Day 301 – Taking stock

Yes, this was meant to happen yesterday, but then a family emergency happened yesterday and so this didn’t. Still, on the plus side, we now have another day of data to look at.

Yesterday marked 300 days of lockdown in South Africa. Varying degrees of lockdown – from literally staying inside your house 24/7 to going out and doing most anything you wanted as long as it wasn’t between 12-4am – sure, but still a lockdown in some form or other.

So where are we now?

Well, that kind of depends on with when you choose to compare our current situation.

(Dr Ridhwaan Suliman’s twitter stream is a great local Covid data resource.)

Compared with 10 days ago: Great.
Compared with 10 weeks ago: Not so good.
Compared with 10 months ago: Also not so good, but, that was just before the first wave was on the way, and it was all very unavoidable, so probably not a very fair comparison.

Since lockdown began, we’ve lost lives, we’ve lost jobs, we’ve lost livelihoods, we’ve lost (what was left of) the economy and – in many cases – we’ve lost hope.

Given the time and the effort and the sacrifices, and notwithstanding that viruses are going to do virus things, it’s not a pretty picture.

Our often dysfunctional, often corrupt government has addressed the pandemic in a haphazard, illogical manner – not that I’m saying there was any given “right” way of doing things – and if news reports are to be believed (I know, I know) it has now also completely messed up sourcing even close to adequate vaccines for the country through its incompetence, which is unforgivable.

Our population has been asked, then coerced and then forced to adhere to simple steps to reduce the transmission of the virus.

The good news is that we seem to have now passed the beak of the second wave, and the positivity rate (not a perfect marker, but the best we have) is dropping off sharply. I’m hopeful that we can now begin to open up again, as was promised in Ramaphosa’s speech a couple of weeks ago, and again attempt to approach some sort of normality.

Some lifting of the alcohol ban would certainly assist the liquor and hospitality sector.
On that note, please read this from Jacques Rousseau. Lovely stuff.

The kids are already back at school, doing alternate days to keep the in-class numbers down (and then online learning on their off days), because they can, given that there has been no official gazetting of school closures (and probably/possibly won’t be, according to this), but they’d love to get back full time as soon as possible. That routine makes a huge difference.

Basically, as a country we continue – somehow – to teeter on the very edge of disaster. The tape that’s been holding everything together for years now is very much losing its sticking power and it does really seem like there’s not much to look forward to, despite those decreasing numbers.

Let’s see what the next couple of week brings.
Maybe I can write a more optimistic post if there turns out to be a bit more optimistic news.

Day 295 – Postponed, Cancelled, Delayed

I’m looking at my desktop today and it’s a pretty miserable sight.

School reopening has been delayed until (at least) February 15th. Our two were due to go back on Monday. That’s clearly not happening now. Whether we (as a private school) will be allowed to work online in the intervening period remains to be seen. My boy had 16 months before his exams. Now he has 15. That’s more than 6% of his learning time gone already before he’s even started and that’s assuming that we’re able to stick to that 15th February date and that there are no further problems during 2021 (ha!).

I completely understand the delay – and I support it – but what I don’t agree with is the alleged reasoning behind it:

That will be 2½ months they will have had to “assess readiness”. I understand that the situation is fluid, and I understand that teachers need a break after last year, but is there really nothing that they could do to prepare a little more in the interim?

And then, an email from the school – before all this morning’s announcements – confirmed what we already knew: my son’s school camp has been postponed. This is on top of two scout camps being cancelled over the summer break, and his school tour – a real highlight in his educational journey – being chalked off at the end of last year.
Again, I get it, but I feel for him and his classmates: it’s just really crap.

Emirates have joined the party and suspended all flights in and out of SA for the next couple of weeks, due to “operational reasons”. I’m guess that this is a combination of not being allowed to fly in or out during curfew hours (currently 9pm-5am) and no-one wanting/needing to fly in or out anyway.

But they could just have said that.

Those who thought that 2021 might mark any sort of recovery in our fortunes*, were wrong.

I’m not even bothering to look at the calendar at all at the moment, because clearly, there’s going to be nothing that is currently on there which is going to remain in place. There will be no concerts, no gatherings, no festivals. I won’t be doing the Cycle Tour or the 2Oceans Ultra Marathon again this year. Even a social braai is going to be an ordeal.

Ugh. What a schlep.

I might go and write some online quizzes to cheer myself up and bamboozle friends and family.

 

* I was not one of these

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 276 – On The Move

We’ve been told to keep ourselves to ourselves this Christmas, and we’re taking that advice seriously.

As I mentioned before, this is no normal Christmas at the end of a very abnormal year.
Hopefully, we will be well back on track by this time next year. Hopefully.

But it doesn’t really matter to us (or to Covid) where we keep ourselves to ourselves, and so we’re going to head down to Agulhas for a few days. None of the excitement of the Struisbaai New Year fireworks to look forward to, sadly, but still the beach and the braai and the sunshine. With the beach hours extended to 6am-7pm, maybe some early morning exercise by the sea as well. And that’s worth a lot.

I don’t expect that we will have any interaction with anyone other than the odd shopkeeper, much as we would here in Cape Town, and so I’m at peace with the fact that we’re leaving one home for another for a few days. We’re not putting anyone in any danger, and we’re keeping ourselves safe as well.

Check out my Instagram for regular* updates.

 

* T&Cs apply

Day 273 – Absolute Zero

Every now and again, thanks to the way that I have numbered my lockdown posts this year (remember Day 1?), a number comes up which clearly has a bigger meaning than just how many days we’ve been “stuck inside”.

273 is one of those.

And that’s because -273.15ºC is Absolute zero. Not the terrible alcohol free vodka, but:

the lowest limit of the thermodynamic temperature scale, a state at which the enthalpy and entropy of a cooled ideal gas reach their minimum value, taken as zero kelvins. The fundamental particles of nature have minimum vibrational motion, retaining only quantum mechanical, zero-point energy-induced particle motion.

Yeah. That.

There’s also a theoretical temperature called Absolute Hot, but since that is equal to

141,678,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Kelvins
(or approximately 141,678,499,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,726.85ºC)

I’m rather hopeful that we won’t need to address that in Days of Lockdown.

At least not any time soon.