Day 66, Part 2 – Pigs

We (humans) are not the only ones in South Africa struggling with a virus problem.

There are now outbreaks of African Swine Fever in three provinces: Eastern Cape, the Free State and Mpumalanga. And so the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (broad portfolio, bru) are advising that pigs are subjected to some of the same restrictions as humans to avoid the further spread of the virus:

There you have it.

Socially distance and self-isolate your pigs. Disinfect their surroundings regularly.

Keep them off beaches and out of National Parks. Ensure they wash their trotters for at least 30 seconds at a time. Don’t (or do) (or don’t) allow them to go back to school. Cook their food thoroughly.

Ensure they wear a mask and only exercise between 6-9am. Quarantine them where necessary. Only allow them to buy alcohol on Level 3. Keep them away from warthogs.

NEVER LET THEM SMOKE CIGARETTES.

Do not get them wet or feed them after midnight.

 

Right. I think that covers everything. Bring on the next viral pandemic.

Day 62 – A bizarre decision

Last night, the President announced that from June 1st, religious gatherings of up to 50 people would be permitted again.

I’m going to get straight in there and suggest that this is a stupid, populist decision which will mean more Covid-19 hotspots, more pressure on the health services and more deaths.

Throughout the lockdown, the SA government has made a number of decisions which appear to have absolutely no basis whatsoever in science or reason.

– You can buy closed-toed shoes, but not flip-flops. Why?
– You can’t buy cigarettes “because they are not healthy”, but alcohol can go on sale again on Monday. Silly.
– You can only exercise between 6 and 9am. Even though busy pavements make for greater risk of infection.

But this one is different.
This one has got scientific evidence all over it: it’s just that the evidence all points to not allowing religious gatherings of up to 50 people.

Churches and places of worship all over the world have been highlighted as epicentres of infection since the pandemic began:

In France: “‘Spreading at our church was so strong’, says French doctor infected with COVID-19”

In Germany: “More Than 100 in Germany Found to Be Infected With Coronavirus After Church’s Services”

Already infamously, in Korea: “Why a South Korean Church Was the Perfect Petri Dish for Coronavirus”

In the USA: “California megachurch linked to spread of more than 70 coronavirus cases”

And in… er… South Africa: “Entire church congregation being traced in response to coronavirus in Free State”

And they allow this, now? Really?

(We would have more cases if we had any test kits left to use to detect them.)

It might seem that I’m only singling out religious gatherings for criticism here, but it wasn’t me that chose that. Cyril did that when he told us that they’re the only gatherings which will be allowed.

I might rail against family braais, but I don’t have to, because I can’t have a family braai in my back garden with 2 visitors who I know have been observing all the rules and regulations for 9 weeks in case we spread the infection.
I can, however, spend 3 hours in an enclosed space with 49 strangers, singing and dancing.

I would have shouted about them re-opening restaurants, but that’s not necessary, because my friend can’t re-open his restaurant for even 10 people to have a burger at lunchtime in case anyone there has the virus.
Still, it’s fine for the post-service Sunday morning tea to go ahead.

[A no contact delivery service is available, though.]
(for the restaurant, not the Sunday morning tea)

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t fight about people sitting on a beach, on their own. Sadly though, I can’t sit on a beach on my own. But I can sit next to someone who didn’t wear a mask when they went to the supermarket yesterday. Or the day before.

I’ve got nothing against religious gatherings. But the dichotomy stinks.

However, it’s likely that when Cyril comes up for re-election, he will gently remind the pastors of yesterday evening, and they will nudge (what’s left of) their flock to vote for him. Some method in his madness, then.

But it still really is madness.

 

UPDATE: An interesting take here from UWC’s Andries du Toit.

Day 53, part 2 – we’ve all done it

I mean… these things happen every day, right?

Oops.

Ironically, real fans were the ones who did realise something was wrong, bombarding FC Seoul’s official Instagram account as they watched the game on television.

“Just look at their breasts, they were four times bigger than those of normal mannequins,” one supporter wrote.

Ugh. Body-shaming mannequins now, are we? And how bad must the game have been for you to be repeatedly rewinding to check the size of the bazoomas on the lady in (appropriately enough) Row DD?

