All Measures Necessary – Where They a Success?
There has been few events in history that one can point to and say, ‘they changed the world’. ‘Change’ in this case, meaning profound or even philosophical. There were many, after which the world did change, but over a very long period, like the onset of power, steam, electricity etc., even a world war or an atomic bomb. Not the conquest of space either, some trips to the moon, or even the Hubble telescope. The development of satellite technology is a downstream development that does compare. Its ramifications were not immediate in that sense, but were sudden, and have been profound. It could be said that first to benefit was the military.
Even the mysterious ‘1918 Flu’, with its number of victims estimated to have been in excess of 50 million, failed to ‘change the world’.
The forces that have been unleashed in reaction to Covid-19 will represent a profound turning point in the history of civilisation.
Although, remaining a totally morbid and depressing diary of events & observations, these continue to prove surreally fascinating. I am compelled to follow them, even if only at a reduced pace, and to see where they takes us.
NOTE – For pre April 13 entries see ‘All Measure Necessary’ – Part III.
April 13. The situation in Russia continues to deteriorate. There are a number of resurgence of the disease in parts of China. These are proving to be manageable. There are Zenophobic attacks on black people in parts of China – blamed for the return of the disease.
South Korea is almost back to normal. Despite severity of initial outbreak, there were no lock-downs. The disease was kept under control by stringent testing and tracing. Press interview with South Korea’s Prime Minister reveals that they have completed contracts with a number of countries to supply testing equipment.
Boris seems to be having his road to Damascus – height of praise for NHS & staff. Any deal with Trump is threatened. Spain is semi lifting lockdown – France is increasing lockdown.
Lockdown to continue in UK – for foreseeable future.
Over 20,000 deaths in New York!
It will not have escaped political an history anoraks that the East would seem to be managing the crisis much more efficiently than the West. What goes around, comes around – maybe?
April 14. A beautiful sunny day. Cycled beyond my prescribed boundary limit and visited the sea – Dun Laoghaire. My whole life has been associated with the sea, and I can’t stay away from it. Police were stopping traffic and bicycles, a little swerve got me around the obstacle. Popular bathing places were sealed off with steel fencing. Had coffee from my flask and watched the sun shine on the sea.
It seems every day is a Sunday now – so quiet. Sunday was always very quiet when we were children. This feels different though; it’s an enforced quietness, and one can’t escape the feeling of abnormality.
The figures are proving contentious today – i.e. the recording and publication of them. Nursing home figures have been delayed and are now published separately in a most convoluted way by the NSO. These indicate that the death toll from Covid-19 should be an additional 15%. An expert interviewd by Adam Bolton, suggested that the annual death toll of 250,000 could be about 8 times higher.
It has also been suggested by clinical experts that if a vaccine is produced, those in the ‘front line’ should get it first. Might be a tough decision, with a real possibility of causing anger. It made me think of the cocooning in Ireland of the over 70’s – not to go out at all. It was presumed that this was for the benefit of the elderly, but it would of course also free up ventilators, the aged probably having a higher demand for them. Plus, they are out of the way – they don’t need care and wont’ use up resources.
Then I thought about the nursing homes. No one bothered really. They have always suffered from light touch regulation. Short of all manner of PPE, and deaths remain unpublished. And now, the old might be the last to get vaccinated. Once again, one has to observe that, it’s the weakest in society that suffer most, and in the European case, it resembles genocide.
Could there be a class action if negligence could be proved? Will the justice system ever be the same again.
April 15. Checked the Class action – yes, a number of organisations are considering suing authorities for losses and deaths due to negligence.
Some Irish who partied on the slopes are also joining class actions.
The nursing and care home row rumbles on with pinches of the essential ingredients; who done or didn’t do what, and getting the ‘long answer’. The Skype question & answer sessions are working a treat for officials and politicians. Button pressed, journalist asks question, politician does a twirl, and crosses the questioner’s name off the list – next! So called journalist belittle themselves by participation in charades.
Summoning up their most evasive vocabulary, so well tutored in the PR colleges at tax- payer’s expense, officials and politicians are still suggesting that ‘test, test, test,’ would not have made any difference for the residents of care and nursing homes. A cheek, you might suggest, at this stage, but a lot more of obfuscate answers are to be expected. The reasons being, an eye must be kept to maintaining public order and – the class actions for negligence that are beginning to mount.
The situation with nursing homes was so simple. You end visits and test everyone. If staff must leave, they should shower and change before leaving. On return, they should shower and change before getting into their PPE. They should also be tested. If testing is not available, the other available procedures should be very strictly enforced. If there is no testing or PPE available, one is left with only hygiene procedures, and the risk of infection can still be reduced if strictly adhered to. So they told me when they told me not to come out.
Even in Scandinavian countries, like Sweden now, they are worried about the number of deaths being discovered in homes outside of the hospital setting. It is clear nursing homes and cocooning of over 70’s was a choice for a regime of ‘lesser care’, they’ll have to wait. Keep them off the battlefield.
April 16. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has apologised to Italy for the Commission’s slow response to that country’s early suffering during the pandemic. It was an unequivocal apology that has gone down well with most European countries, and was welcomed by Italy as a recognition of the truth. The speech might be interpreted as prelude to the easing of the ways, greasing the wheels, for financial aid, which might otherwise have got mired in European regulations, as aid to member States often tends to do.
Apology being in the air, the relieved Captain Brett Crozier of the USN aircraft carrier Roosevelet may get his job back, after an investigation into his conduct and then the resignation of the investigator. Seen as a witch hunt, and PR exercise on behalf of President Donald Trump, the captain’s position is being reviewed. In the meantime the huge ship is being sanitised from top to bottom after hundreds of infections were detected, a number in intensive care. It is regrettable that some of the screen-bite media do not see fit to report beyond images and film of large ships and tents.
Not to be outdone, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaule is also in quarantine with a a number of confirmed cases and undergoing a sanitising procedure of the whole ship.
These naval cleansing operations are a class example of how nursing homes across Europe might have saved elderly people if similar measures had been put in place. Instead of mental cocooning. There again the military is the military, someone has to save the country from foreign invaders.
