Coronavirus Diary 7 – I may well be going mad, well more mad anyway.

How is everyone?  We all still here?  That’s good.

As I thought would be the case, some old fashioned values and community spirit have been returning.   I’ve been penned inside my home for a month or two really on top of the official 12 week ban I have on going outside except in dire emergencies.

Abandon hope, all ye who enter in.

I now have an emergency sign on the front of my house which warns about how the limited interactions I can make.  I feel rather like I have one of those crosses people would paint on their doors if they had a Plague sufferer inside.  Or perhaps with it being near the Jewish festival of Passover, the Angel of Death.

One delivery man told me through the door that he won’t ask me to sign anything and just leave the box on the ground.  I told him it was probably safer than a snog which made him laugh.

One of my lovely guides, Nigel, volunteered to bring me a food delivery which was nice and the next day a school friend I hadn’t seen for 30 years dropped off a bag of emergency supplies as well.

Not only have I got food issues others have but as I can’t eat dairy and gluten products, I don’t have a good selection at the best of times.  If you have ever watched one of those post-apocalyptic films or shows like The Walking Dead where people get tremendously excited and happy when they find a bar of chocolate or a seemingly normal snack well that is how I find being gluten free is at the best of time.  The joy of being able to eat something though not as good as or cheap as everyone else, especially when it is a favourite food is something few can understand when even your average slice of gluten free bread tastes of cardboard.

I have to say I have been a bit bored or isolated.  I spend some of my time sitting by my bedroom window and pining to go outside.  Watching people with better immune systems than myself happily go about their restricted business.   As I have super hearing, I have the window open and listen in to banal aspects of conversations between people I know not who they are.

Once or twice I have even initiated conversation from my bedroom with pedestrians; just a 2 minutes chat with a real person can be nice.  I expect that I will have deterred them from walking down my street again and they will take their walk elsewhere.

It seems the majority of people are happy with the government response to the crisis so far which is incredible as there are a lot of miserable people out there; I count myself amongst them!

If something good has come out of this virus it is that the Prime Minster has finally put an end to the never-ending DFS Sale…. even though he has the virus himself

The Chancellor of The Exchequer is a British Hindu; he seems very competent and speaks well  He has been no help to me whatsoever but I kind of like him.  I know it is unfashionable these days to be non-partisan or like someone who doesn’t directly advance ones own interests but there you go.   His name is Rishi Sunak and it sometimes brings a smile to my face as new to the job as he is and my not watching television, I only vaguely know what he looks like.  I imagine he has a Vulcans name from Star Trek.  So many Vulcans have a short surname that ends with a K.  Spock, Sarek, Sovak and now Chancellor Sunak.

Sadly I am part of the 5% of the 15% minority who won’t be benefitting from state assistance.  Incredibly I am just over the limit because I haven’t taken a holiday for many years.  If only I had taken a week or two off here and there I would qualify and so I’m being left to wither on the vine.

Even Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has gone vaguely quiet and constructive.  In fact most politicians around the world have which makes me wonder again why can’t people just be nice all the time?

The only local politician who I think is faring badly it seems is London Mayor Sadiq Khan.  I admit I never have liked him even before he was elected.  He seems always to be very slimy and oily like a used car salesman and seems to only ever be in the news for things that are nothing to do with him whilst dodging anything that comes under his remit…. I suppose a good politician in some ways!  Sadiq Khant, as I always call him, has been in the news for running less tube trains than normal, even before people began self-isolating meaning at the one time those who had to travel would have appreciated a bit of space, they ended up having less than usual and I can vouch for the fact that London commutes are never pleasant at the best of times.

Like everyone else I watch with incredulity and horror as the virus spread across the world.  The USA has come from almost out of nowhere to surge to the top of the Coronavirus cases.  I have a feeling their death rate might end up at or near the top too.

At least things in China seem to be calming down.  First in, first out as the time and tested hiring and firing system goes.  Much of Europe seems to be suffering terribly with Italy going so far as to accept a Russian convoy of equipment which it has been announced as being useless.  Spain too has far surpassed the Chinese death-toll.

Germany seems to be doing the best though it is sometimes ascribed partly to their physicians giving the cause of death to the symptom or underlying illness rather than the virus itself.

In the U.K. it is early days but forecasts the virus will peak sometime around Easter and it seems clear that thankfully we don’t currently seem to be on course to be the worst in Europe.   There were lots of posts on Facebook and other social media 1-3 weeks ago about how we were apparently heading to total disaster.  I never quite understood why.  Even in China or Italy as terrible as it is, the overwhelming majority of people are fine.

DFS Sales

The chart above would seemingly predict that by March 27th the UK would be at around 2,500 deaths.   Whereas the latest figures below show they remain below 600.  I think it also shows how much of the media like to scaremonger and how many people are swept away by ungrounded fear whether this horrible virus, Brexit or anything else.

Bizarrely it has been mused that one reason for the lower than predicted figures is that sadly in Britain, people are very isolated.  Old people live on their own with little family or friends and none of the social gatherings or extended families that Mediterranean cultures enjoy.

Every country is different with different health case systems, different social make-ups, different climates and politics and different luck which I think makes comparisons pretty much a waste of time.  The people in each country only get to see the mistakes of their own politicians but the impressive public profiles of foreign governments.

The Countries Best Prepared To Deal With A Pandemic

The Countries Best Prepared To Deal With A Pandemic

As I said earlier, I have a feeling that more people in the UK at least and probably elsewhere, will die from none Corona illnesses that are directly attributable to the virus.  Countless thousands will fall victim to intense poverty and the resultant ill-health that follows.  People will become depressed and commit suicide either as a result of self-isolation or lost jobs and then there will be the any who die from heart attacks or cancer simply because of overwhelmed healthcare systems around the world.

