Day 2: Monday March 16th
Following yesterday’s traumatic start, I was hoping for a quieter day today. I guess that was hopelessly optimistic. As the media hype ramps up and the government cannot or will not do anything that is in anyway reassuring, we find ourselves being consumed by this issue,
According to my sleep tracker, I got under two hours sleep last night, mainly because my mind was racing over this bloody virus and what was going to happen to us. I must say that I am less concerned about my own position which will be what it will be; but my wife is getting really anxious. This anxiety is probably more infectious than the virus.
I find that I am keen to see the next day’s figures which are due to be released around 14.00 to see if my expectations are going to be met. A macabre exercise at best.
Anyway, sitting in bed this morning, listening to the World Service, I heard an elderly guy in Scotland explaining in no uncertain terms that he had no-one, no technology, no social contact apart from his regular trips to the corner shop for provisions. He was damned if he was going to give that up for anybody. The way he saw it, if he didn’t get out, he would die at home, hungry. So, unless the authorities were prepared to put a police car outside his home and arrest him or shoot him, he would be carrying on regardless. That was both disturbing and uplifting.
Then I drifted into The Guardian article on a leaked government report which set out some government expectations . Not worst-case predictions as later claimed but expectations. This paper expected up to 80% of the UK population to get the virus and for up to 8 million patients to end up in intensive care over the duration of this epidemic. This is coincidentally the number of people aged 70 and over in the UK.
Not a good start to my day,
A Plethora of Experts
I decided that I’d take the advice offered by some professor of something or other from somewhere, that I’d picked up on my headphones overnight, and to plan to go for a walk outside in the fresh air. The sun was shining, I’d had coffee and croissants, so we ventured forth along the canal towpath.
This was great. We met hardly anyone, and those we did meet gave us as much of a wide berth as we wished to give them. Satisfactory all round really. Came back knackered after quite a short walk, but it was good. Nothing to do now until the results came in!
After lunch at around 2.30 I started to look at the NHS site for the previous day’s figures. As usual, they were slow coming in. The numbers for testing and confirmed cases came up but it was silent on the number of deaths.
I watched a lot of virus-related stuff in the afternoon and waited for the big Circus show due at 4.45.
Let the Show begin
Sure enough, up came the big Blatherskite himself. He barrelled in, flanked by his two “experts”. The Three Stooges sprung to mind.
Johnson did his usual blather, bluster, piffle, waffle thing, and managed to speak in generalities for a good few minutes about taking the fight to the virus, defeating the evil foe, Britain leading the way against all odds, Britain leading the world in this and that, and the whole world simply standing back in open-mouthed admiration of his own personal super powers.
It was a tad short on actual detail, but you get the drift.
His “experts then took it in turns to add degrees of extra bafflement to the proceedings by filling in some of the gaps that Johnson had carefully left unsaid. Others were left unfilled with questioners being told that this was not an appropriate place to discuss them but to go and look on the website. Both “Scientists” agreed on one thing though. It was about to get one hell of a lot worse.
Then the PM summed-up in his own inimitable style and the bemused gathering was left aware that they must have heard something really significant but not really having much of a clue about what it actually was.
What are they hiding in there?
The day’s numbers looked pretty bleak (See below) but not at all surprising.
I was left wondering what figures the experts had been looking at and discussing because the published numbers still do not justify taking these actions at this particular moment any more than they did a few days ago. So, what do they know that they are not sharing?
Cumulative figures published Monday 16th March 2020.
Tested Positive Deaths
15/3 44105 1543 53
14/3 40279 1372 35
Difference 3826 232 18
Not exactly the Age of Enlightenment!
The question session that followed did not do much to improve our understanding, but I guess it wasn’t actually intended to do so. It was a bit like PMQ’s with carefully selected questions being politely asked and evaded. The air was thick with “Working flat out” , “24 hours a day”, “Leading the world”, “Doing everything we can”, “Flattening the peak”, “Urging everyone to take steps”, in fact everything that didn’t involve any actual details of any plan, any hint of coherent action, any sense of leadership, or anyone noticing the Fucking Great Elephant in the room with GET A GRIP written on its flanks in huge letters.
What a dismal show.
Oh well I expect that tomorrow’s numbers will really be very, very, much worse!