It was announced at the TQ&AV, (Two Questions & Answers by Video. I have added ‘V’, as it represents video or virtual very nicely) session today that, lockdown in the UK will continue for another 3 weeks, at least. The customary aspirations for higher testing figures were trotted out. Figures released show 869 died today, and the true figure not available, as the shell under which the remainder of the data lies, remains elusive. The available figures from nursing homes are becoming an embarrassment, mostly to news audiences. Some journalists also seem to have a problem choosing their two questions!
In my own country, Ireland, the figures for nursing and care homes is equally embarrassing. Some of the medical profession stating that, the situation should be declared a National Emergency, with a declaration of eleven deaths in two weeks at St Mary’s, Phoenix Park Dublin. Minister of Health Simon Harris has responded with the announcement that, testing, including non symptomatic residents will commence. I wonder why does it take so long to get the basics up and running?
The grim reaper is taking a second look around Eastern Europe and the Baltics, where it is suspected that figures there too, are being massaged. Nevertheless, fear is tangible now, and brave talk of scheduling football matches is scarce.
April 16. My level of frustration ebbs and flows. As soon as I hear or see news broadcasts, my mind shoots off into the Valley of Death. Announcements, daily, reminds us of all the do’s and don’ts for the over 70’s, the cocooners – ‘stay in and we’ll get to you’. Or, ring this Help-Line number. Well, just like the nursing home victims, I’m still waiting – three weeks, or is it four, now?
In order to reduce the spread of the virus they tell us, we must cocoon, you and everyone over 70 must stay in. In order to reduce the spread of the virus, we are releasing prisoners – early. In order to pick fruit, we are hiring 1500 non nationals. They will have a certificate from a foreign doctor to say they are not sick, but we will not be testing. Is the world gone mad – or what’s going on?
April 19 (Easing off – I am.) Rows over PP equipment continue. Death tolls, although declining everywhere are still depressingly high. My feelings towards the deaths that have been unnecessarily caused in nursing homes throughout our societies is a disgraceful indictment of our attitude to the best of us. We did it simply because we could.
Brazil’s Bolsonaro has fallen out with his chief medical staff and fired them. I wonder how he might feel if like Boris, he ever comes to need them to save his life?
It was pretty frightening viewing; armed protestors turning up in some states of America attempting to force the State authorities to lift their lockdown. President Trump encouraged such protests, and one can easily see now how things might get out of control. I am tempted to admit, that he is the wrong man, in the wrong job, at the wrong time.
April 21. President Trump has signed an executive order preventing all immigration. Don’t know where that’s going, or whether or not it is something to do with the price of oil being in give-away territory.
More worrying now is the revelation of who or what ‘the science’ is. ‘The science’ is ‘SAGE’ and SAGE advises the government during the Covid crisis. What is not clear is, who SAGE are. It is the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and was set up to advise the British government in emergencies. Apart from Britain’s chief scientific and medical officers – usually, the panel remains secret and apparently ad hoc, depending on the crisis. Today it could be full of generals, tomorrow it could be astronomers. There is a similar advisory group working in Scotland at this time, but the names of its panel are in the public domain. Ireland’s equivalent is, Nphet, with a number of supporting committees equally opaque. It also seems that there is another similar sounding group advising the WHO. I am afraid the ways of Admiral Hall (Part II of ‘All Measures Necessary’) never left us. One time head of British Intelligence, he didn’t trust civilians!
It is all very well to retort that such a panel must remain secret for security reasons, but when some of the advice and consequences of that advice is suspect and even regretful, then questions need to be asked and transparency required. It’s a well worn and almost a throwaway phrase now, but trust remains and essential element for social order. Just like a country can be policed without firearms because citizens essentially trust its police service, so too is the opposite true when trust is lost.
A more suspicious view might be; SAGE although backroom, is actually a front man for politicians. When the dirty stuff hits the fan, then ‘the science’ got it wrong. ‘No reason not to vote for us again.’ And the ‘the science’ don’t lose their reputations, because we don’t know who they are. Its really a win win for the other side.
On a note of admiration, scientists at Oxford are working hard trying to develop a vaccine, and having some very promising results. The length of time it is estimated to produce the vaccine in large quantities, if successful, is sobering, but their frankness is very welcome. Deaths are still in the mid hundreds almost everywhere, except in small populations, and in Germany and Austria.
April 22. It’s seems firmer now, out of the bag yesterday; developing the vaccine is going to take a long time. The curve is flattened but we must prevent its rise again. How can we let you out? It is the most important question for politicians now, as they bandy the permutations back and forth in their virtual world of OQ&AV (One Question & Answer by Video.) for the MPs in Westminster and TQ&AV in briefings for journalists. The negligence in the nursing homes is producing a very high rate of mortality but is slipping in the interest rates. The PPE is on its way and test capacity is up. Actual testing, well its just a little behind the curve.
The new question, who is to be let out, and how should they behave, is out of the gate. Motor cars will obviously be first to a get a clean bill of health, and I suspect aeroplanes will follow close up their tail pipe, and then you only have to ask. What would escapees like to spend their money on?
As feared, they are going to go for holding on to emergency powers and a longer view of control – ‘social-distancing’ I should say. Its going to be the Orwell nag past the post first. The earth is already threatened by man and its citizens are next. Citizens will have to make important choices.
April 25. Figures remain high in the UK, albeit the curve has flattened and all the signs show decreases. A new resolve for, test, ‘test, test,’ and PPE has been announced. Despite having slim stocks for supply, the situation is holding up in the most part. A number of countries have announced unlock-down procedures of varying designs.
Donald Trump has suggested that the ingestion or injection of bleach might clean out the lungs. Everyone else has rushed to warn the public of the obvious repercussions. Donald also seems to think it is worth try the anti malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine – ‘what have you got loose’? The medical profession had to rush out front and condemn this too.
More cats have contracted Coronavirus, and despite the customary phrase, ‘not being a threat to humans’, there are no signs yet of it ‘crossing back again’. Nevertheless, caution is now being urged.
