Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Lockdown 2.0, How China has eliminated the Virus, No Fireworks, Priti Patel's Bullying's not Pretty, Positive Vaccine News!

Lockdown 2.0

The second lockdown is much less fierce and shorter than the first and it runs from November 5th to December 2nd. Schools, universities, essential shops and takeaways are still open so the virus spread has slowed but it's still out there.

We are pretty much used to it all now. Our biggest frustration is the inability to see our children, parents and grandchild. My son and daughter-in-law had to go to a funeral so we were permitted to look after our grandson for the day which was very welcome.

On December 2nd, we leave lockdown and go into tiers which changes little for us. Restaurants and shops will be able to open in Tier 2 and we can meet with up to 6 people outside in the cold. Doesn't help us much. Then for 5 days over Christmas, up to 3 households can meet which will probably lead to a surge in contaminations and another lockdown in January.

How has China been coping with Coronavirus?

Geoffrey Verity Schofield posted this on Quora social media:

"I live in Shenzhen, and have been here since late January — my wife and I were on holiday in Malaysia and returned just before the party really started kicking off. There were thousands of cases in Wuhan, which seemed like a lot at the time, but now is a tiny blip in the statistics.

The airport had an atmosphere of wariness; but also of war. Almost everyone wore a mask. We were lucky enough to buy them early; places sold out fast. Our temperatures were checked many, many times per day.

Months later, there have only been a few hundred cases in Shenzhen — most days there are none. Now, they do track cases differently here: you have to be symptomatic to be counted, whereas in other countries the definition of a case is much more lax, sometimes seeming to go out of their way to count cases that might not even be COVID.

Still, there’s no doubt that the measures used have worked, and worked well.

Like many Asian countries, China has handled the pandemic rather well.

First, there was a very, very hardcore quarantine of the epicenter (Wuhan) for a long, long time. They locked that shit down. My wife’s friend lives there, and they didn’t leave the house for months on end, food was sanitized and delivered.

For an entire city.

She’s now about to have a baby this week — doesn’t take a genius to guess what their favorite form of entertainment was.

It’s worth noting that by any and all accounts, there was near zero disobedience of any and all quarantine rules. No suspicion of the government. No conspiracy theories. Mostly just full on support, or grudging acquiescence.

In terms of peaceful protest, a five second grumble is all you get.

Second, they had a less hardcore but still restrictive quarantine of other major cities. I could walk outside in a city of 15–20 million people and see twenty or thirty people in an hour, when I would normally see thousands. It was a ghost city.

Third, they relaxed these measures very slowly, and required face mask usage at all times, for all people. These were enforced socially more than anything, and there was almost no dissent whatsoever. Most of my YouTube videos from that time are masked for that reason. This has relaxed outside, but still more than half of pedestrians wear them. I do not, generally.

Fourth, they checked temperatures everywhere, upon entry to any business, mall, government building, park, communities, train stations and any other place imaginable. They still do. Mask usage is still mandatory inside buildings.

For a while, I had to write my name/phone #/passport # when entering any building or community. That’s thankfully stopped.

Fifth, people were genuinely scared of this disease, from the very start. This is somewhat abated but not much. Social media, through design or otherwise, scared people into being vary careful.

Sixth, they blocked their borders to many countries, fairly soon. I have friends who still cannot get back here, even with a residence permit, even if their spouse is here. There was significant xenophobia for a while; this has abated even as foreign cases skyrocket.

Seventh, they had a working test very early, and tracked THE SHIT out of any discovered cases, forced any and all contacts to quarantine and were generally very technologically proactive. If one person on a train tested positive, everyone in that car had to quarantine their asses.

Eighth, you have to show a green health code when entering many places.

Population tracking is dystopian as it gets, but it works in these types of situations. Everyone pays by phone (95%+ of people) and thus they know exactly where you’ve been, and exactly who else was there at the same time as you.

If you got corona, they can tell who was in front of you and behind you in line…last week at the coffee shop. They can pull that data up in seconds, find them, and quarantine them.

Mostly, though, it was a general mentality of “we’re all in this shit together” which some other countries didn’t have."

So that's how China and other countries in Asia are controlling the virus, saving lives and their economies.

No Fireworks

This is the first year I can remember that there were virtually no fireworks to be seen on November 5th. In fact, I heard nothing at all on the 5th, and on Saturday the 7th, just as the Ocado delivery driver was delivering, we heard a few bangs. Didn't see anything though.

Definitely Not.

Priti Patel's Bullying's not Pretty

I have never had any high regard for Priti Patel as she comes across as superior, over-confident and arrogant. So claims of bullying her civil-service colleagues didn't come as a great surprise.

More of a surprise was the Prime Minister's attempt to white wash and down play the report into her behaviour and her failure to respect the ministerial standards.

"Boris Johnson has said he continues to have "full confidence" in Priti Patel following a report concluding the home secretary had "unintentionally" breached the ministerial code in her behaviour towards civil servants. The report's author, Sir Alex Allen, has quit after the PM rejected his findings" BBC News 

Cummings has finally been thrown out after months of controversy. How long until Patel goes? Why do they always wait months to do the inevitable?

Positive Vaccine News!

On Monday November 23rd, the long awaited results from the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine were released. It has the following major benefits:

  • Efficacy of 90%+ when a half dose followed by a full dose were administered
  • Easy to store as no extreme temperatures required
  • Cheapest vaccine available (about $3) and suitable for roll-out globally - Astrazeneca due to produce 3 billion doses in 2021 at cost
  • Of the people who were vaccinated who went on to catch the virus, none required hospital treatment
  • This vaccine uses a safe method (not new) that has been well tested and has been in global use since the 1990's
The UK has pre-ordered 100 million doses and first deliveries are expected in December!

UK position is looking strong

Quote for the Month

“The long-term effects… I think would be larger than the long-term effects of Covid”
Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, speaking about a no-deal Brexit.

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