Monday, August 3rd, Month 6 of our Covid-19 Experience.

I thought it might be a good time to give a little update on our Covid-19 journey as we are now entering our 6th month since lock-down began, and the numbers are rising again.

The Numbers

Deaths rates remain low with just 8 yesterday but it was Sunday and the numbers are always low over the weekends. There were 74 on Friday and we will see how many there are today.

When I last wrote we were getting close to “our” magic number of less than 500 new cases per day. Yesterday, there were 743, and this number has been slowly rising over the past week.

Globally, there have been over 18 million cases and almost 700,000 deaths.

A key hot-spot is still the USA, where the virus is raging with around 50,000 new cases and 1000 deaths a day. Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Peru are still countries that don’t seem to have the virus under control.

Numbers are rising in Spain (who seem to have stopped publishing their numbers over the past few days) Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Australia.

The highest death rate per million population is still the good old UK though, at 680.

Spain is 608, Italy 582, Sweden 568, USA 478, France 464, Brazil 443. It’s still qualified by differences in testing, case definitions and accuracy of data. Belgium remains an outlying anomaly at 849 per million.

The News

So, people started going on holiday again after “air bridges” were created between different countries. There was uproar when this was “closed” with Spain after just a couple of weeks due to increasing numbers. People returning from Spain were required to go into 2 weeks quarantine on their return causing carnage at this end!

In the North West some restrictions that had been lifted have been re-imposed and people are no longer allowed to meet in each others homes or gardens. Bizarrely, they are still allowed to go the pub, or go to work and shielding has officially ended! It’s all about juggling public safety with the economy. We seem to have moved from a herd immunity, to a stay at home save lives, to stay alert save lives to a work and spend and bugger the consequences strategy.

Masks are now compulsory in shops and public indoor spaces. That caused a massive uproar too. Oh please, just get over yourselves. Yes, there are some people for whom this is difficult (it’s really tough for the hearing impaired in particular), but for the majority it is not. Yes, it’s hot and uncomfortable but really? I love the thing I saw on social media – if you don’t like wearing a mask, you’re going to hate a ventilator!

But I know its tough! Businesses are closing or downsizing and people are losing their jobs in the thousands every day. 

Melbourne and the state of Victoria in Australia have declared a disaster so that the army can enforce strict lock down and curfew rules. Honestly, it still might come to that here. It might have to. Some people are acting as if it’s all over. Going on holiday. Shopping. Drinking in pubs. Eating out in restaurants, Flocking to beaches and beauty spots. Partying.

I know we are technically “allowed to” but for God’s sake! Where is your common sense? Look what is happening to the numbers! IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT YOU!

But, of course, for every one who is behaving like an idiot, there is another poor soul who is still terrified to leave their home. I feel for the previously “shielded”  who have gone from being locked inside their homes to being told they have to go back to work, practically overnight!

The New Ways of Life

So what about us? We’re some where in the middle I suppose. We’ve been seeing a few friends and family in our garden or theirs. When we can we meet outdoors rather than by Zoom, we do. We still get our main groceries delivered weekly, but we’ve been to a couple of shops once or twice for “essentials” (fully masked up of course). We even had a pint outside a country pub we came across on a bike ride. But, generally, we have continued to spend most of our time at home, going out just to exercise and watching movies in the evenings (we’ve burned through virtually every box-set we want to watch).

We are counting the days to our journey to Barbados. It still seems rather precarious. As the numbers go up the airport check-in and the flight feels more risky. I’ve ordered us a couple of plastic visors for the airport, and maybe even the flight.

Barbados have been testing everyone who arrives in the country, and in the past 2 weeks 24 people on incoming flights have tested positive and placed in their quarantine centre. 12 were nurses on a flight from Ghana and the others were returning nationals from the USA and UK.  I would imagine the majority were form the USA but I don’t know. The locals are getting anxious, understandably so. But, what will they do without tourists? The economy depends on it.

Personally, I think everyone should be tested before they get on the plane. At the moment, I don’t think its compulsory and you can be tested on arrival. However, at the moment the test results take 24 to 48 hours to come back and are required 72 hours before travel. It’s still possible to catch it within those 72 hours, especially in a crowded airport! Today, we heard about a new 90 minute test. That could work if everyone had that done before they got on a flight. It would mean longer check-in times but could be more effective?

Anyway, everything seems to be changing on a daily basis at the moment. By the end of September they could be better, but they could just as easily be worse again. We will see …

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