Film of self distancing footballers training at their clubs this morning was commendable. I wonder how they made that ‘essential journey’? It seems some things in this life, Belgium chocolate, and football – are exceptions to rules.
Vast sums of money are being bandied about by business and governments. Schemes in which helicopter-money will be dropped into accounts. The hope is that the parachute will be non returnable. The idea that economic journalist David McWilliams suggested, of just adding a zero to accounts, sounds simple, and it is, but I’m afraid it is not what bankers like to do. Remember the guy who helped himself to the third decimal place – hardly anyone noticed. Someone has to make a few bob in between and someone really should pay the bill – any bill.
Coming out of the lock-down, the crisis, spreading the relief money around and maintaining some of the security measures that would have been almost impossible to introduce any other time, are topics firmly planted on the top table. We’re all in this together – at least we were when the chips were down. Now that they are getting dished out, I think you should be prepared to your bit. Pay up and look happy!
The announcement that a number of European car manufacturers and airlines owned or part owned by European States( These are the same type of State industries that Ireland was advised by the Commission to sell, in order improve ‘competition’!) has raised eyebrows and temperatures. Billions are to be loaned or granted and the likes of Ryanair are quite rightly, in this case, crying ‘foul'; ‘we want a level playing field. It will be played out – and old Joe the taxpayer, will no doubt get the usual bill.
Another associate member of the SAGE team has been discovered. An almost Rasputin like figure, Dominic Cummings, a key advisor to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is supposedly ‘sitting-in’ on the SAGE meetings – virtually. Apparently not qualified, nor intended that the prime minister’s advisor, already a controversial figure for a number of reasons, is bucking norms by attending these high level and very secret meetings. I wonder who else is in the nest?
April 26. Finally some additional statistics are being eased into the public domain, that are suggesting deaths, already announced at over 20,000 in the UK ,are likely to be double. Unfortunately anyone who has observed how Government PR statements and data is disseminated, will be aware of the ‘at least double it’ multiplier that should attache to first announcements, in the case of bad news. It is a health warning, if you will, that should be attached to statistical analysis and management by most governments.
The Times reported today, the letter of resignation by Marcus De Brun, who resigned from the Irish Medical Council over the treatment by the Health Service of nursing home patients suffering from Covid-19. Refused testing in the early stages, a number of patients in a north Dublin nursing died from Covid-19. He accused the authorities of ‘treating the most vunerable in Irish Society as an inconvenient afterthought.’
President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro is catching the Donald Trump virus – he’s losing staff. Bolsonaro has lost is minister for justice after he fired the police chief. It’s one to watch.
Apparently there are no prizes for predicting human behaviour, or for how soon some ‘essential services’ will get out of the traps. The heavy polluters were first off, with a number of European car manufacturers returning to production. Their tail-pipe closely followed by the announcement by the low-cost airline, Wizz Air, that it is to resume services from Luton. The British Government are ordering citizens not to fly, and Wizz Air insist, they can fly you safely. Is this a case of mixed messaging – I wonder how that’s going to an out?
My wife has got her cocooning membership today, after her seventy year old friend Taurus said, she could register free, if she ‘got out and tried new activities’.
The available data records; three million infected and just over two hundred thousand dead from Covid-19. The data for deaths is so unreliable now, that it is difficult to have any confidence in methods of recording, which have been deliberately kept so unaligned, that overall figures cannot be computated with any confidence, but the real figures for victims must be many times the official or media totals.
The various and even contrary approaches being taken to that so difficult-to-master testing around the world is utterly baffling. Similarly, a mask yesterday was useless, wearing one today is compulsory.
April 28. The illustration in the Irish Times today, regarding the timing of the unlock-down, says it all. Its going to be soon for some. I fear for cocooners.
The weather has not broken yet, another beautiful day. The wife and myself went for a walk and lunch with the aid of our retractable 2 K reel for humans. Lunch consisted of two take-away cappuccinos and sausage rolls, which were devoured sitting on a low wall in a car park. Traffic seems to be on the up, and one can sense a readying up for a getaway weekend.
The medical passport is now being mooted – for humans. A topic already covered here, with easy examples that politicians can follow. These are lead by the world of pet animals and their travel passports. And there’s even opportunity for revenue, annual fees and taxes!
Scottish leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has broken first and advised that masks should be worn. Upsetting Mr Bulldog and Mrs Stiff Upper-lip, who will likely follow with the same intention, but in disguise. The masks refused to Irish policemen will probably follow quickly too, especially after they had already been told that ‘the science’ didn’t warrant it, which was followed by a request for the advice in writing. What the difference between security personnel in camouflage, soldiers with masks, and policemen, is not clear. The £60,000 announced for the relatives of deceased NHS staff who have died from Covid-19, might be a pointer as to financial propriety going forward.
The fake news disseminated by Russia and China during the pandemic has been investigated by Brussels and its report has been labelled fake. That is, it has been altered in the face of Chinese objections – but the Russian bits still remain. The fake bits reported on news outlets were the ‘cures’ referred to by Russian Fakers – the application and consumption of booze. (I guess that could mean me too.) And in the case of China – unreliable and false reporting.
Meanwhile, the new media game recently launched by officials, Hide the Data, will be released as an App shortly. All the figures are now beginning to look good, with the exception of those that commentators seem to have more knowledge of – nursing homes. Everyone can take a guess how many died, and how many more are going to die. Bookies might even begin to take odds on figures – we bet on everything else. We must be nearly at the 60% herd rate by now, and might well be able to manage the rate of dying quite well from here on.
Michael O’Leary is not having any of this ‘empty seat in the middle business’, someone has got to pay for it. He might be able to charge an additional fee on those travelling after the plane arrives. If you test negative your credit card could be debited for the virus-free trip!
April 29. It’s going to be a good news day. Schools restaurants and a variety of small business are reopening across Europe. On the other hand, should we ignore the announcement by British Airways threatening the loss of 12,000 jobs?
The unlock-down will continue if that multiplier ‘R’ can be kept down. Can’t be so hard to manage one little piece of data?
