The little black worm has raised its head and is looking at the summer sunshine in Gauteng. The little black worm is from the corner of the this graph:
Of course, the early bird catches the little black worm, but that feathery ship of opportunity has long sailed with an appalling uptake of vaccination and a complete disregard for rules, regulations and general common sense. And the worm might only just be looking up now, but the last 10 days have shown a steady progression of cases in Gauteng, which led the third wave in SA.
I thought that I was going up there next week, but now I’m not (not because of this). Equal parts relief and disappointment… ish.
We can implore people to go and get vaccinated, to protect themselves, their families and their communities, but we’ve been imploring for a long while already and it’s made very little difference. Even 271,000 excess deaths in the last 18 months don’t seem to have piqued anyone’s interest.
The fourth wave is very much on its way. and conspiracy theorists and tinfoil milliners will tell you that it’s because of something about tyranny and governmental control and chemtrails, but in actual fact, it’s just basic, beautifully ugly virology.
Gauteng took the brunt of an awful Covid day yesterday, with well over half of all the national 8,881 new cases being reported there. The figures were so bad that you could be forgiven for missing them as they leapt by almost 60% in a single day. It’s ok, I’ve got you covered with some detail and a quick MS Paint “red arrow” job.
Yowzers. I believe that is the appropriate clinical expression, anyway.
We don’t have any regional or hotspot restrictions in place and even if we did, they wouldn’t be observed or policed correctly, and it’s too late to make any difference now anyway. We’re in for a crappy few months: the third wave is in full swing (ignore that tweet at the top there) and will inevitably spread from Joburg over the coming weeks, the vaccination programme falls further behind where it needs to be each day, the President and his well-paid Merry Men (and Women) are hugely conspicuous by their absence, and to top it all off, everything – and I mean everything – is hampered by crushingly high levels of loadshedding. We’re due to be without electricity for 7½ hours today.
Let’s (not) lighten the mood with this little gem from the Daily Maverick webinar yesterday, shall we?
Here’s a rather grim warning from Prof. Shabir Madhi, member of SA’s scientific advisory council:
People are getting infected at a phenomenally high rate. It’s unbelievable. Not in my wildest imagination did I think people would get infected as much as they’re getting infected right now. What you’re going to see in Gauteng in the next three or four weeks is going to be really frightening.
When scientists and professionals use language like that, you know that things have got a little bit out of hand. He continues:
The number of people we’re diagnosing on a daily basis, which is still a fraction of the true number of people infected, is absolutely frightening. They’ll all end up in hospitals in 2 to 3 weeks from now.
In Gauteng, like many other places in SA, people are not avoiding crowded spaces, they’re not wearing face masks, they’re not ensuring physical distancing. That has fuelled the transmission of the virus.
Yep: Gauteng is the new Cape Town.
And while just a few weeks ago, they were laughing at us and calling us “Western Cape Wuhan”, they’re now dying in their droves.
Who could have seen that coming?
The rapidly opening economy, now including restaurants, cinemas, casinos and “personal care salons” flies in the face of pleas from the Health Department for people to stay at home. I’m sure that we’ll see spikes all over the country from this, though in the case of Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, they might be well hidden behind the exponential increases there anyway. The bigger worry for the Western Cape now is surely that people think it’s all over and give up any attempt to protect themselves or others.
Spoiler: This is not all over.
Because, as you can read above, even during the worst of it, the number of people choosing not to socially-distance or cover their noses and mouths while out and about, flies in the masked faces of the advice from the experts.
I have no answers. No ways to solve this. We’ve been through it so many times on here. Quite how much more the government can do to communicate the simple steps to reduce the risk of transmitting and contracting Covid-19 is beyond me.
For more and more people, it’s now just getting to the point of protecting themselves and their own families. Only go out and about if you really need to* – especially to anywhere indoors (good practical advice here, remember), because people are going to break the rules, they aren’t going to wear masks and they will come too close to you:
Don’t blame a clown for acting like a clown, blame yourself for going to the circus.
Although I’m very happy to blame the clowns as well.
* I don’t count casinos, hairdressers, cinemas and restaurants in this category (sorry Corné).
Google Streetview has spotted many interesting things in its time – see Aaron Hobson’s art here, for example – but few things could be more Gauteng than this apparent hijacking caught live in February this year:
Here in SA, where crime is often problematic, the private security industry is booming. Generally, they are quite good at keeping things in check, but the system does seem to be struggling a bit in the image above.
As Gautengers gear up for hefty tolls on their new state of the art car parks roads, those lovely people at ensightnetworks have launched a handy e-Toll calculator so that you can see just how much extra it’s going to cost the Vaalies to sit in queues all day get from one place to another.
Obviously, this e-Tolling is going to have a big effect when it is introduced later in the year and so I felt it was only right that Capetonians should also be aware of how much it will cost them to live and drive around the Mother City as well. I can like to assist with your financial planning for 2011.
We do actually have a toll road in Cape Town – the vastly over-rated and often closed Chapman’s Peak Drive – but since it’s tucked neatly away behind the Lentil Curtain, I’ve chosen to ignore it. Otherwise, your journey from A to B – and quite possibly to C as well – will cost you nothing. But if that’s not quite clear enough, I’ve done some rudimentary calculations and come up with this quick table to assist you:
From: Anywhere in Cape Town
To: Anywhere else in Cape Town
However, there may be some supplementary costs for Cape Town drivers:
Views of the Mountain from roads: R0
Use of roads that go to beaches: R0
Use of roads that don't go past mine dumps: R0
Opportunity for Dukes of Hazzard jump from unfinished freeway in town: R0
But it looks like there aren’t.
All of which begs the question: Why on earth do people continue to live in Jo’burg?