Last night the UK came together again to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the NHS during this critical time.  It may be hard to imagine a city as large, diverse and capitalist as London being able to do this but it does from time time, usually for bad occasions such as this.  The Blitz Spirit just about lives.

It’s just announced that Boris Johnson himself has the Coronavirus and is now self-isolating   Hopefully he and as many people as possible who have it, will recover.  Stay well and self-isolated 🙂

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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3 Responses to Coronavirus Diary 7 – I may well be going mad, well more mad anyway.

  1. Marilyn Allan says:

    Stephen, you have got to get out and about!! It helps!! I get in my car and go to the grocery, get coffee thru a drive in window and just ride around! I am going crazy, too!! I have never seen anything like this! Nothing like this happened with the flu when thousands more got sick and died!! Or when Sars, H1N1 occurred! I never even heard hardly a word about it on the news!!! I never knew anyone that had any of it!!! It is truly insane! We should all be about living our lives! Let those who want to stay in and others do what they normally do! I pray this madness soon ends!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Contractions of Fate says:

    As one of those who are also isolated and have been told to stay indoors for 12 weeks, my own Covid-19 Blog is far less eventful:
    stayed in
    tried to sleep
    listened to radio
    played computer games
    washed dishes etc
    received some food deliveries (knock on door, no one there but some bags on the ground)
    watched part of my collection of Zombie Virus Apocalypse moves
    noticed incredible similarities between recent reality and movies like “Contagion” (Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslett, Matt Damon etc), “Quarantine”, “Zombie Diaries” etc.

    I don’t recall any of this reaction with bird flu, or SARS, either. The difference is, I think, is that preventative measures worked and we had vaccines for those? Or vaccines were quickly developed? We have none for SARS-CoV-2.
    https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/naming-the-coronavirus-disease-(covid-2019)-and-the-virus-that-causes-it

    Stephen, I think you can go for a walk in the sun, but do not go near people, do not touch anything, do not touch your face at all and wash your hands as soon as you get home, BEFORE you touch anything inside. A bottle of sanitizer in the hall might help.

    Sadly, Stephen, if you had spent less time earning and more time spending, and had taken those holidays, you would be more likely to qualify for better assistance. Although, the self-employed pay less in tax in the first place. But then, they do not get the same benefits as employees. The Chancellor has claimed that the self-employed will get up to £2500 a month. I also read that, in future, they will get better sickness benefits, but will have to pay more tax to get them, like employees do.

    The tragic thing is that a lot of reasonably successful people are finding out just how poor the UK welfare system actually is. You get what you vote for, I suppose, and those who actually believed that the UK system was riddled with scroungers and lazy child breeders living in mansions and getting £5000 per week are about to discover exactly what a load of sensationalist, gutter press lies that truly was.

    Claiming anything thing these days requires internet access and smart phones, which many do not have. I don’t have a smart phone, for example, as I never wanted one or needed one. And anyone with savings and property will find that they have to spend almost all of their money and strip most of their assets before they qualify for anything. As I have.

    You get what you vote for, I suppose. It’s madness, but so far this government seems like it is one of the most socialist we’ve ever had! £300-odd billion to help people who can’t work? They should have done something more assertive about two weeks ago. You can’t build herd immunity by letting 60 million Brits catch a lethal virus for which there is no cure. You do that by vaccinating at least 70% of the population and finally eradicating the virus in the wild, like we did with smallpox and polio.

    So let’s hope Boris fully recovers. I think he has BUPA?

    😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really like your Apocalypse movies!! I do have a backlog of the Walking Dead to catch up on and I can recommend The Hot Zone novel which I read in the 1990’s. I am actually one of those rare people who was taken to people with Bird Flu, if there is a respiratory illness going round then I’m the most likely candidate for miles 🙂 I think I’ve done well to make it this far. Yes, I was very thorough in my washing before Isolated myself due to having to use public transport a lot. It is annoying about the holiday situation and also the fact that in 7 years I have faithfully submitted every receipt including cash tips which may also have sneaked me over the limit whereas many others won’t have declared it. And extending the leeway for late payers who were until last week subject to £1,000 fine so they can receive a payment when I did mine last summer is a bit of a kick in the teeth too. I too don’t have a Smartphone, I have never needed one or seen the use for one given the terrible expense. I entirely agree, I have spent all week working out my expenses for the 2019-20 financial year so that I can pay my taxes again early so I can then be truly penniless and gain Universal Credit. However none of their providers verify my very valid driving licence and passport and as I’ve been told the one place I definitely mustn’t go to is the shops, it means unless I can get through to a kindly operator even that revnuee of assistance may come to nothing. I have spent countless attempts at calling them up and when I tweeted them, a day or two later I was told I should call Universal Credit…. it was a never ending loop! Yes my main suggestion for improvement would have been to immediately clamp down on flights pretty much in January when China was obviously suffering badly and if not then early February when Italy did. All the rich school kids here went on skiing trips in February half-term when I was already isolating myself and hence SW Herts/NW London is one of the hotspots. I wonder having not been helped by the government, when they decide to up the taxes on Sole Traders whether we tiny minority will be spared? I of course don’t hold my breath. Yes, no-one can criticise the government broadly for its spending and support. I would just have not have such a knife-edge limit for payments and wonder why someone on £51k in a job gets support but someone earning the same as self-employed doesn’t. Yes I have every faith Boris and Prince Charles will both be enjoying life more now in their beds than many of us do at our healthiest. I will try going out and I hope my next weeks isolation diary will be more mundane… I hope to get on to my next book. Have a lovely weekend!

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