The stories of volunteers and seemingly insignificant workers in insignificant jobs like clearing rubbish, packing shelves and putting on a smile at the cash desk, has cheered me up again.
The weather has finally broken and it is raining now. A water shortage has developed due to the lack of rain for several months now, and I wonder if we had a real downpour, would it ‘wash away’ the virus? I’m sure ‘the science’ would not agree, but science fiction has done so in the past.
It seems a ‘recommendation’ to wear masks is almost everywhere now. ‘Compulsory’ almost everywhere else. It seems like the most intelligent medical personnel in the world cannot decide whether a mask should be worn in public but an elected public official can. One must ask if there is any need for the former. Joe public knows without asking anybody.
It was to be a good news day! Nursing home figures just released are disgusting, and a terrible reflection on society in general, with a death rate of 18% in Ireland, or, if you like, almost half the total number of deaths in the State from the virus.
As the the number of deaths, from mainly nursing homes, 3,812, are added to UK figures today, the death toll has exceeded 26,000, and is the second highest in Europe. Once again the figures in both countries are not believed to reflect the actual amount of people who have died from Covid-19 in care, or in the wider population for that matter. I fear the enormity of the negligence that has been committed will fail to pierce the fog of hand clapping and how do you chants, sponsored by the taxpayer and broadcasted ad infinitum.
A close relative rang his GP today to describe his fluey symptoms, and was told he couldn’t be tested, as evidence of a sore throat was absent. Moreover, he could not be tested as he was not ‘front- line’. ‘If it gets worse go to A&E.’
This relative has been working from home since go, and has saved the State and its citizens the risk of contracting and spreading the disease. It seems that it is all right to spread the disease to your family and friends, and ‘we’ll get to you’ – later. If the symptoms are of Covid-19, how many might my relative infect in the meantime?
There was a slogan and song from the 60’s that expressed the horror then, that I feel today; ’Hey Hey LBJ how many kids did you kill today.’ A reflection on President Johnson’s handling of another war – Vietnam.
The best of our generation did not have to die this way. But hey, we must be a lot nearer to that 60% now.
May 1. There are a number of countries today that are already totally out of lock-down, preparing for such, and some with no intention of introducing one. South Korea a commendable example. Britain and Ireland have flattened the curve, passed the peak, reduced the ‘R’ figure, the numbers of deaths and infections continue to fall, and all thanks to us in Phase 1, or was it Phase zero. Anyhow, it has been announced that we have entered Phase 2, but, wait for it – there’s no change. Forget the promises, don’t go outside that door, the police force are out on the roads and in the skies looking for ‘jumpers’. Why have phases at all?
Masks; well the authorities just don’t like to talk about those, or commit to a recommendation. When Donald Trump said you could make your own, he wasn’t wearing one, and still is not, he was called a mad-man. The 60% herd figure must be almost upon us, managing our dying and dead should be within capability quite soon. Maybe in Phase 3! Is the most bitter medicine always the best?
May 2. The unlock-down plan was announced. A number of phases will follow – letting up restrictions as time goes on and figures continue to behave. Over 70’s will be allowed out for light exercise. The rest, perimeter of travel now extended to 5 K for May 5. Everything else remains as is until May 18.
The official Test & PPE rapport has become tiresomely evasive and hardly warrants any further commentary.
The future, the financial future is coming under close scrutiny. The shakes are beginning. Ryan Air announced 3,000 to be let go or/and wages to be reduced. Rolls Royce has also announced cuts. There is a new dawning. Obviously there is going to be less money around. Less jobs, and jobs with lowered incomes. On the other hand, all kinds of travel will increase in cost, and a premium world will begin. That is to say, unless your job is protected and necessary in some respect, Joe citizen will not be able to live the lifestyle he has become accustomed to.
There is a short future in making masks – security services are not going to have it in the long term. It is going to feel like that ‘gap’, that apparent unfairness in society is going to become more pronounced. Despite no change in lockdown advice, the streets were feeling almost back to normal today, with lots of people and cars around. It was a great day – there was a palpable air of optimism.
May 3. It is a beautiful sunny day and lots of people are out this morning – early. We have been allowed out for light exercise but I was going to take a trip to sea – have to see the sea. Then I thought, the 2K is now 5K for everyone, and everyone will be there. I’ll drop it for later in the week. Or am I now beginning to suffer like many British citizens who don’t want to go out, at all.
The mask deniers have lost. Intuition has overcome the final deniers, and it is now good to wear a mask – next!!
Other questions are now being asked but despite Freedom of Information legislation, somethings are still not ‘free’.
It was announced that a new App will be introduced to do the contact tracing, and that everyone will have it – have to have it?
The new slogan;
‘Don’t clap, get the App’, will alert the public.
Reminding me of how the leader of Irish Labour party, Joan Burton, met her Waterloo at the hands of protesters, when she expressed amazement at how protesters were able to mobilise with the help of mobile phones, and that so many had them. The protestors chant, so simple, and doing so much damage to perception, was;
‘Where’s your phone Joan’.
This new App has the potential being creepy. Designed for purely medical use and detection of a dangerous virus, it could also be made to work like an electronic tag. These are the ones that are locked on early-release offenders, and when they stray outside their designated GPS boundary, an alarm goes off in some security firm and your copped. How about getting the message on your phone; ‘Mr Joe Citizen you have strayed outside your normal parameters of travel, can you contact your nearest controller immediately?’
Security of your data is proffered – some examples please?
May 5. It is officially the beginning of Phase 2 or is it Phase 0+1? The confusion of naming Phases; reminding me of the numbering of floors in some buildings, vis a vis, lifts. Basement, Ground, Floor 1, Floor 2….etc were grand. Then someone decided it was essential to be more accurate. The buttons were numbered 1 from the basement, and so on up. Further complication arose when brighter sparks began to label the Ground Floor, or even Lower Ground Flour as 1, and after the introduction of mezzanine, a floor squeezed in between floors where all the little people live, and then the unseen private floors labelled ‘staff only’ were added, just meant a longer ride in the lift trying to sort out which floor was yours.
Life can be as difficult as you make it.
