Day 657 – Webcams

We’ve covered the Isle of Man webcams quite extensively on here, not least when some kind soul popped out into the cold to wipe down one of the lenses for me, using – it turned out – a duster on a pole.

Amazing.

Well, now I’ve stumbled across a channel on Youtube on which you can watch some South African (actually exclusively Western Cape) webcams – live.
Strand, Clifton, Ceres, Milnerton and Muizenbeagle are all represented with impressive HD feeds:

…(albeit occasional wonky horizons), and so you can check out the surf, the chicks and the fynbos from the comfort of your home.

Click through to their website and you can view other places like Durban, Pretoria, Kruger National Park and even Tau Lodge where we went, back in… (yikes)… 2007!

Happy viewing, viewers!

Day 611 – Travel

Twitter: “But it’s ridiculous! People are tested before they can travel!”

And yet, at Schipol…

Link

South African Minister of Health: “Travel restrictions are unjustified”:

Also the South African Minister of Health: “We may restrict travel”:

Trump bans travel from parts of Africa this time last year. Joe Biden:

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Today, Joe Biden announces ban on travel from parts of Africa:

I know, I know. Cheap shots. Low hanging fruit etc etc.

Maybe it’s just people called Joe…

But also massive hypocrisy and many clear indications that – almost 2 years into this whole mess – we (and by we, I mean politicians) haven’t come up with any decent methods of dealing with it. It’s all a bit scary.

Look, the likelihood is that this variant will be all over the world already. Just because it was only detected now, doesn’t mean it wasn’t already widely circulating.

But yes, I do support the bans: for the moment, at least.
Anything which buys any healthcare system any extra time – and therefore information – has to be used when we are dealing with new, unknown variants.

And then the political aspect, whereby the government has to be seen to be doing something. When BJ didn’t close the flights from India back in May, he lost a lot of credibility (yes, yes, I know) regarding the way the government was dealing with Covid.

People used it as a tool to avoid following guidelines: “Why should I bother if Boris is just letting the virus in anyway?”. I’ve said countless times during this whole thing that being a President or Prime Minister is not a job I’d want during a pandemic. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You are not going to please all of the people any of the time.

But then there’s an important caveat here: when the statistics, the information and the experts suggest that the limitations are not required, then they need to be lifted just as quickly as they were instituted. And that’s not an own goal; it’s not saying that they were wrong to put them into place in the first place: that’s acting on new information and data. Nothing wrong with that.
It must just happen as soon as some sort of all-clear is sounded, not 6 months down the line.

Day 608, part 2 – Worrying numbers

This graph, depicting Covid vaccination percentages and death rates for EU countries has been doing the rounds.

It’s pretty self explanatory, and pretty damning.

While Covid cases across Europe are spiking at the moment, there are two important things to take into account when reviewing the data: firstly, many of the cases at the moment seem to be in unvaccinated children (more reason to vaccinate them and quash that reservoir), and secondly, the death rates from Covid – when compared to the first wave (prior to vaccinations) – are thankfully much lower.

While we don’t have any means of stopping Covid 100%, using vaccinations (and other measures) is making a difference, and it’s clear from looking at graphs like the one above that countries are saving literally hundreds of thousands of lives by having effective vaccination policies.

Sadly, SA isn’t going to be one of those countries.

Stick us into that graph above and we’re sitting next to bottom at 35%. And we’re going nowhere fast:

It’s really looks like we’ve just given up. And sadly, that attitude is probably going to have some dire consequences over next next few months.

I’m running out of ideas to get people to get vaccinated. If literally saving your life isn’t going to persuade people, I have no idea what will. Well, apart from trying to avoid another alcohol ban, perhaps.

UPDATE: Now, this:

Well, no surprises there, given the numbers above. What a complete disaster.

Day 605 – Hello again, old friend

Here’s a little black worm.

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.

It’s bizarre and scary.

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.

Be sensible out there. Stay safe.

Day 600 – Nothing to see here

It’s Day 600 of our Covid Lockdown in South Africa. And what do we have to show for it?

Well, actually very little Covid, to be fair. Some of the lowest numbers since this whole thing began, which sounds great.

But while being very welcome, this favourable scenario is more just because of where we are in the cycle than specifically because of any government action.

Our State of Disaster (the government/legal definition one, rather than just the actual condition of the country) persists, much to the chagrin of those people on the internet. But the fact is, we’re just sitting here waiting for the Fourth Wave, at which point everything would be reinstated anyway. And there are actually very few limits on living our lives right now. A 4 hour curfew each evening is just about it. And all that keeping nightclubs closed is doing is delaying things a little bit as our frankly terrible vaccination numbers fail to make any measurable difference.

We’re in for another heavy lockdown sometime over Christmas and New Year and while everyone – most especially those people – will tell us “I told you so”, they’re the ones that have done the absolute least to prevent it. Every vaccine helps, and while we could be far in making people safer, and protecting our health service, we have to put up with fake news, hyperbole and hysteria from the idiots in the peanut gallery.

It would be hilarious to watch if it wasn’t going to start costing lives in the next few weeks.