly, there is not a lot of sympathy for this money-grabbing chain.
*As of yesterday, 76 deaths have been recorded linked directly to C-19. In a small county like Cornwall, this has already affected people; one has been the grandfather of my youngest son's mate, another the mum of a friend of a friend. There is a recorded case of one in the next village, several in our nearest town. Just like I was prior to the campsite shop closing, the supermarkets are anti bac'ing like fiends to try to control this.
* The UK stats are as of yesterday
*** 22,000+ known infections- this means they have had to go to hospital to get the test as they were that ill.
*** 1,400+ known deaths - this does not count any in elderly care homes or indeed their own home.
*** currently averaging at 180 per day, but this is a figure that lacks critical data, as the government revealed that there is some 'lag' in numbers and details. Plus, you cannot trace and track if you don't have the tests available at drive in centres or off the shelf for home use.
* We are about a fortnight behind Italy and Spain. The footage from this area has been horrific and I feel like we are watching a slow tsunami with our feet glued to the floor.
* Allegedly, there are two strains of Covid19 though none of the governments or news agencies have questioned this in public - if there are indeed two strains, then this might account for the difference that people are experiencing. There are some with mild symptoms, others that range from being extremely ill at home, or indeed fighting for their lives in hospital. It was warned that the old and feeble will be worst hit, but I think is not just about pre-existing health problems, it might just be about which strain you have got and how adept you are at fighting it off.
* Frontline NHS staff STILL don't have adequate protection - it is only now that front-line testing has been made available to them. Vaccines, we are told, are probably 6-12 months away and the tests provided will possibly show two things 1) if you currently have the virus and 2) if you have had the antibodies.
* Unnerving Info - if you have gone from critical care into the ICU your odds are 50%. If you have been admitted to hospital, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to see your loved one. Even worse if it is your child - when your kid needs you the most, you may have to let them go with strangers to a hospital and may not be able to be with them, especially if you are a single parent and/ or have other kids at home.
* The government have asked that retired NHS staff from three years ago and less to rejoin the system - like a 'Dads Army' of volunteers. Although some former staff have been reluctant (a lot of them fall into the category of pensioner etc and therefore vulnerable), several thousand have applied to rejoin. Also volunteer community people have formed hubs to get provisions for those who have to self-isolate for health and age reasons, before the government endorsed the idea - this has been met with a Dunkirk spirit attitude that makes me quite proud to be British.
* Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Secretary of State and Social Care Matt Hancock, Chief Political Advisor (and asshole) Dominic Cummings, Prince Charles have had it - apparently Bojo is still running the country, no sign of MH or DC so not sure how they are fairing. Chief Medical Officer and Government advisor Professor Whitty is self-isolating due to symptoms that he hasn't been tested for as yet. Prince C has come out of isolation; author/poet Michael Rose is in intensive care.
* The worry for some is that as the weather gets warmer, many people will get antsy from the lockdown. Indeed people will suffer from over exposure to the news of the current public health problem, then this will be the point when the numbers will rise and spike. Nothing quite so contagious as bored people who haven't either haven't developed symptoms and are ripe to be infected, mingling with the asymptomatic, who suddenly break free of their environment and become super spreaders to others.
Hubby and I have taken this quite seriously. When one of us has become infected with bug/flu symptoms in the past (I was at college and uni for five years, I never had so many heavy colds and fresher's flu symptoms), we have topped and tailed in bed (no metaphors here); basically sleeping opposite ends, each facing out of the bed. Everytime we passed each other in our small kitchen, we covered our faces and would pat rather than hug each other - lo and behold, the other one didn't get the bug. We are lucky to be living in a large cottage that means we can all have separate bedrooms, living rooms if needed - right now we are on separate settees in a large front room. It is an odd existance, but unfortunately, because we have to go out into the environment, we are back at day 0. We know that social-distancing doesn't apply to the people you are with, we also know that if you go into an area where bugs could be prevalent such as supermarkets, you could pick up an infection as quick as a finger click and give it to members of your family, some of whom might not be able to fight C-19.
People really DID think that if we stayed in for a mere fortnight, then things would go back to normal. Anybody with half a brain cell would realise that it can never go back to being the normal we once knew. There is a high chance that we will be enforced lockdown for three months. There is also a high chance that we will be in some form of lockdown for the next 6+ months, while they test the situation in stages. There is also a high chance that C-19 will come back round in the winter. The financial market has taken hit after hit, the economy decidedly shaky - banks are getting twitchy We have been physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, economically and spiritually been dropped on our collective asses.
Right now, we have to sit and wait to see what transpires.
EDIT::: Today has seen figures rise from 180 average to double this - 387 today and rising