Day 283 – Sorting out the mess

We are back in Cape Town. We love being in Agulhas very much, but with there being no access to the beach, it was getting frustrating, and there’s plenty to be getting on with back in Cape Town.

And so we are back in Cape Town.

This seems like something of a waste though, given that it would seem that we’re not getting on with very much except lazing around the house and not going to the beach, which was pretty much what we we (and weren’t) doing in Agulhas.

Still, there’s the opportunity to get stuff done, should we feel like it. And with The Move now just a few weeks away (Covid-willing), there are certainly several (or more) boxes to pack.

But in the meantime, there are Youtube videos to catch up on, blog posts to read, some radio to listen to and some (phone and internet) calls to make.

Oh, and this – shared on a local whatsapp group yesterday – to look at…

which definitively and conclusively ties current Covid-19 hotspots to 5G coverage* in South Africa.



* if you ignore the current Covid-19 hotspots which don’t have 5G coverage.**
** and the areas which aren’t covered by 5G, but which are currently Covid-19 hotspots.***
*** but otherwise: yes, absolutely.  

Day 277, part 2 – Masks optional

We’re back down in Cape Agulhas, enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air (outdoors). It’s certainly less busy than we would usually expect at this time of year, but equally, it’s far from empty.

Once again, it does seem like the constant pleas to wear masks and socially distance are not being heeded here, and once again – surprise surprise – that approach is having a detrimental effect. I received this from the local CPF group last night:

Cape Agulhas has reached the stage where about 40-50% of tests done are positive. We appeal to patients who are being tested to ensure that they give the correct telephone number as well as answer their phones if they are contacted. If you are awaiting results, please remember that you are in quarantine for 10 days and therefore may not walk around. Unfortunately, results now take longer than expected, but please remain in quarantine! You are endangering other people’s lives if you insist on leaving quarantine!
There is a limit to the amount of beds available and people can no longer just be sent away to the next hospital. Otto du Plessis hospital and surrounding hospitals have almost reached their capacity and everyone needs to please take care. Those who continue to behave as before are endangering the lives of high-risk patients. It’s going to get even worse over the next week or two so please be responsible. Some of our patients have been dying almost daily due to Covid over the last few days, and we only have a limited bed capacity.

…from the Western Cape medical manager for Swellendam and Cape Agulhas subdistricts, which is fairly blunt and to the point.

40-50% positivity is pretty horrendous, but does at least indicate that people are being tested, which is the only way we can gauge the situation and protect others.

But you only have to drive around the area to see the behaviour that will lead to even higher numbers in the next few weeks.

Day 271 – Safety first pays off

I walked to the local shopping mall this morning. I wanted to go to a single shop on the edge of the mall, and I didn’t want to have to deal with a) parking, or b) walking through the mall once I had parked. I would imagine that retail sales are going to be sharply down this year when compared to others, but you wouldn’t know it to look at the crowds in the shops.

My idea worked perfectly: I didn’t have to go near anyone at all, my shop was almost empty and I also lost 6 kilos by walking back home in the utterly ridiculous heat.

Safety first is definitely the best option at the moment. I can’t explain how Covid-19 is dominating everything here. Hospitals are overwhelmed, the news is a single-track on repeat and we all know people who have got it and who have died from it. It’s right on our doorstep and since I wrote this just 2½ weeks ago, the situation has somehow become immeasurably worse.

While you can’t protect yourself completely, the idea that one should treat everyone as if they have the virus is a sound one. I have been putting this into practice (it’s actually not a big thing as a microbiologist, because we treat everything as potentially infectious in the lab anyway) and yesterday it paid off. Instead of being worried about an interaction I had with someone who has since tested positive, I’m completely at peace, simply because of the care that I took in our brief meeting (outdoors, in that SouthEaster, at a distance, with a mask on).

If it wasn’t for that approach, I’d be thinking about spending my Christmas Day (already in tatters) sitting in an hours-long queue waiting to be tested for you-know-what. All while (quite likely) feeling pretty crappy as well.

It’s worth the effort to keep yourself safe.