April 5th, 2020

This And That

Today's the day I lay aside the fleece-lined winter shirts. It looks like it's going to be glorious- "cracking the flags", as Ailz would say.

The Health Secretary got himself manoeuvred into a position where he could be reported as saying that sunbathing was against the rules. I don't think that's quite what he meant; he was answering a question about the people who've been gathering in groups to bliss out in the London parks, but the media are always looking to wring a little drama out of the soapy dishcloth of public utterance.

Keir Starmer finally got himself elected as leader of the Labour Party. You want drama? He doesn't seem to be the person to supply it.

The Queen will go on telly today and deliver a speech with echoes of Churchill and Henry V. (Now there's drama for you!) She speaks to and for her generation- of whom there are not many left. I could wish the media would stop pretending that she's relevant.

They say one of the outcomes of the epidemic is that we're going to stop shaking hands- which is fine by me. What will we do instead- bump fists, bow with steepled hands? I think the bumping of elbows- which was what we were encouraged to do when the epidemic was new- has already died the death; it was just too silly.

Thinking Aloud

The British government's first instinct was to keep calm and carry on- thereby establishing "herd immunity" in the population. People didn't like the implication that they were being treated like cattle and so government switched to a policy of lockdown and isolation.

These are the two possible approaches to the problem. I don't think there are any others. Most countries have opted for the second but Sweden- I understand- is still going with the first. It's too early to say which is more effective.

There are many places in the world where lockdown and isolation are unachievable. They are mostly places where the poor and disadvantaged live: favelas, shantytowns, refugee camps. We might want to look into this when the big scare is over.

Just as we may want to look into the odd fact that certain people- for instance Prince Charles and Tom Hanks- have access to coronavirus testing when front line medical staff don't. What have Prince Charles and Tom Hanks got in common? Now let me think...

South Korea seems to have achieved very good results with lockdown but Spain and Italy haven't- and it doesn't seem that Britain is doing any better. North Korea- which is in a state of permanent lockdown- says it has kept the virus out but I wouldn't be surprised if it were lying.

People die. Old people are particularly prone to it. Lockdown may postpone the inevitable but that's all. Pneumonia- which is what CV19 brings on in the worst cases- used to be called "the old man's friend" because it stopped moribund people from lingering on and on.

If only we could get over our fear of death.