Day 126 – Quick in and out

I’m having a busy day today – all to do with a plan we have for tomorrow, which I might well share with you. Maybe instagram is the best space to watch, although this space is always freely available (please observe proper social distancing).

Stuff I saw today which I thought was good – this:

Very good. And salient as well, given that I spotted a new record low of 3/34 people wearing masks correctly while I was out for a run that I didn’t want to go on this morning (but this). I don’t go around checking numbers the whole time. I’m not quite that obsessive. But 1km in, as your mind starts to empty and you (subconsciously) realise that the first seven people you’ve seen this morning haven’t been wearing masks, you start to do a count – if only to distract yourself from the screaming in your legs and lungs.

Anyway, that’s less than 9% and that’s frankly pretty crap.

In other news, I also filled my car up with fuel for the first time in 4 months and 8 days. Topping up only three times a year is certainly cheaper than my usual regimen, but comes with some horrible limits on personal freedoms. I wouldn’t advise it.

That’ll be all then. Not least because I can’t buy any electricity because of some online problem at the electricity buying people and so this post could end at any

 

 

 

(moment).

Day 124 – Bits of news

After yesterday’s unashamedly lazy post (hey, I was busy with other stuff – see below), let’s have some text on today’s effort, shall we?

The other thing I was busy with was a GooseChase. Basically, a fun*, interactive series of challenges which the teams have to undertake and complete within a given time period. This particular GooseChase is for the Virtual Quiz Groups that got together over lockdown, and while we’re still not allowed to see each other in the flesh or go round each others place and do things, I thought I’d lob one of these together for our entertainment. There is an app, but holey-moley it’s expensive. And expensive in USD – I can’t even work out how much it would be in ZARs.
Anyway, if you thought putting a quiz night together was hard work, wow. You ain’t seen nothing yet. An organisational nightmare.

But if it comes off, it has the potential to actually be quite cool.

What else?

Well, Garmin is half back. I was able to sync a bit overnight and although the interface looks (perhaps understandably) like it’s taken a savage beating and the cuts and bruises haven’t quite subsided yet, it is still breathing – just – and will hopefully continue its recovery. Amazing that it managed to find a ICU bed right now.

Talking of medical stuff, I need to go to a doctor’s office today and I’ve never been less enthusiastic about anything. It’ll be the smallest public space I’ve been to in months, and also probably the longest period of time I will have spent in any indoor public space all year. If you remember my Virus FAQs post, these were two of the things I suggested were best avoided, but sometimes, needs must. So I’m going to put on my Big Boy panties (and my Big Boy mask), take a deep breath (outside) and just do it. I’ll also have my Big Boy sanitiser along with me and won’t hesitate to use it.

Don’t test me.

I have been listening to The Lathums. They’re from Wigan, so the a is hard and harsh, just like all a’s should be (glass, grass, path, bath etc.)

Don’t @ me.

More here.

Finally, some more news on our shit government. This is an image from part of Andrew Mlangeni‘s funeral yesterday.

A true giant of Apartheid resistance, a Rivonia Trialist and an ANC stalwart, it obviously attracted a lot of attention. Hands crossed on the left there is village idiot Fikile Mbalula – currently the Minister for Transport.
Now I have nothing against a decent send off for Mlangeni: he certainly deserves it. But so does every other individual dying at the moment.
So the question is, why are there so many people there? And why are they standing so close to one another? That goes against the regulations for funerals which have been rigorously applied for everyone else.

And then Mbalula turned up on TV this morning saying that the situation “had been exaggerated”. With advance apologies to my reading audience: fuck you, Fikile.
I, like everyone else, can see from the footage that at least two of those regulations above are being ignored and that’s only out of three, given that it’s not nighttime.

Is it any wonder that the lockdown regulations are being so openly and regularly flaunted? The only difference is that there are fines, police brutality and criminal records for the general public. Fikile and his government chums get – at best – a gentle slap on the wrist.

