Day 168 – Pandemic ends as parent is “so over it already”

Great news.

A parent on a local Whatsapp group has single-handedly ended the Coronavirus/Covid-19 world pandemic.

During a discussion around the need for safety protocols including sanitising your hands and wearing a mask* at an indoor venue, the parent happened to remark:

But really now I am so over this already

And added a facepalm emoji for extra gravitas (please note that touching one’s face is not recommended).

Anyway, it seems that someone important was reading the aforementioned Whatsapp group, as a statement from the SARS-CoV-2 virus was issued very shortly afterwards. It’s fairly lengthy, so I’m not going to share the whole thing, but here’s some of what the spokesperson had to say.

As the officially recognised causal agent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the SARS-Cov-2 virus was both disappointed and alarmed to learn that one of the parents in the [redacted] Whatsapp group was “so over this already”. It was believed that the human population of the planet were at least content with the situation as it currently stands. We had no idea that people were unhappy with how things were going.
Someone should have said something.

While it was always our intention to kill as many people as possible – a goal assisted by individuals being “so over” wearing masks, washing their hands and socially distancing – we’d like to keep our relationship with mankind as amicable as possible, and so we will be ending the global pandemic with immediate effect.

We would have done this much sooner if we had known that really now people were so over this already.

So there you have it.

If only someone had made the point that really now they were so over this already previously.
We could have avoided an awful lot of fuss.

Personally, really now I’m so over people ignoring Covid-19 regulations because really now they are so over this already.

Want more regulations? Then just keep choosing to ignore the ones we have now.

Very straightforward stuff.

 

* clutches pearls, fans face, faints dramatically

Day 165 – Hasn’t it been wet?

Well, no. Not really.

Even though our dams are at a very healthy 95.6% of capacity…

… a far cry from the panic of literally running out of water not so very long ago, this has not been down to this being a particularly wet winter. In fact, this winter has been decidedly average.

graph from here

That’s the 8 months of 2020 so far in orange. Thankfully, not like 2011 (that’s the low line), but also definitely not like 2001 (that’s the very, very high line) either.

So yes, a few things like borehole augmentation, clearing of inflows and a reduction in alien vegetation around the dams will have helped, but it’s the fact that Capetonians are now using only just over half as much water each day as they used to which is making the biggest difference. We’re using just over 630 million litres per day, as opposed to the almost 1 billion litres per day prior to the nastiness of the drought in 2016-2018.

That’s a superb effort.

But…

One of the City’s methods of reducing water usage was to increase tariffs. This probably did have some effect, but now that the dams are nearly full for the first time in 6 years, isn’t it time to reduce those tariffs? The problem is that the City is selling much less water than it used to, while the efforts aimed at avoiding Day Zero two years ago were costly, and the plans to safeguard the city’s supply in a uncertain future doesn’t come for free.
Also, reduce the price of water and it stands to reason that consumption will go up again, which won’t help anyone, but might make up the shortfall in revenue.

Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Waste, Alderman Xanthea Limberg says:

Regarding tariffs: as previously stated, a reduction in tariffs will be dependent on an increase in consumption. Currently, the City is selling approximately 30% less water than before the drought, but is facing additional costs that come with increasing our resilience. It is important that the City cover its costs to ensure that the maintenance and augmentation programmes can be carried out. Should the amount of water we are selling significantly increase this will be factored into the tariffs, but given the uncertain impact of climate change it may not be wise to actively encourage such an approach at this stage.

So. Use less water so we don’t run out, but use more water so that it costs less, so that the City makes more money to make sure that they can replace the extra water you used because it was cheaper to use more water than when you were using less water.

 

Got it.

Day 160 – (even) More on Masks

It takes quite a lot for me to read a Physics paper. Of the the three, traditional “main” branches of science, Physics was my least favourite. And that’s saying something, given that one of the others is Chemistry.

However, this paper by Verma et al. in the journal Physics of Fluids¬†(please try to restrain your excitement, readers) is actually rather interesting and offers further evidence that masks with exhalation valves are frankly useless in the fight against Covid-19. It also adds that those plastic face shields people are starting to use are equally kak. (In addition, they are not “cloth covering the nose and mouth”, so technically not legal either. Not that that will bother anyone in SA.)