Officially, and at almost 30,000, the UK is recording the highest number of deaths in Europe. Officials maintain that the validity of such comparisons is questionable.
A welcome development, with some reluctance and incompleteness, the names of SAGE has been released. It has also become apparent that some of the members of the sub committees who report to SAGE are eager to have it known, that they are not SAGE, but committees of experts who agree a recommendation which is made to SAGE. The umbrella committee of SAGE, then re parcels the data and presents it to government, where a political decision, ‘based on the science’, is then made. The new transparency will deny the oxygen to obfuscation.
It appears now that ‘the science’, SAGE, is subject to the same mortal weaknesses as the rest of us, after one of its chief advisors has had to resign over visits by a lover.
I must record that I am eternally grateful to national health services, both in my own country, and abroad. Generally speaking, the dedication demonstrated by their staff, and in lots of areas of policy, is highly commendable, and I am an ardent supporter. More is better, and I would love to see a national health ethos expanded across Europe and the wider world. Among many issues, it is a clear demonstration of concern for our species.
Figures are all down, down, down, except for the UK, where they remain high. Figures for infection and death are rising in Russia. Belarus, where football leagues continue, with albeit pitiful support, are also rising, with no conviction as to accuracy. The same is thought for some South American ‘so what’ countries, who still believe that the answer lies in alcohol.
Lots of people seem thrilled that an end appears to be in sight – including myself. It is unfortunate that the end might take a lot longer to come into view, due to the actions by some airlines like Aer Lingus, who have been operating some flights to capacity with no enforcement of social distancing. I get stopped going the down road on my bike and turned back, and planes can take off from Belfast Heathrow – full, with no testing either end.
We ain’t ALL in this together!
May 6. It appears the virus is mutating – this apparently means good news and bad news. How this translates is not clear. Confusion continues to upset people and talk of several hundred mutations, making it harder to discover a vaccine, does not help. The death toll in the UK has tipped 30,000 and there is a lot of anger. Fear still reigns though, and many actually fear a return to work.
Accounts of neglectful and unnecessary deaths are upsetting.
Having to continue struggling with a shortage of PPE is mind boggling.
The talk of weaning the unemployed off financial aid from government has begun. It won’t go well.
Businesses are piling on the pressure for a resumption of trade and the battle for good judgement is in full swing. Mr Neil Ferguson, the top government scientist and advisor, who made the judgement to resign after it was discovered that he broke the Covid-19 social distancing guidelines he helped to design, was considered by all to have mae the correct decision. His transgression was a visit by his lover. The excuse was that he already had had the virus and presumed to be immune. This was not accepted. The operators of the Aer Lingus flight packed with passengers in contravention of the same Covid-19 guidelines don’t seem to have received any reprimand – never mind news media sweeping the incident under the carpet.
The sauce, gooses & ganders all seem to have headed to Acapulco.
Football is returning in some countries, albeit crowdless for the moment. Things are looking up.
May 12. There has been a lapse in my daily observations. The truth is that constant reflection on bad times is depressing. One needs a break and visits to the sea once more has lifted the cloud. As we are entering a new phase on the road that is expected to return us to normality, there seems little point in constantly recording details that will be well known. I use ‘phase’ in the ordinary sense, as the application of the term in regards to the stages of lockdown has become totally confusing and irrelevant. The application of that multiplier, the ‘R’ rate, the safe free-to-unlock parameters, seems a bit like the payouts from fruit machines – it varies from one country to another.
All European countries are in varying stages of unlock-down, with some regions varying considerably to others. Russia has announced unlock-down even as their rate of infection begins to rise dramatically. Eastern European countries are reducing border controls, and it is impossible to rely on statistics from some countries who continue with mass gathering such as football matches and military parades. There are worrying signs of an increase in the spread of the virus developing in countries such as South Africa and South America. Despite political leaders, the medical authorities in Brazil are struggling to contain the virus with cases of the ‘sniffles’ increasing.
It is clear that a new battle has begun, the one for financial recovery. The media just love the glam and help the hairdressers, nail-bars and fashion houses get out of the blocks. Food and drink, the hospitality industries open with reduced capacity to varying degrees all over the place. Some at 30% capacity with three metre distancing and many not all until July. The sight of navigators on public transport is less glamorous and unsettling.
Several countries have tentatively suggested a claw back from the furlow and wage substitute schemes. This will become the time when many employers will attempt to introduce lower wages, claiming inability to return to full payment, as there is not a full resumption of spend. Workers in some countries have complained that they haven’t received any payments.
The tears should be saved until the tax-hikes are announced – we are all in this together, and someone has to pay. I can guarantee that it won’t be those operating on the ‘183 rule’.
Oil has climbed out of the zero trenches and remains around $25 a barrel, roughly one third of its pre virus price – little change at the pumps though. Some airlines, such as Ryan Air have announced partial resumption of schedules, introducing disinfection and PPE procedures. In today’s announcement, there was still no comment about distancing or testing in any form. The two week self-quarantine suggested following cross-border flying, remains in confusion.
The issues that have arisen around the nursing and care home scandals are being subdued. It has become politically embarrassing and is a horrible testimony to the ageist attitudes of a modern society in the throes of rampant and uncontrollable capitalism. The dumping of a national duty to our best citizens and the light touch regulation of such a sensitive aspect of our very existence has proved to be criminally negligent. Those responsible for so many unnecessary deaths of helpless and vulnerable victims will have to be held to account. This is not to say, we should not applaud the wonderful staff who at risk to themselves, have supported the elderly in all aspects of society during this crisis – well done to them. However, we must return to a place where there is proper respect and accounting given to those who have paved the path on which we thread. A wheel around the monument on VE Day won’t do it. It will be you tomorrow!
The mask issue continues to be controversial in Britain with workers being told that it is not necessary in the work place, where one meets the same people all of the time? Don’t get it, never got it. There is still a shortage of PPE in nursing homes. Its almost as if the battle for herd immunity is still being waged, with officialdom deliberately slowing the distribution of PPE and testing, and the public doing their best to acquire them.