It’s just another example of one rule for them, one for the rest of us.

Right. Rant over. I’m off to mentally prepared for this afternoon’s trip, and to see if I can sort out another couple of GooseChase challenges before lunchtime.

Have a nice day. Wear a mask.

 

 

 

* terms and conditions apply. 

Day 122 – More on masks

I’ve made my thoughts on wearing masks in public places completely clear, I think.
Not least here:

…and it used to be so easy in that you either wore one or you didn’t.

The fact is that while a mask is always better than no mask, equally some masks are better than others. Here’s a video from the University of New South Wales demonstrating this with a sneeze.

Prepare yourself.

(Incidentally, earlier in that video, there are demonstrations of talking and coughing as well – just click on the YouTube icon bottom right to have a look).

So yes, surgical mask > two layers of cloth > one layer of cloth.
And all of them are MUCH better than no mask at all.

It’s pretty clear how the differing masks have differing efficacy, and it’s pretty clear how no mask means that you spread respiratory droplets and aerosols – potentially laden with virus – everywhere when you sneeze.

A reminder here that we are asked to wear masks exactly for that reason: to stop us breathing out respiratory particles which might spread the virus to other people.

Which brings me to my next point.

I’m seeing a lot of masks on sale that look like this:

Or this:

Check out how stylish they can like to be!

They’re often advertised with catchy phrases like “low resistance” or “easy breathing” or some such. And that’s because, as demonstrated by the photoshopped whoosh of air in the top image, these are one-way masks. That circular plastic “respirator valve” thing clicks shut when you inhale, meaning that what you breath in is filtered through the mask fabric, but it pops open when you exhale, meaning that there is no barrier for what you breathe out. Magic.

A quick quote, if I may?

A reminder here that we are asked to wear masks exactly for that reason: to stop us breathing out respiratory particles which might spread the virus to other people.

Oh.

Yes, I’m sorry, but these masks are completely useless in the context of coronavirus and Covid-19. There is literally no barrier at all to prevent you breathing out aerosolised virus all over everyone around you. And that’s exactly why you’re wearing it in the first place.

Sure. They’re probably great for sanding or mowing grass or working in dusty environments like woodworking shops and grassmowing sheds(?), because in those instances, we’re trying to stop ourselves from breathing nasty stuff in.

That’s not why we are wearing masks at the moment.

But let’s be honest about this: getting people just to wear masks is proving difficult enough. If we’re now going to try to give them more detailed rules and regulations, we’re not going to get very far.

So all I am asking of you is that if you are planning to get a mask like this, just don’t. It doesn’t help. And when the inevitable mask debate comes up with friends and/or family, send them here so that they don’t buy one either.

Don’t buy these sorts of masks. 

A little bit of information goes a long way.
(Nowhere near as far as a little bit of misinformation, but that’s a whole other story.)

Day 119 – Good stats

Amazing news for Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs – an area of opulence, privilege and Diep River – with the latest Covid-19 stats: now with extra detail.

Cape Town used to be the “epicentre” of the country’s infections. Indeed at one point, it was home to an incredible 10% of the cases on the entire continent. But as things got worse here, they got worser [really? – Ed.] elsewhere else, and we’ve long since fallen behind Johannesburg for new and current infections. Now we’re just another city with thousands of cases.

But it’s the detailed breakdown of the stats that has really made all the difference. And I’m pleased – nay, proud even – to announce that since mask wearing was made compulsory there have been no new cases in the Southern Suburbs of Covid… of the chin.

I spoke to local health spokesperson Dr Mae Dupnayme for her take on this.
Here’s what she had to say.

