Saturday, 28 March 2020

Ongoing isolation commentary.

As the weathermen predicted, the cloud has moved in, the wind has arrived and the temperatures have gone down. Maybe this will prevent people going out and having barbecues in moorland beauty spots and starting accidental fires, as happened on a hilltop near Bolton the other day.

It’s a shame to see the back of the sunshine though, as it has brightened everyone’s mood.

Advice to us ordinary folk comes from curious sources, such as this from the Ocado delivery service boss about hoarding food:

“Stuart Rose, the former Marks & Spencer boss who now chairs Ocado, has urged Britons to stop stockpiling groceries, saying “nobody will starve” during the coronavirus outbreak. Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, Rose said: “There is no shortage of food. Nobody will starve. There is a £1bn more food in people’s larders than there was a couple of weeks ago. What are they doing with it? How much do you need to eat? How much do you need to store away?
Rose, who has just recovered from coronavirus, channelled his inner chef as he urged people to plan their meals and show some frugality. “If you buy a chicken, roast the chicken, have the roast chicken dinner, the following day turn it into a stir fry, the following day make it into soup,” he said. “We live in a very profligate society: we buy too much, we eat too much, we consume too much, and we have to learn new ways.””

I thought that’s what you automatically did with a roast chicken but it must just be the way I was brought up.

As well as suggesting strange quack cures for the virus, it seems that YouTube bloggers are also sharing theories that China created the virus as a bio-weapon to attack the US economy and comments are being spread online about the 5G network being able to control the oxygen supply of coronavirus patients. Oh, boy!

They are going to convert the conference centre in what used to be Manchester’s Central Station into a ‘Nightingale’ hospital for coronavirus patients. It’s a huge floor space, probably ideal for such a use, especially as it’s not being used for anything else at the moment.

“It is understood Manchester’s version of the Nightingale hospital already announced for London’s ExCel centre is likely to be up and running within a week - but will take between 750 and 1,000 patients, compared to the ExCel’s 4,000.
That does not mean the city region’s hospital system is expected to require that many additional beds by this time next week, however, as the centre is anticipated to function as a field hospital for the entirety of the north west.”

It seems that our prime minister might have been telling porky pies about not receiving information about the european joint procurement of ventilators. “On Thursday, a UK government spokesman blamed the situation on a misunderstanding with Brussels, saying that Britain “did not receive an invitation in time to join in”. But Brussels rubbished that claim on Friday, saying the plans — which were publicly announced weeks ago — had been clearly set out to Britain avnd other governments.”

I suppose all this might have been avoided if we had not left the EU.

A friend of mine has suggested that Mr J might also be making up the story that he has contracted the virus, presumably to make us feel sorry for him. He didn’t cough once while making his announcement that he had a persistent cough, she maintained. Maybe he should have asked Theresa May about the persist coughing. My friend is not alone in this belief. Maybe this is the latest version of hiding in a fridge, but deep down I don’t think even he would make this up.

Professor Neil Ferguson, the scientist whose research at London’s Imperial College led to the government’s dramatic pivot in its handling of the outbreak, is not at all surprised at Mr Johnson’s state of health. He pointed out that in the early stages, when we were all being advised to touch elbows, the prime minister had declared that he was still shaking hands with loads of people, including some coronavirus victims. (I remember that!) Then there were those press conferences where they all stood too close together and initially the press were all seated far too close to each other. Westminster was a hotspot for the virus! It’s a wonder they don’t all have it; maybe they do! Professor Ferguson has also had symptoms and has been self-isolating.

I rather get the impression that nobody quite believed quite what was happening. And here is an article about how the USA messed up.

In an article about how different countries are coping with isolation, I read that in Spain, where so many people live in blocks of flats, roof terraces and communal staircases have become running tracks. Surely this is a perfect way to share the germs from one family to another! But somehow this seems such a Spanish reaction to things, akin to having babyseats in cars but not strapping the children into them, something I have seen on more than one occasion. Of course, running in the communal staircase area avoids the problem of the police stopping you and slapping on a fine. My Spanish sister tells me thatcher son-in-law runs round and round his flat, which must be pleasant for my niece and her relatively new baby!

It’s another reason for feeling fortunate to live on the edge of town here with open countryside more or less on our doorstep. This is especially so when I read accounts like this one from an inner city head teacher stressing about her pupils.

Meanwhile, that couple is back in the news:-

 “The Duchess of Sussex is to narrate a Disney film which documents the journey of a family of elephants across the Kalahari desert in southern Africa, which will launch three days after she and Prince Harry “step back” from being senior royals. Meghan will voice the Disneynature documentary Elephant, which will be available on Disney+ from 3 April, and is her first major acting role since becoming a royal. A trailer explains that the film will follow “one family’s extraordinary 1,000-mile journey across Africa on an adventure that will change their lives”.

That was fairly predictable but at least it will give those who have access to Disney+ something to look forward to!

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