I’m still a long way from being convinced that there is a need or justification for bringing football back this season, but this sort of thing is swinging my mind to it being actually quite a good idea. Yes, more of this, please.

Absolutely fantastic.

Day 52 – It’s coming

The [excrement] is about to strike the [ventilation device].

I’ve mentioned here and here that things aren’t going very well as far as the coronavirus situation in South Africa is concerned.

But we’re now getting to the point where the calm before the storm has been fully exhausted and we’re at the start of the rough ride. We may unknowingly already be there: the data we (as the public) are seeing are probably a week out of date.

In parts of the Western Cape (and a few other select locations) the infection rate is completely out of control and my inside informants are informing me that testing isn’t being done quickly enough and that hospitals are filling up fast.

This is when the storm hits. So far, the health systems, though often creaky and held together with duct tape and goodwill, have managed to cope with the demand. That will soon end now, with both Covid-19 patients and routine medical emergencies unable to be treated as hospitals and healthcare facilities simply run out of capacity. The inevitable result is, sadly, more deaths.

And yet, people are still exercising here every morning without wearing masks, they’re going around to friends’ houses, sharing alcohol and generally ignoring all the rules. The fact that there’s a curfew even came as a surprise to one lady on the local whatsapp group this morning.

Incredible.

Like they’re magically immune or something. People just don’t understand.
People are going to understand quite soon, though.

An example: one (educated) individual I follow on social media said that she thinks she “has a cold or flu coming on”.
The next thing she shares is a photo of her out and about walking (completely legally), but…

Just no. If you are sick – stay home. Simple as.

Sure, your mask might limit the spread of the virus and (in all honesty) the chances of infecting people out in the open air are fairly small anyway. But why not simply reduce that possibility to zero by just staying in bed?

Maybe it is just a cold. But how did you pick up that cold virus if you have been taking sensible, anti-coronavirus precautions? Because what protects you against Covid-19 will also work against the common cold.

So if you have managed to pick up a cold (and sure, we all hope that’s all it is), there’s a warning right there, that you’re not doing enough handwashing and social distancing.

I was described yesterday as “a ray of sunshine”. I think (ok, I know) they were being sarcastic, and I really don’t want to get a reputation for being a misery and sharing bad news on here, but I’m still astounded that people aren’t taking this situation seriously.

That’s going to change real soon.

 

UPDATE: as if by magic, via twitter, here’s the perfect example:

That’s the [flipping] President in the light blue cap and there are some (oddly) sycophantic citizens passing him on his walk this morning. You will see numerous incursions into personal space, a complete lack of social distancing, and a cellphone being passed from hand to hand.

Like that’s in any way ok.

Wow.

Day 48 – Plenty to go around

There aren’t a lot of positives at the moment ( I shared my observations on that here). But sometimes, all you have to do is look at the glass being half-full, rather than half-empty.

Sorry… did I say “glass? I meant dams.

Dams.

I really don’t want to be the first to mention this, but we’re halfway through May and we’ve not had any significant rainfall in the Cape yet. It’s stirring up early memories of the drought we went through between 2015-2018. While the virus has been (rightfully) taking centre stage, there are so many other problems that are still out there – they haven’t gone away just because we’re facing a bigger challenge right now.

The City has been (quietly) keeping us up to date with the demand for water and the dam levels. As you might expect in Autumn, (hopefully) heading into the rainy season, the dam levels aren’t all that they could be and they continue to decline slowly each week with the population using water and it not being replaced at quite the same rate.

I’m sure you know how it works.

However, it seems that the Covid-19 crisis might have some very positive spin-offs for the impending dry wet season – at least according to FB commenter Joachim:

 

Look, he’s not wrong: fewer residents use less water.

Fact.

There’s plenty of evidence of people leaving the city and trying to head home to their family homes in the Eastern Cape. And indeed, piles of corpses overwhelming our local medical facilities are unlikely to bathe, water their gardens or leave the tap running while they brush their teeth.

Which will save a fair bit as well.

But am I alone in thinking that Joachim hasn’t really gone through all of the implications of the situation he describes in his comment before sharing it with the world?