Blog Archive

Sunday, November 1, 2020

My Quarantine, Then back to Lockdown as I come out of Quarantine...

Understanding how to avoid covid-19 better 

This fascinating graphic in French newspaper Le Figaro, is based on data from the British Medical Journal.

We are now going beyond Mask-wearing, Hand-washing and Distancing, to a more nuanced approach as we get to understand how the virus spreads much better. 

The graphic overlays the amount and type of talking taking place (silence, chatting, shouting or singing) with the volume of people and the ventilation levels, leading us to see that plenty of noisy people in a poorly ventilated place still leads to a high risk of spreading the virus even when wearing a mask.

The graphic overlays the amount and type of talking taking place (silence, chatting, shouting or singing) with the volume of people and the ventilation levels, leading us to see that plenty of noisy people in a poorly ventilated place still leads to a high risk of spreading the virus even when wearing a mask.

Second Wave or Second Chance?

Whether the currently spiralling rates of coronavirus in the general public across most European countries is a second wave or not is fairly meaningless. What I think matters is that people accept that the visrus is here to stay, for quite some time at least, and instead of sitting back and waiting for 'things to return to normal' we accept that's not going to happen anytime soon. Instead we need to modify our lives so that we can invent a new normal that allows us to proceed with our business reasonably unhindered.

But to do that here are some basics that we need to accept without question:

Mask-wearing, distancing and hand-washing. And based on the earlier article and the fabulous graphic in Le Figaro, we should now add:

Avoid places with poor ventilation; avoid places where there are plenty of noisy people.

If we are prepared to accept these basics, I believe we can start to operate some form of new normal in our day to day lives. I see no reason why we can't do all of the following while respecting these conditions:

  • Go on holiday
  • Go to meetings - business and family
  • Go to the gym
  • Go to the cinema
  • Go to restaurants

However, in all cases, the providers of these services will have had to have made adaptions to their previous operations before they will have met the new conditions. It is a price worth paying for us to start to enjoy life again.

Let's stop moaning and just get on with it!!

Quarantine Day 1 - Monday October 12th

Today we flew back from France to the UK and this means we have to spend the next 14 days at home, in our house and garden, without going out for anything apart from a medical emergency. France, along with almost every other country in the world, is deemed too infected with Covid-19 to allow people who have been there entry into the UK without a 14 day quarantine period. This applies to everyone except for some categories of essential workers.

So following our peaceful trip to rural France to see elderly relatives, we must now self-isolate in Oxford whilst the students are out there partying and pushing the infection rate well above many parts of France.

I was going to paint a big red cross on our front door to alert the neighbours, but WhatsApp seems a far more 21st century way of communicating.

Quarantine Day 2 - Tuesday October 13th

I am struggling even further to understand why the rules say we must stay in quarantine. The two most infected parts of Europe are Liverpool and Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the infection rate is currently over 900 per 100,000 people. That's over 45 times higher than the trigger of 20 people that puts a foreign country on the quarantine list. Yet people can visit both of these places and come home again without restrictions. I have to stay in my home, whilst people in Northern Ireland and Liverpool can continue to go out.

Absolutely ridiculous? This is a clear inexplicable and unreasonable infringement on my liberties and my human rights.

Quarantine Day 3 - Wednesday October 14th

The government announced the new 3 tier restrictions in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus which is clearly getting out of control. The tier system is explained in the graphic below, and as usual it poses more questions than it answers.

Here in Oxford we are at Medium level although this is utterly irrelevant for me as I am not allowed out. The 40,000+ students currently at The University and at Brookes can carry on as before.

Quarantine Day 4 - Thursday October 15th

Today the government announced new tighter restrictions that will cover about half the population of England, including London at High level 2 which Sadiq Khan supports. Manchester is supposed to move to Very High Level 3 but the government and the leaders of Manchester are still arguing about compensation.

Quarantine Day 5 - Friday October 16th

I have ordered a PCR COVID-19 test kit for my wife so that she can prove after 7 days of quarantine that she doesn't have the virus. If she doesn't have it then nor do I but I am not spending another £120 on a test to prove what we already know.

