Day 408 – That Turkey travel ban

Wel, not so much a travel “ban” as it being placed on the UK’s red list, along with a the Maldives and Nepal. I have a bit of a personal interest in the decision, so I was looking for answers as to why Turkey might have been added to the list, the effect of which is that travellers from there will have to isolate at a hotel in the UK for 10 days at their own cost.

To the untrained eye, it might just seem that their open borders and large spike in cases might be the reason, but that’s just to the untrained eye, so I went searching for a trained eye, on which might be able to give some better insight.

It didn’t take me long to find Nico00503.

Despite what it says there, a quick look shows us that Nico00503 has actually been shouting into the void on twitter for a few months now, but no-one is listening, because that’s what voids do best. Or don’t do worst, at least.
Well, it’s time to change all that, because he has incisive comment to offer on everything. And that includes that Turkey red-list decision announced yesterday. And the untrained eyes were all wrong: it’s all about the [checks notes] UEFA Champions League Final. Man City v Chelsea, right? Right.

Of course it is.

Of course UK WANT CHAM LEAGUE FINAL PLAY IN UK. It makes complete sense. Think of all the money they’ll make with all the fans not allowed to attend. And all that extra cash from airport taxes by preventing fans travelling to Istanbul (“UK GOV ALSO DONE PRESSURE ASKING OWN CITIZEN DONT GO ISTANBUL”) to not attend the game they aren’t allowed to attend. And if you think differently, then just remember IT IS BIG LIE. PRESSURE NOT FOR COZ CORONA. Yeah. Infamously, British teams have a terrible record in CHAM LEAGUE FINAL PLAY IN Istanbul.

Although, late last year (when there were ten time fewer cases each day in Turkey), Nico00503 had other ideas:

It takes a big man to look at a different situation and be willing to publicly change his mind on the big issues. And no-one wants CORONA KEEP GROWN UP COUNTRY. And clearly, the only plan to prevent CORONA KEEP GROWN UP COUNTRY is NO ENTRY ISTANBUL AND NO OUT FROM ISTANBUL,COMPLETELY NEED IT LOCKDOWN IN ISTANBUL.

Well, then, at least. Not now. Now it’s all about MAKING PRESSURE TO UEFA.

Amazed by the clarity of Nico00503’s argument on this, I went looking on his timeline for answers to questions I didn’t even know I needed to ask. And there were plenty to be had. Like how to make money in the UK.

Wow. Such straightforward stuff when you think about it. IN UK DOG ARE HOLY DOG. So yes, IF I SALE 2 OR 3 DOGS EWERY WEEK, there’s quite literally millions to be made. Could there be a South African spin-off? MAYBE I START DOING DOG BUSINESSS.

Medical note: If you start doing dog business, maybe consult your GP.

Nico00503 also has advice for the new mayors in the UK:

Wow. That’s bad news for JUNKEYS,CRIMINAL SHIT PEOPLE ARUND THE MANY CITY. These live televised executions might seem a little harsh at first glance (and probably for quite some time thereafter as well, to be honest) but we all need to remember that THEY ARE NOT SWEETHEART.

And then some vital information as to the origins of Coronavirus. Scientists have been trying to pinpoint this for a while now. They should have just talked to Nico00503.

And again, that thing about DOGGY BUSINES. And why? JUST COZ ABOUT MONEY,TAKE CONTROL,TO OWN SOMETHINK.

Exactly, Nico00503. SOMETHINK, but most people never even apply their minds at all. I can see that we are both thinkers. Kindred spirits, if you will.
I thought that some sort of hugely successful vaccine programme might be the reason for decrease in Covid-19 cases in the UK. You think differently. Of course you do:

To be honest, I never even considered that UK GOV,JOHNSON DONE, HOCUS POKUS AGAINST THE CORONA. But it does appear to have had a magical effect. Or maybe that’s not what it was at all. Maybe the way forward was just to get around to ASKING CORONA MAKE PAUSE FOR THE SUMMER. Other nations should try this approach. Of course, given our precarious geographical position right at the bottom of the Southern hemisphere, our government would have to consider ASKING CORONA MAKE PAUSE FOR THE WINTER. If only we’d realised that ending the global pandemic was a simple as a quick magic trick and a gentle request to the virus’ better side.

Look, this might be my blog, but this is very much Nico00503’s blog post. Consequently, it would be wrong of me to leave you with my thoughts here. And how could I even compete with the mind-blowingly obvious, but so clearly understated, genius like this kind of thing? No. If there’s one thing you take away from today’s post and maybe even from 2021, let it be this thought from our erstwhile protagonist:

Have a great day.

Word.

Day 236 – Happy Birthday to…

Happy 1st Birthday to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (you may know it by its stage name: “Corona”).

Yes, according to this March 2020 report in the South China Morning Post, the first case of Covid-19 – it’s a disease of which you might have heard mention – was identified in a 55 year old man from Hubei on this very day last year. So I suppose it’s actually Happy Birthday to the disease, rather than the virus, but by this time, who even cares about minor details like that?
You get one, you get the other.

A lot has happened since that guy decided to go for the fresh bat soup instead of the beef with noodles, hey?

55 million cases. 1.3 million deaths.
And those are the ones we know about.

And even though we’re twelve and half thousand kilometres away from the source and start of the outbreak, tucked away here in the bottom corner of Africa, we’re still on [check notes] day 236 of an ongoing state of disaster and lockdown. What an incredible timeline. What a weird world.

What a horrendous year.

To be honest, I much preferred those halcyon 120 days when the disease was raging in other places that weren’t here. But then I think we all much preferred those even more halcyon days when it wasn’t raging anywhere.

It’s not often that one can pinpoint the exact day that a new disease appears: most of the stuff that we get infected with has been around for hundreds of thousands of years. And so, despite the appalling toll which it has brought upon the entire planet, as a microbiologist, it seems almost required that this day is marked somehow.

It’s done. Let’s revisit this on November 17th next year.

 

EDIT: Oh wow. And look who shares this big day…

Cue the “who’s done the more damage to South Africa?” comments…

Eish.

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.

Day 142 – Cyril leaves it late

Here’s confirmation that cyril is leaving it pretty much as late as he can before address that lapsing National State of Disaster.

Just to be clear, if the National State of Disaster does lapse, it doesn’t mean that the nation won’t be a disaster.

That’s going to to take quite a shift in direction and an awfully long time to sort out. Not 4 hours.

Day 113, part 2 – Six months’ work

A quick look at this piece [paywall] from the Wall Street Journal, sold to me with this intriguing morsel of clickbait:

This is important because if you know how you’re likely to get the virus, you can avoid that behaviour and therefore be less likely to get the virus. Good plan, Stan.

We’re six months into the crisis (apparently), and hard work, studying, scientific analysis and extensive expert liaison during those those 180 days have told us…

THIS:

YES! THAT’S… THIS:

Surface contamination and fleeting encounters are less of a worry than close-up, person-to-person interactions for extended periods

Absolutely amazing. Thanks, Sherlock.

This groundbreaking research comes from the same people that brought you:

You’re more likely to be hit by a car when lying the middle of a motorway, than if you were lying in bed at home.

And the crucial lesson that:

The chances of you being attacked by a tiger are lower if you avoid jumping into the tiger enclosure at your local zoo.

Of course, you my still contract Covid-19 from surface contamination and fleeting encounters, be hit by a car while lying in your bed or be attacked by a tiger while not actually jumping the tiger enclosure at your local zoo.

It’s just less of a worry.

 

Don’t have nightmares.