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Showing posts from May, 2020

Coronavirus week 10 - 24th to 31st May

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If this blog is to be any kind of record of these times for me and my family, this week we have to record the furore around Dominic Cummings.  Cummings has been a trusted advisor to the Prime Minister through the referendum campaign and the General Election of 2019.  He is not an elected representative but chosen by the Prime Minister and only capable of dismissal by him.  It emerged some ten days ago that Cummings and his wife had driven to Durham where his parents live while they both had symptons of coronavirus.  They self isolated in a separate property on his parents' farm.  Prior to returning to London Cummings and his wife and son drove some thirty miles to Barnard Castle in order, he claimed, to test his eyesight before making the return journey to London.  The trip to Barnard Castle incontrovertibly broke the rules of lockdown.  He justified the journey to Durham on the grounds of concern about childcare for his son providing "exceptional circumstances".  In the…

Coronavirus week 9, 17th to 23rd May

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Week 9?  Well it could be week 29.  This is just what life is like now, especially here in Wales where the lockdown restrictions remain in place.  It seems that new infections and deaths from the virus are slowing but at different speeds in different places around the country.  London, which was the first place to have a surge in infections, has now seen a marked fall.  Here in North Wales the friend who is a front line NHS worker in our local hospital thinks that we might not yet have reached the peak.  In England the relaxation of lockdown has seen people travelling to exercise and meeting up in small numbers in outside spaces.  When I talk to my friend from Valencia she too reports the relaxation of lockdown in Spain.  In some ways it is almost easier when the rules remain tight.  There are no decisions to be made or risks to weigh up.  We are still here, still staying home.
Perhaps it is this sense of almost being left behind that has got to me a bit this week.  I don't mean by…

Coronavirus diary Week 8 - 19th to 17th May

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Well I was wrong about there being not a lot of difference between the arrangements in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Restrictions have been eased significantly in England with driving for exercise now allowed and schools to reopen partially in June.  The picture in England seems quite confused to me but that may be because I have not spent any time on the detail of the new arrangements.  Rules in Wales continue very much the same although we can now go out from home for exercise as often as we like.  There has been some concern here in Wales about people travelling into the country from England to exercise.  We were surprised to hear from our neighbours that in walking up the hill for their exercise the other day they had been stopped by the police who were clearly checking to make sure that they hadn't driven in from outside the area.  While where we live is very beautiful it is not very well known so I was curious to find resources being given to police it.  I …

Coronavirus diary week 7 - 2nd to 9th May

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Have we really been confined like this for seven weeks?  Sometimes it seems unbelievable that so much time has passed.  Sometimes I can barely remember what it felt like to get in the car and drive down to South Wales or Devon to visit children and grandchildren.  Perhaps we need to become acclimatized.  It is the old idea of the frog in hot water, not leaping out if you heat it slowly enough.  Clearly there are ways in which I have become acclimatized.  Watching footage of film from before the pandemic I am astonished at how close together people stand.  Some film of the crowds thronging the streets of London on V. E. Day, seventy five years ago, seems quite astonishing.  Did we really stand so close?  Did we hug and kiss and dance?  
Deaths have continued to rise this week, more slowly in hospitals, still quite rapidly in care homes.  Deaths as of the 8th May stand at 31, 587.  These are deaths where people tested positive for coronavirus so it is widely accepted that the actual figu…

Coronavirus diary week 6 - 27th April to 2nd May

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A strange week on the political front:  Boris Johnson returns to work after coronavirus.  His fiancée has their first child, a baby boy.  Official figures this week begin to include deaths in care homes and deaths now stand at 27,510 since the beginning of the outbreak.  There is much noise in the media about how we in the UK compare with other countries in Europe but it seems very difficult to be sure that we are not comparing apples and pears.  Reaching back into the skills required by my professional life, I am pretty sure that the reliable measure will be what is known as "excess deaths" which seems to be an internationally recognised concept calculated in the same way across most countries.  So we shall see as the figures emerge.  What does seem likely is that deaths from coronavirus in the UK will be high.
There also begins to be more pressure from the media for more detail as to the way out of lockdown and it looks as though some guidance from government might come tow…