Quarantine Day 6 - Saturday October 17th

We had a Facetime video call with my parents who live in London and are once again prevented from inviting anyone (i.e. family) into there home. And this time it's too cold to meet in the garden so they won't be seeing anyone until this set of restrictions is lifted. Luckily they have each other and are quite adept at video calls on Facetime, Zoom and Skype.

Unfortunately one news item today pushed the coronavirus coverage into second place. That was the de-capitation of French Teacher, Samuel Paty, by an islamist extremist outside the school where he worked in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 30km north-west of Paris. He was teaching his pupils about free speech and showed them a variety of images relating to a number of religions. These included some of the prophet Mohammed although he has suggested that anyone who may be offended should leave the class in advance.

Samuel Paty was murdered for his class on free speech

The French nation is in shock and a National Tribute to this popular teacher will be led by President Macron.

Quarantine Day 7 - Sunday October 18th

"Credit ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded Britain’s credit status, citing a decline in economic strength in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and continued Brexit uncertainty.  With the government struggling to contain a second wave and ministers under pressure to sanction extra spending to protect businesses and jobs, Moody’s lowered the UK’s sovereign debt rating by one notch to Aa3 from Aa2." 
The Guardian

Quarantine Day 8 - Monday October 19th

My wife is so fed up of not being allowed out - particularly when the chances of us having caught the virus are so much lower than large swathes of the population who we see out socialising and enjoying themselves in city centres, bars and restaurants - that she has just done a COVID-19 PCR test. We await the results.

Quarantine Day 9 - Tuesday October 20th

I am surprised that we are still indoors and not finding it harder stuck inside. The weather is not very nice and for sure that helps for once!

Quarantine Day 10 - Wednesday October 21st

It's raining today so really not tempted to go out! We are about to run out of milk - first possible minor crisis - but fortunately Sainsbury's are bringing some later on as part of our weekly delivery. We had a great chat with the delivery driver who runs a tourism business for Americans and others who want to visit places like St Andrews. Needless to say he has no business any more and that's why he is helping Sainsbury's for now.

My wife's COVID-19 PCR test came back negative. What a waste of everyone's time this quarantine is.

Quarantine Day 11 - Thursday October 22nd

My wife went out to the supermarket, her first time out of the house in 11 days. I am wondering if I should go out and wash the car. Big decisions.

Quarantine Day 12 - Friday October 23rd

There is talk today of Oxford being moved to Tier 2 lockdown restrictions as the virus passes from the students to the older population. Does this mean that just as I am about to be allowed out again I won't be allowed out? The local branch of Barclays has just announced its closure to the anger of some local residents. It is the last bank that remains locally. The city centre beckons for those who still need a physical bank.

Quarantine Day 13 - Saturday October 24th

Raining all day so no massive urge to go out. Infection and death rates are escalating rapidly all over the western world. President Macron says this will go on until at least next summer.

Quarantine Day 14 - Sunday October 26th

Clocks went back this morning which gives us an extra hour to drink Sidbury wine for my wife's birthday!

My youngest son went on a tour of the Sidbury vineyards in Devon and brought some back with him of course. Our favourite is the 2014 sparking red which has a 'strawberries and cream' smell and taste:

The bottle didn't last long.

My last day of quarantine so I will be going out tomorrow, just as the authorities are talking about reducing quarantine to maybe 7 days or 5 days plus a test.

Back to Lockdown?

As the month of October ends, new tougher restrictions are looking more likely as each day passes. France is going into full lockdown tonight and Germany is also implementing stricter restrictions. With the number of positive cases escalating exponentially across Europe, the UK can't be far behind.

Oxford City has moved to Tier 2 as of Saturday October 31st and there is talk across the media of a new National Lockdown being announced on Monday.

As we end the month of October 2020, it is looking as if we are back to the dire situation in March. How can we have learned so little and be so stupid? How is it that many Asian countries have fought the virus so much better? 

On the evening of Saturday October 31st, just before I publish this blog, the Prime Minister finally appeared at a press meeting to announce that England Lockdown 2 would start on the morning of Thursday November the 4th and last for four week. Here we go again...

Lockdown 2 is about to start

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