Wednesday 6th January 2021
Lockdown III started two days ago so I've decided to do yet another chapter in the Covid Pandemic blog. I don't anticipate daily entries this time, I think they would be too boring.
The lockdown followed on from announcements a few days ago when most of the country saw their tier level bumped up a notch. But as most people aren't sure what each tier means it was never going to be a game changer. At least a lockdown is clear in its intentions. It was anticipated really after the combination of a Christmas spending and mixing spree and the advance of a new, highly infectious strain. The results have been showing a rapid rise in infections for some two weeks now. Up until Monday the government had been urging schools to restart, and many went back for a day before closing again with the lockdown. So the government is being criticised for not acting soon enough - again. Daily cases yesterday were 60,000 and deaths over 800. Deaths will follow the cases curve so we expect well over a thousand in the coming weeks. The curves below are 7 day rolling averages so tend to be sluggishly behind the real situation. The cases curve. to reflect the 60,000, would end up just where this text appears.
New Covid cases yesterday still very high at 68,000 and deaths rocketing, 1300 yesterday and expected to go higher. Hospitals cancelling serious surgery to cope. In London 1 in 50 of the population has the virus. All very serious indeed. So we hunker down, take our Sainsburys delivery and wait it out.
Meanwhile in the US Vice president Pence is being pressured to remove Trump from office as he's incapable of rational thought. Failing this the Democrats will move for impeachment. And the virus is an even bigger problem for the US. Made much worse by a year of denial by Trump. In a way he has caused the deaths of many thousands of Americans. Surely there is some legal action that could be taken for such criminal negligence?
Wed 13th Jan
The trend continues, case falling - we seem to be over the xmas period peak. Hospitals are overloaded however and some are using hotels to get extra beds. The deaths, being 2/3 week behind the cases are still rising, up to 1,500 today - far higher than for the April peak. We are world leader in Covid deaths it seems (apart from Czecknia !). Just ahead of the US too. Interesting that Trump/Johnson led countries lead the pack. Just coincidence?
And Trump has been impeached - a Senate trial now follows but could be weeks/months away. Sadly some 30% of Americans thing storming capitol hill was a good idea.
And I'm spending a lot of time generating a family tree using Ancestris genealogy software, I hay do a blog on this.
Painting continues courtesy of Karen Rice, producing about four a week.. What would I have done without my new watercolour activity. Certainly not glassmaking in a freezing cold shack.
Sun 17th Jan
As the curves above show, we are past the peak of new cases, but whether due to lockdown or not is debateable. General opinion is that the lockdown benefits will kick in about now so hopefully case will continue to drop. If deaths are 3/4 behind the cases then we have a lot more deaths to come.
Wed 20th Jan
Cases still falling and deaths still high, so nothing unexpected. The gov. is pulling out all the stops to make the vaccine program a success, they can't afford yet another cock-up. I had my jab yesterday. Pfeizer, which is unfortunate as there is no data on the effect of delaying the second dose. In Whitty we trust.
Had our U3A science zoom today in which I gave and introduction to digital imaging and an introduction to genealogy. Very well received. I've actually finished my family tree for now. If cousin Ken provides the info on his immediate family I'll do an update. So I've sent out the data files to my family. Whether they look at them is up to them, maybe they look when I'm long gone.
And early today, Trump left the White House for his Florida retreat. Later in the day Biden & VP Harris were sworn in and Biden gave a wonderfully warming speech on the theme of unity. He has a huge list of problems but I think he's the right man for the US at this point in time. Feeling very optimistic for a change. And snowdrops are coming out!
And here are a few real ones from a local walk.
Sat 23rd Jan
Another cold spell, with snow overnight. Out in the mid-morning sun to take a few photos.
Covid cases still falling but nowhere near fast enough, and deaths still creeping up. We are bringing in more stringent border controls in fear of new variants. And the general feeling is that the lockdown will go on for some time. So we stay away from everything and everyone.
Monday 25th Jan
Down to -8C last night and a new snowfall. A sunny morning so togged up and we went out into the winterwonderland.
