Day 229 – Not done yet

Great news on the vaccine for the virus:

…but we’re not done yet, even though a lot of people have been treating things as if we have been done for quite a while now.

Not done yet because:

a) Nelson Mandela Bay metro has run out of Intensive Care beds as the number of infections there continues to rise:

b) And yes, while the situation in the Eastern Cape is clearly a bit out of control, there are worrying little upturns in the Western Cape and KZN graphs as well:

We need to keep an eye on this – things should be dropping consistently at the moment.

c) We’re still learning about the effects of the virus on humans:

This figure is more than double than you would expect to see with influenza infections.

d) There’s “talk” of a return to Level 2 lockdown:

I say “talk”, because that’s from Business Insider and we all know what they’re like and even they state:

Now government officials have confirmed – anonymously – to Bloomberg that tougher restrictions are on the cards again in discussions this week.

Ah. The anonymous source. That old chestnut.

We believe you.

e) This has nothing to do with Covid, but I got bitten on the chin by a stray dog today, while lying in a pool of its urine underneath a Toyota double cab with its engine running in the middle of a fairly busy road in Upper Kenilworth.

I wouldn’t advise any of it.

Tetanus shot and broad spectrum antibiotics. No stitches required – puncture wound only.

Right. Must go and howl at the moon. See you tomorrow.

Day 228 – Concert memories, number update

Browsing some photos earlier.

This seems a long time ago now.

Do things from 9 months ago (because that’s when this was) seem to be further back to you guys as well? Is that one of the effects of lockdown and all that 2020 has thrown at us?

You’d think that with so few events this year, your mind would be able to remember the ones you did go to with astonishing ease and as if they were just yesterday. After all, what else has there been to fill up that bit of your memory? And yet no: I can hardly even remember last year at all and it was only last year.

Love Karl Oluf Wennerberg’s ethereal cameo here, by the way. Spooky.

And a quick update on the number project thing I told you about 11 days ago: I have so far taken precisely zero photos for it. Well, that’s a number, isn’t it? But all is not lost. I have scouted some lovely numbers and so once I do start, I will be into my first ten with no issue whatsoever.

Day 222 – I need help

Allegedly, anyway.
[Spoiler: No, I don’t.]

Long and dull story short, we need a few more points on our medical insurance spin-off programme to earn better discounts and nicer freebies. I’ve all but reached my limit for points earned through exercise for the year, so I started looking at other ways of scoring enough to get us over the metaphorical, virtual line.

And there is was: a mental health questionnaire that I could do in 5 minutes while watching the football. And it promised almost twice as many points as a 30 minute workout with my heart pumping at 150bpm. Easy money.

And so I went for it. As I remember, there were seven parts to it and it was all multiple choice stuff – often the old ‘”I strongly disagree” to “I strongly agree” with this statement’ kind of thing. I strongly agreed with some of them and I strongly disagreed with others. Occasionally, where I felt fairly neutral about the given statement, I clicked “neutral”.

And then I finished the thing and collected my 500 points and it suggested that I speak to a mental health counsellor.

wut?

It also appeared to class me as “at risk” from my drinking habits. But my drinking habits are equivalent to a glass of wine each evening. If that puts me at risk, then the world (including me) is really in trouble.

And I truthfully answered the mental health questions in the same sort of way. Sure, I don’t think I’m 100% happy 100% of the time, but the fact is that none of us is having an easy ride this year, and if you actually are still 100% happy 100% of the time, then I think that it’s actually you that has the mental health issue.

Honestly, this questionnaire seems to be the equivalent of googling your headache and the daily mail dot com telling you that you have a brain tumour. Overkill much?

I’m well aware that denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, but if you feel that my having trouble getting to sleep a week last Saturday demands that I seek immediate help from a counsellor, then you’re
a) being a bit dramatic,
b) wasting my time and (more importantly) theirs, and
c) not a Sheffield United supporter.

I will be good, I will to continue to exercise my mind and body, and really: I won’t off myself anytime soon. I’ll also try and get less stressed about the football, but having narrowly lost this week’s fantasy matchup to that “goal” by Tariq Lamptey – insult added to injury by the fact that the foul on Højbjerg was also counted as a dispossession and further that the two goals scored against Lamptey weren’t deducted from his score – I feel I’m ok to feel a bit aggrieved every now and again.

So yes, football – such a big bit of my life – is still not a good thing for me at the moment.