They don’t tend to wear them in the White House – and now a number of staff have tested positive with the virus. Poor old Mike Pence, his granite-like personality has taken a bit of hit from the virus, after he too became a victim after failing to ‘take all measures necessary’!
As the lock-down eases and news of individual cases has spread throughout the community, people seem less likely now not to take this deadly disease very seriously – including myself.
May 13. The regime of dumping patients into care homes was exposed on a special report by Sky last night. There is no easy way to put it, but one must put it simply on the record. The operation was purely one of dumping older patients into nursing homes to die. Promised to be tested beforehand, supported, PPE, and all of that ministerial waffle, they just died without their families. Just like a century ago – they just lay down and died.
Terrified of dying, some were refused release, and some were refused to be readmitted into hospital for life saving treatment. I wonder how much care home owners and pension fund investors received per victim?
We get it. Masks won’t prevent the spread of the virus. You really don’t need them. You wouldn’t be able to put them on. We get it. It’s ‘the science’ and we’re all in this together – for what comes after. The class actions are mounting up and the wigs are touting for happy days. There will be huge pay outs of public money. There will be enquiries. There will be finger pointing. New governments will be elected, but no one will be penalised. We will all go back to a new normal, one of the three not so wise monkeys.
May 16. A subtle difference in PR, by design or otherwise, has emerged. Travelling along the motorway I noticed the signs that normally hang over the lanes; ‘Lane Closed’, ‘Accident at Jctn. 12, were reading, ‘Were in this together’. I had to double take at the next one, and sure enough, the ‘All’ was missing. I could have sworn that the Covid-19 digital cheer-leader had previously read; ‘We are all in this together’. Then I began to notice that notices and adverts that were more or less ‘official’, or government sponsored, read similarly. And that the older home-grown version still announced that, indeed, ‘We are all in this together.’ It’s a subtle difference, with not so pleasant implications.
Everyone is apparently enjoying additional freedoms. The roads are busy and the motorists have rekindled their love affairs with horns. The quietness was nice but so many wanted it to end – and it has. The roads and verges around parks are packed with cars. Walking and cycling is suddenly de prioritised.
This new phase, whatever one it is, is too slow. If restaraunts can open in a week or two, then publicans are quite legitimately claiming the same treatment, as most of them sell food. Travel is to recommence under all kinds of guidelines, but no mention of the ‘middle seat’ or queuing and stripping at airports. Teachers in the UK don’t want to return to the classrooms under the present regime of secret ‘science’, and claim that it is dangerously too early.
Masks, I’m afraid, continue to get batted from Billy to Jack. We need them – they are of little use- you must were them on transport & in the workplace – and you can leave them off in the street. If you all run out and buy them there’ll be none left of the hopelss things for the rest of us!
May 19. Unlock-downing phases, steps and plans have all begun in most countries and they are certain to exceed in some measure, if for no other reason than, there is no going back. There are some very real fears remaining for those countries who only caught the ‘sniffles’, those that could do nothing to fend off the disease, and those who just didn’t care. It is time to leave behind the morbid past and get on with making the best of it. My only hope going out of this is that, those who kept us steady and brought us through it with compasion are justly rewarded.
UPDATING HAS ENDED
As the situation is becoming dangerously ambiguous around the world, the need to resume observations on events seems like a good idea.
STABLE – DOOR IRONIES
Having asked many weeks ago, how many lives were saved by the disgraceful action in allowing the annual mass gatherings at Cheltenham, when over a quarter of a million racing spectators were allowed to gather, we must now be grateful that the WHO has finally accepted that face coverings, are after all – GOOD. Masks now work! How many people did that delay save?
The South Americas are in real trouble, only able to bury their growing number of victims from the ‘sniffles’ in mass graves. Whilst the military instincts of American police has driven mass crowds on to the streets in protest after clubbing and killing a number of protestors – social distancing has gone to pot.
Unlock-down has commenced in the UK and the ‘R’ factor has risen to where it isn’t safe – above 1. ‘The Science’ is not happy. ‘Testing, testing testing’, ‘track and test’ – are preventative measures still having trouble getting up to speed. It certainly appears like the dying is going to keep going.
The travel industry appears to be in a world of its own. Europe is accepting passengers from almost anywhere in order to bolster finances, whilst the UK and Ireland are introducing a 14-day quarantine on anyone entering these countries. Testing people before during and after travel seems to be a measure still unattainable, in some countries anyway.
Those not dying in UK nursing homes, where according to some figures there has been 50% of the Covid related deaths, will be charged between 100-200 extra pounds per week to stay alive. There’s a buck to be made in everything! The reason; extra pounds per week for PPE – yes, there’s that PPE thing again. The same PPE that ministers repeatedly mounted the PR podium to declare that everyone in a nursing home who needed it would get it! When they hadn’t got it they died, those that survived – you just gotta pay more if you wanna stay alive!
For myself, not one to be worried, but having a curiosity that can be harmful, became aware that a neigbour had recently been taken away by ambulance – apparently with advanced symptoms of Covid-19. Flicking, I noticed RTE news channel displaying instructions in the margins for anyone displaying symptoms of Covid-19. How you would know the difference between it and other fluey stuff????
It instructed the viewer:
Not to contact their GP.
Not to contact the pharmacist.
Not to go to a hospital.
To isolate, and when symptoms got worse – then what??? Ring 999, for an ambulance like. I thought the whole idea was to save you at an early stage of any health problem. People living on their own could easily misjudge the speed of the onset of the disease, anyone could, and I presume could die as a result of being unable to make that late call!!
It appears we are not quite ‘all’ in this together.
June 7. Sunday. Looks like more people in the UK are beginning to get worried about ‘the science’ – the rising ‘R’ rate. Another cohort are upset about the 14 day quarantine for travellers. The size of the bill, seemingly like all ‘window-envelopes’ – this one won’t be opened for a bit.
‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrations seem to have largely passed off peacefully, apart from late violence near Downing Street. Will it work? Will America change?
An encouraging sign appeared in the news today – a large demonstration in Israel, against further annexation of West Bank territory. There’s always hope.