Thus:

…there is an increasing trend of people substituting regular cloth or surgical masks with clear plastic face shields and with masks equipped with exhalation valves. One of the factors driving this increased adoption is improved comfort compared to regular masks. However, there is a possibility that widespread public use of these alternatives to regular masks could have an adverse effect on mitigation efforts.

Just for the record: “improved comfort compared to regular masks” just means “people being overly dramatic about having to wear a mask”. Having “an adverse effect on mitigation efforts” is merely fancy language for “won’t work at stopping the transmission of Covid-19”.

It’s been said before.

And there are some more of those lovely visualisations of coughs and sneezes, which I screenshotted.
For the clear plastic face shield:

And for the mask with exhalation valves:

Full descriptions and even some delightful (and educational) videos on that link through to the paper, but basically (as you may have already guessed), green cloud is not good. And there’s a lot of green cloud in those images.

So. If you are one of those people who wears one of these masks or face shields or you know someone who does, please (politely) let them know that they’re not helping the situation at all.

Day 159 – Spring Day lolz

Yes. It’s Spring Day. The start of Spring if you are a meteorologist. In the Southern Hemisphere.

And you could almost believe that it was Spring, were it not for the weather warnings issued by… er… meteorologists. In the Southern Hemisphere.

Stuff like:

And:

Actually, tomorrow’s is a bit of a weird one: rather than the usual low pressure flying across the Southern Atlantic from Argentina, this deep low has formed over Namibia and is heading down the West coast as we speak. Were it a bit further inland into the Karoo, we’d be into cut-off low, “Black South Easter” territory, but it looks like this one will sweep around the Cape coast and dissipate as it heads off South West from us into whatever is down there (spoiler: not much).
So not quite another Laingsburg (hopefully anyway), but it will still be wet and windy.

That said, today has been a massive 10 degrees warmer than yesterday, so I’ve done all of the washing and I’m going to lob some burgers on the braai this evening ahead of tomorrow’s nastiness. Because it’s also worth noting that while the rest of the week is also “Spring”, it’s looking every bit as unpleasant going towards the weekend. That’s because of a weak, transatlantic (“normal”) cold front.

I’ve said it before, but when I moved over here, I’m sure that September and October used to be nicer than they are now. The seasonal South Easter would set in sometime around late September and then we’d know that there was a change in seasons. Likewise, it would have moved on by New Year, leaving January and February to just be hot instead of hot and stupidly windy.

All of that has changed. The South Easter hasn’t given up until March in the last few years, ruining an extra three months of otherwise perfectly lovely outside time.

I shall be contacting my local representatives if that happens again this time around.

But hey, that’s all some distance away.
Let’s get through tomorrow’s excitement first, shall we?

 

Batten down your beagles.

Day 154 – A new ban

Earlier this week, wholly unfounded rumours of a new ban on the sale of alcohol swept the (social media) nation. Bottle stores (you may know them as liquor outlets or off-licences) were immediately inundated with panicking customers, anxious to get their fix in before the draconian measures were announced. Queues formed. Sales went through the roof.

Of course, that announcement never happened: it was never going to. But it basically meant that the bottle stores got a lot more trade for absolutely no reason. And while I don’t want to speculate about who started the rumours, there were certainly some online entities who – let’s just say – did nothing to quash them.

Really shoddy stuff.

 

But also successful. Very successful.

 

Hmm.

And so… er… it was with some alarm, that I… er… was informed, yes, of imminent Government plans to ban this blog. Yes, while all other blogs will remain online, it seems that I will be forced to take 6000 miles… down for the foreseeable future.

This is definitely going to happen, because someone just Whatsapped me this:

“Cyril will be speaking to us tonight.”

How could they deny us our privileges and luxuries, our succor, our emotional support like this?
It’s simply awful. And probably unconstitutional. And definitely not true.

Much like the alcohol producers and sellers, I will be seeking legal advice and lobbying the powers that be for a quick, nay – an immediate – reinstatement, but in the meantime, please spread this news and let them know that this might be their last chance to read stuff on here for a while.

Who knows what effect this might have on my traffic? But then who even cares, because obviously, it’s all about the principle of the whole thing. I will fight this to the highest court in the land, but in the meantime, please tell everyone you know to come and read my blog before they can’t.

Quick.