But I promise: I don’t need help.
I’m ok. Really.

Day 221 – Two quite interesting maps from Reddit

Here are two maps I found on Reddit. I thought that they were quite interesting.

This first one shows you what you can see from the summit of Mount Everest.

It’s incredibly dangerous to try to scale Mount Everest: 4% of people trying to get to the top don’t come back. Because they die. And for what? Trying to find out what they can see from the top.

Er… you’re looking at what you can see from the top. Right here.

And you’re safe. Safe.

Here’s the other map.

This one is a bit more personal, because it includes Cape Agulhas. I’ve never climbed Mount Everest, but I have been to Cape Agulhas. I was there yesterday.
It’s worth noting that more than 96% of the people who go to Cape Agulhas come back. Another feather in the… er… “Cap” for the bottom of Africa.

These green lines mark the major shipping routes for the world, and you can see why we get to see so many boats going past the cottage.

Most of the stuff we see goes from Brazil to China and back again, which fits with this map.

I have no reason to believe that it is inaccurate.

I have no idea about the Mount Everest one.

Day 218 – How not to get infected

Morning all.

A couple of interesting, somewhat interactive articles about that pesky coronavirus for you today. More specifically, some work that has been done to show you how not to get infected with the damn thing as we struggle to get our lives back on track, and some case studies we can learn from on what went wrong elsewhere.

I should point out that while these are full of good advice, there’s not much that hasn’t been said before as far as the basic rules go. In fact, much of it is based on the fundamentals that I shared here, namely avoid inside spaces, avoid poorly ventilated spaces, avoid crowds, keep your distance, wear a mask and if you must put yourself in those situations, then at least try to avoid prolonging the duration of any of these riskier activities wherever possible.

Here is the the first of those two articles:

An office, a restaurant and a bus were the settings for multiple infections that have been studied in detail by health authorities. Their conclusions offer valuable lessons for the de-escalation process.

And yes, they do. But it has to be said that if any of the protagonists in these tales had read that post I wrote 116 days ago (or any of the other literature around managing risk of coronavirus infection, obviously), then these could all have been avoided.

With hindsight, I trust that they can see that there should have been red flags and alarm bells all over the place. e.g.

In a single wing of a call center in Seoul, in South Korea, the risk of infection was multiplied by four key factors: close, prolonged contact between numerous people, in an enclosed space.

Oops.

But there is some good news as well. If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to be inside with other people, then you can still mitigate the risk of infection by taking some fairly straightforward steps. Let’s look at the example of the bar from this second article. where one individual is having a drink with his mates in the local pub after work on a Friday. Nobody knows (including him) that he has Covid-19.

In this bar, capacity has been reduced to 50%. There are 15 patrons and three members of staff. The windows are closed and there is no mechanical ventilation.
In the worst-case scenario, if no measures are taken, 14 of the customers will be infected after four hours.

Yes, that’s everyone in the bar.

If masks are consistently used, the risk of infection falls to eight new cases.

Almost halved. Of course, the most important person here as far as mask wearing goes is our erstwhile infected office worker, but since he doesn’t know that he’s infected and we don’t know if we’re infected, then anyone of us could be him, so wearing a mask could make a huge amount of difference here.

If the premises are ventilated, which can be done with a good air conditioning unit or opening doors and windows, and the time spent in the bar is shortened, there is only the risk that one person will be infected.

No-one wants to spend less time drinking with their mates on a Friday night. After all, that was a truly shitty week and the deal with that shoe company looks like it’s about to fall through. After all that hard work, too. So sure, we need that downtime, but if you really need a whole four hours, then just open a door and a couple of windows. (Or sit outside, of course.)

And you might say that you’ve only reduced the number is real terms by 6 or 13 people, but the fact is that those 6 or 13 people would have gone on to infect x more individuals, who would then have gone on to infect y more and so on. We can’t stop the spread of the virus completely, but we can really slow it down and – moreover – prevent unnecessary infections.

What you do regarding your behaviour (within the laws, rules and regulations, obviously), is completely up to you, but there’s plenty of sense in taking stock of your surroundings and choosing to make small, simple changes to make yourself, your friends, your family and other people a bit safer.

For all that we are learning more every day about this virus and the problems that it causes, we still don’t have a vaccine or a perfect cure. It’s certainly worth protecting yourself as much as possible: especially when the steps you need to take to do so are so very uncomplicated.

Oh – and keep washing those hands. That’s not so hard, either.