By and large, unlock-down announcements in Ireland have been welcomed and all the small shops will open tomorrow – pubs, well it looks like a bit longer but again, I suspect there will be a fast-tracking .
Today however, it appears that the Covid latch has not been lifted just yet in my own local church. Like other churches, my own, St Jude’s in Templeogue, has been closed for scheduled services, but having paid one or two visits, I usually found the side door open. It is actually a front door, if it’s on the pavement and nearest the altar – would that be right? Until now, I have been able to sit quietly in an almost empty church, just contemplating – it has been a quiet sanctuary.
Today was a surprise though. Having entered through the open door I sat in a pew and listened to the only two other people in the church – an organist and a choir member practicing, and no one else – nice.
A casually dressed man walked through the same door with his dog, and passed me sitting in the pew. He hesitated, and pointing to the organist he asked, ‘was I with…?’. His dog was licking my hand as I replied, ‘no, I am just having a moment’. ‘Oh’, he said, ‘you can’t, you’ll have to leave.’
I knew of course, then, that he must have been the parish priest, and proceeded to comply. Recognising the irony of the situation I suppose, he spoke out behind me as he accompanied me to the door, saying, that, “it’s hard enough to get people to come into church, asking them to leave…..” I left, the man and his dog remained.
June 17. Controlling the food of the disease – people, seems to have suppressed its effects and now it just grazes. Outbreaks, infections and deaths have reduced in most of Europe, whilst the Americas are still setting records, in as much as the available records can be trusted. It’s difficult to know what is going on in the African continent where so many other problems are raging and record keeping is poor.
There has been sporadic resurgences of Covid-19 in China and mainland Europe but by testing, areas are identified early and quarantines have been introduced. Once again, in China food markets are seen as the culprit.
Unfortunately, testing is still a problem in some Western countries, like the UK and Ireland. The practicalities of the process seems to be eluding the authorities for whatever reason. Simple stuff, like temperature checks, are not visible. Sport is opening up again and there doesn’t seem to be a difficulty with testing.
The PPE still presents problems. There s no shortage of it now, but when to use it – how effective is it, are questions and answers which still can’t be agreed by authorities. You must wear it on British public transport but not compulsory in supermarkets. It is not compulsory on Irish public transport but it is recommended. It looks like the old adage still prevails, ‘pride before a fall’. It can’t be forgotten that we were told that masks would not help, we would not know how to put them on, they might even be more dangerous etc. – it didn’t make sense. Especially after years of campaigning that we should use physical measures and handkerchiefs to guard against the spread of disease by sneezing and coughing. Unfortunate delays due to ignorance, is one thing, but what harm would wearing masks of any kind in confined public places have done – HOW MANY LIVES WOULD HAVE BEEN SAVED?
The good news is that an old cure has been found or re discovered. A treatment around for 6o years will help to reduce death and serious outcome from the disease by between 20% and 33%. It doesn’t appear like a ‘miracle’ cure, but it is if you are in the percentages.
Getting back to ‘normal’ is proving difficult for many sectors. Particularly, education, transport and hospitality. The costs will be horrendous and the usual people will have to pay and suffer. The chaos of the unscheduled stellar spend at this time is a remarkable opportunity for politicians to do the right thing! Our economies could be re organised on the basis of fair opportunities and fair profit, and not this global clamor for unrestrained and out of control appetite for ‘increased profit’. It is not delivering anything we can be proud of. Trips to the moon for millionaires – who will that benefit just now? This is taxpayers money, and sticking more satellites up in space – someone please explain how this will make food cleaner and living easier on earth?
A new electric vehicle is just a ‘thing’ we can do without just now. A decent place to live, a home in which to rare and educate children equally, and to just live quietly in harmony with our environment is it. It’s not that difficult, we just need the right leaders.
June 23. When it was suspected that there were a high number of infections and deaths in nursing homes the, this fact and its causes were only slowly reported, and the causes were either concealed or ignored. Families were bringing it in to care homes, the staff were bringing it in, last to be exposed was that the patients and residents had brought it in from hospitals, and off it went wherever it wished. The spread of death mainly resulted, or could have been prevented, from denial and the lack due diligence in the use of PPE.
There have been a growing number of very serious outbreaks of Coronavirus in meat plants and slaughterhouses throughout Europe and the USA, and again, the finger is pointed at the staff. Migrants who are not social distancing in the plants, their living conditions are cramped etc. There are thousands of seasonal migrant workers throughout Europe at this time moment, and it does not seem to be a concern in the horticultural industries.
However, one must ask. Are they meat plant workers bringing the virus into the meat plants and spreading it to one another, or are they being infected in the plants? No one seems to be concerned with the common denominator in these cases – MEAT.
There are a lot of little piggies involved, and a lot of little piggies went missing around the world after the African Swine Fever began its rampage in China in 2019.
Infection rates of Covid-19 are falling in Europe, and it is claimed that the disease is under control in most countries. Consequently, lock-down measures are being eased everywhere. Those people are happy.
In other parts of the world it is growing, spreading, and hasn’t reached a peak. The Americas are particularly badly affected. President Bolsonaro has belatedly discovered the benefits of a mask in preventing the spread of the ‘sniffles’. It looks like the 60’s LBJ rant will always be pertinent. And it is looking like there will be a catastrophic death toll if the counting can ever be ever relied on.
The finances, the amount, the cost and the bill is not sorted, but one can see the moves beginning.’ ‘The Banks’ saved England. It’s a new one, but the latest claim in the City’s new PR campaign. God knows what they’ll charge for the ‘rescue’. Already, they have mentioned the unmentionables; negative interest deposit rates – rising interest loan rates. That should do the trick.
June 25. Medical experts and the political establishment of the First World countries in Europe have arrived at the following consensus. The wearing of masks will help to prevent the spread of Covid-19! It is now mandatory to wear face coverings on all forms of public transport. This is now a ‘truth’. The problem with this truth is; it is as true today as it always was.
Pride has been swallowed and the fall attracts little attention. Medical experts and politicians are now queuing up to announce that masks must be worn.