“The mask regulations were promulgated on the 12th of July, and they’ve really made a difference to the number of people you see out and about with masks. In the Southern Suburbs especially, where white men and women – especially those with K-Way puffer jackets and/or too much botox for their own good – are apparently immune to this novel virus, people walking around wearing masks around their chins and necks has become a very common sight. And I think that’s why we have seen the amount of chin Covid plummet to zero. Interestingly, hand Covid levels are also very low, probably due in the main part to teenage girls wandering around in non-socially-distanced groups each with their mask dangling from their wrist.
The number of respiratory infections? Oh, that’s through the sodding roof. Everyone’s breathing the damn virus out over everyone else and spreading it like syphilis at that place in Bellville.
But I have seen literally no cases of Covid of the chin for a week now. It’s amazing.”

But is Covid of the chin a real thing?
Dr Dupnayme explains:

“Technically, probably not. We’ve never actually seen a case of Covid of the chin, but there are two important parts to this: firstly, we’d never actually seen a case of Covid of the anything before a few months ago, and secondly, the fact that we’ve seen zero cases means that actually, it has not increased from previous levels, which were obviously also zero, and when we’re referring to anything to do with Covid right now, the words “not increased” are like bloody gold dust, and look really good in our report. Really good.
And so I’d like to thank all those who ignored the grammatically disastrous DO NOT BRING DOWN YOUR MASK TO THE CHIN thing with the weird bloke and his horribly infected neck – covered in “bacteria or virus or germs” – that’s been doing the rounds on Facebook.
Actually, in putting their masks over their chins and not over their noses and mouths, they’ve effectively prevented any cases of Covid of the chin: a disease that never existed and has never killed anyone. Well done.
A sad side-effect of this behaviour is that they’re breathing out coronavirus from your exposed nose and mouth and that could kill someone, of course, but they won’t need to stress about that. It’s not them, is it?
But the no chin Covid thing is great news for anyone worried about getting Covid on their chin. That’s the message we need to be taking from these numbers. Zero Covid of the chin.”

An incredible tale indeed.

So, from the Ground Zero of South African coronavirus infections to some of the lowest rates of Covid of the chin in the whole world. It really is a huge success story for the Mother City and especially the posh suburbs in the south.

 

And Diep River.

 

Day 117 – Really?

In a country where everything – everything – gets touched by the thieving hands of Government corruption, it’s good to know that someone is finally standing up and fighting corruption. That someone is… [checks notes] er… [checks notes again] er… apparently, it’s… The Government.

This image, appended to the bottom of this tweet:

Government remains committed to building an ethical State in which there is no place for corruption, patronage, rent-seeking and plundering of public money. Report any suspected corrupt activities. #AntiCorruption #FightingCorruption Read more: gov.za/anticorruption

reminded me of [an analogy I decided not to use*] or the Pope encouraging people to come forward and root out Catholicism.

It’s literally everywhere (corruption, not Catholicism) (although…) from the President’s office down.

 

They say a fish rots from the head, but there’s smelly sludge all over the gills, fins and tail in this case. (Can you tell that I never did more than basic fish biology during my studies?)

R4.8 million for someone to go door to door and tell people about Covid-19 – R2640 per person. A cool ten and a half grand if there’s a family of four at home when you call.

There’s R29.7 million “missing” in KZN.

The R500 billion coronavirus fund was obviously just too good an opportunity to miss:

So:

And I should probably just not mention the Eastern Cape Scooter Fiasco*.

These examples were not hard to find, at all. And one could argue that at least someone is documenting, recording and reporting them. But mostly, nothing ever happens about these cases, and even on the odd occasion when it does, the perpetrators are re-employed by their equally corrupt colleagues (and/or political party) soon afterwards anyway.

So where is the punishment?

So what is the point?

But then for the government – arguably the most guilty entity for both the enabling of and looting of public money – to tell us that “Fighting corruption is everyone’s business”?

I’ve honestly never heard such utterly hypocritical bullshit.

 

 

* 100 words in was just too soon to invoke Godwin’s Law. 
** I actually saw The Eastern Cape Scooter Fiasco on the Friday at Reading in 2007. Great drummer. Energetic performance.