Cases still falling, deaths about at the peak now I think, next few days will tell. This curve from Saturday. Deaths/cases labelled wrong way round on LHS I now notice!
And for once a painting I'm really pleased with!
Thursday 4th Feb
Cases still coming down, but very slowly. Deaths coming down a bit faster now, possibly the vaccine is now having an effect. It's not helping the NHS though. Just over 4 weeks into lockdown III and I would not expect us to come out before March. The number of cases at around 20,000 per day is the level we had going INTO the tird lockdown. The right wing press is acting like it's all over for some reason. In spite of worrying mutations in the virus that could knock ouput the current vaccines. Already a consortium of big pharma companies is working on a vaccine with wider efficacy - there's going to be a lot more money to made here if any of the the mutations is anywhere near as bad as is suggested.
Their loss - as they say.
Perhaps someone reading this blog could click this link to run it and tell me why it's so nerdish/boring/difficult/whatever http://www.mecol.co.uk/P5js/Covid3/index.html
Went to the health centre today for a blood pressure test and to have blood taken for a range of checks. Blood pressure was bang in centre of good! Other test results next week.
Figures continue to drop - ever so slowly. I did a projection today (dotted line below) and it looks like early March before the cases get really low. Which will make it a 2 month lockdown, just like the first one. Concerns over the SA variant are fading, they've not found too many cases so far and we are at long last (12 months late) introducing proper border controls. The SA variant has everyone spookes as it seems to significantly reduce vaccine efficacy. I heard a theory that the highly transmittable Kent variant is keeping the SA variant at bay. Can't say I understand that.
Had the rest of my blood test results today, PSA, cholesterol, liver - and something else, can't remember. Anyway they were all normal.
Paintings keeping me occupied, just as well given the cold weather.
Mon 15th Feb
A sunny day and not cold so we had our first bike ride of the year. A loop to Rushock church and back. Seems like we've emerged from a cave, the weather has been so miserable these last few weeks.
Covid cases are still dropping but seem to be flattening at about 10,000 per day which is really high. Deaths dropping more quickly, possibly the effect of the vaccinations is showing. But it doesn't look like the lockdown will end anytime soon. Johnson is due to make an announcement next Monday.
Wed 24th Feb
The government anouncment was a bit of a damp squib really. Schools back early March and a slight expansion on family mixing but otherwise no change. Which is accounted for by the fact that cases are stck at 10,000 a day. Deaths are falling still but with cases so high there is a risk of the virus taking off again. We seem to be stuck. How to get the cases down is the big problem and sending all the kids back isn't going to help. Vaccinations are proceeding well - now up to 18 million. But if vaccinations don't stop the spread (an unknown ) they are not our salvation.
Wed 10 Mar
I've been heavily immersed in writing software for a virtual art exhibition these last few weeks so no time for blogging. However I might just have finished it all (unless someone comes up with a problem) Anyway the site is at a4pe.uk and the demo exhibition is at http://www.mecol.co.uk/A4PE/VA4PE-demo/. A site with real data will be activated in October.
So, getting back to normal as the saying goes. Normal being not at all normal of course. Another 4 weeks of lockdown ahead unfortunately. Deaths are falling nicely, no doubt thanks to a 35% vaccination level, but cases are stuck at around 5000 a day and with schools back this week we can expect cases to rise again. The question is whether it's something we can live with. A few weeks will have to elapse before we see what is happening.
Spent several hours today cleaning the caravan. The roof was covered in green slime and had to leave the central bit as I couldn't reach. Anyway it's now looking really fine. Only problem is that we can't use it for at least another month because of the bloody virus. Weather warming up slowly and blossom out in the orchard - covered in bees.
Covid cases stuck at just under 6000 a day although deaths still dropping nicely.
It seems my wonderful virtual exhibition software is not so wonderful after all - it won't run on iPhones. I've always hated Apple and now I have an extra reason to hate them. Trying to home in on the problem, I've been trying to get iPhone owners in the A4PE group to do some simple tests but it's such hard work. Like we don't speak the same language.
Painting continues although being squeezed a bit by my software. Here are a few from the last week or so.