Where were these voices when;
We were been told not to wear them?
We will do more harm than good?
We would be unable to put them on correctly?
We needed them for front-line staff instead?
This is not a gripe, it is an epitaph. How many people died as result of suppressing this simple ‘truth’. How many people need not have suffered terrible deaths for the sake of applying simple face coverings? Pride has lead to disaster so many times in the past, and I daresay, will continue to do so.
The watch-word now is – ‘inevitable’. A second wave is inevitable – why?
June 30. There is no ‘R’ in June. It is not safe to eat oysters, and its probably not safe to eat meat either. And now, it is fast becoming unsafe to venture out again. The recent heatwave and announcements of unlock-down is causing sections of the public to act funny. Mass boozing parties is not the way to go.
The curve has been squashed but the goo has squeezed out from underneath and re infection with Covid-19 is on the up and up once again. Some countries are advising travel, and in others it is been discouraged. The USA has contracted a severe case of the jitters and re lock-down has commenced. Americans have discovered their mortality.
The WHO is trying to cement countries into agreed action, while the Greats are threatening each other with sanctions and isolation. Iran has issued an arrest warrant for Donald Trump & China has put the boot into Hong Kong. There’s a lot to worry about.
Major industries are announcing job cuts daily, and Boris Johnson has announced a multi-billion pound infrastructure spend. Everyone is looking for government handouts, even though business is on the floor with forecasts of one to two year floor level stagnation. The outlook is confusing to say the least. We have discovered that we are not as smart as we thought we were.
Ireland has got a new three party government – a coalition. The previous one, consisting of just two. Legal or not, Boycotting is a politically valuable manoeuvre – often successful. A cornerstone of the organisation of labour, it is used in various ways all over the world. A kind of flip side to the manoeuvre, to create a monopoly, is illegal in many countries but widely practiced. When political organisations in Ireland conspired to exclude the biggest vote-getter in Ireland’s national elections, 2020 – Sinn Féin, this was a Boycott – ‘for the good of the country’. The result is also a monopoly – Ireland’s citizens were always only going to get a coalition that did not involve the biggest vote-getter.
July 17. The growing time lag between diary entries will indicate a tiredness reporting events. This is is true, but is also a managed withdrawal from a frustrating and morbid topic. Observations by people like myself and by reporters in general, make no impressions on the population, in so far as it might alter events. Such events have already occurred, we are observing them, and change only seems to occur when forces such as finance and effects on ‘important people’ and investments are endangered.
The contrasts are both striking and depressing. A number of countries are now involved in a ‘race to Mars’, while earth is being suffocated with plastic we are unable to stop producing. Migrants flee war stricken lands in rubber boats, while sovereign territories are invaded by neighbouring ones. Populations are being subjugated in grabs for water and land. The poor and landless starve daily in their thousands while others pop champagne at several thousand dollars a glass.
The response to the virus Covid 19 has produced farcical reaction around the world, and continues. The issue of masks hasn’t gone away and confused minds continue to grapple with petit and ridiculous nuances. Protestors wearing masks with holes grab the news, but their deaths will go unreported – just a statistic.
My own country continues to allow all flights, albeit vastly reduced in number, in and out of our country with instructions to fill out forms and to quarantine. No testing and no follow-up authentication. It is not a viable attempt to prevent the spread of the disease, and cases are on the rise again – almost everywhere.
I have just returned from a 5 day trip to the West of Ireland where the amount of English and Northern Ireland cars was noticeable. My sense of local people’s attitude was that they do not want uncontrolled and unmonitored visitors. It seems like any kind of general lock-down cannot be introduced again, and we are just going to have become responsible for our own safety.
The unusual case of nearly 300 elephants dying suddenly a number of weeks ago in Africa is still unresolved. The cause of death and delay in its discovery is baffling.
There is a growing worry in the deterioration of relations between the superpowers, UK, USA, Russia and China. The hacking accusations against China, but particularly Russia, continue with gusto. It is strange that there are no reports of hacking the other way round?
European leaders meet today to discuss a divvy out of 750 billion euro in ‘aid’ – loans or gifts, which will it be?
August 4. It’s like a surf report. The waves are coming. There are waves of infection everywhere. Still the first one, no, it’s the second, no, the second will be much worse. Infections are rising almost everywhere, some at alarmingly high levels. Thankfully, for the moment, the death rate is being suppressed.
Six months on, and masks have kudos of their own now. Mandatory in all places of public gatherings they will have no problem becoming popular everywhere. I was wrong about the security services, they seem to love em, and have even become a fashion accessory. I daresay we’ll be wearing them in bed next – will that mean they will become a sex accessory?
Whatever the future for the mask its has come a long way from the time we were chastised for putting them on with the cry of superiority claiming they were of little use. To even the most non-intellectuals –we all knew the command was counter intuitive.
Clinical reports are again disappointingly wavy. We have a vaccine – we may never have a vaccine – we have a great test – but it might take a year to roll out. The COE of WHO announced we may never have a silver bullet. We’ll all just stay in at night then.
Although cats and dogs have been diagnosed with the disease, there is no news on what’s killing all the elephants in Africa – two months later. Some diagnosis are painfully slow!
The whole of the Western World has adopted the return of all pupils to school as being the most important goal that must be achieved.
The European bail out fund of 750 billion+ euro has been agreed, the figure anyway. Terms of the divvy are not quite thrashed out yet. There are suggestions that the divvy will be tied to a new wave (What’ with the negative waves?) of measures concerning financial propriety – taxes, in layman’s terms.
All Measures Necessary Part I http://ouzelgalley.net/ouzelgalley/all-measures-necessary-part-1-of-iii/
All Measures Necessary Part II- http://ouzelgalley.net/ouzelgalley/all-measures-necessary-part-ii-of-iii/
All Measures Necessary Part III http://ouzelgalley.net/ouzelgalley/all-measures-necessary-part-iii-of-iii/
Epilogue of a Disease http://ouzelgalley.net/ouzelgalley/epilogue-of-a-disease/
BIBLIOGRAHY is at the end of All Measures Necessary, Part III.