On this day - 16th March 2020
As we approach the anniversary of the first lockdown on 23rd march here is an extract from 'Coronavirus 2020 Vision - a complete diary and events of the COVID 19 pandemic.'
All entries were written live at the time.
MONDAY 16TH MARCH 2020
In the UK (bearing in mind these figures are a day behind), there are 55 deaths and 1,543 cases. In reality, though, there are likely 50,000 people with the virus as they only test those getting treatment. My hunch that it is a lot more than even that figure.
Italy and Spain are in total ‘Lockdown’ with all citizens on a 24-hour curfew. Italy has currently suffered the worst.
Coronavirus started in China; around thirty thousand have died there so far, but they seem to have broken the back of it, and only five died yesterday.
It is all getting quite serious now. There was another televised briefing by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson today. He tells us that,
‘Now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact and to stop all unnecessary travel.’
The new ‘advice’ from the government is that everyone
‘should not go out apart from exercise and then to keep a safe distance from everyone. (2 metres apart). They should work from home where possible.’
They suggest that to help avoiding the spread of the virus, everyone should immediately stop non-essential contact and non-essential travel.
They should avoid pubs, clubs, and restaurants. Schools are remaining open for now. Emergency services will not support any public gatherings over 500 persons, so they are effectively banned.
Further advice is given- if anyone who lives alone has a cough or a temperature above 37.8 degrees, they should self-isolate for seven days and remain in the house, separate from everyone.
If anyone in your building has a cough or temperature, then all the people in the building should self-isolate for 14 days.
In the wake of this, all theatres and cinemas have closed. The streets are pretty empty for now, but it will be interesting once people get bored if they creep back out. I suspect that they may have to start instructing people or make laws for this new strategy to work but let’s see.
The stock market has plummeted and is close to a crash; the USA has pumped billions into it and has dropped its interest rate to zero. The UK dropped our interest rate to 0.25 yesterday.
The latest research of the data indicates that while the virus has a limited impact on younger people as a whole, older people can be severely affected, particularly if they have an underlying medical condition. The concern is that older and vulnerable people will catch it from others less at risk. Hence the need for everyone to comply.
The real threat is the ability of the NHS to cope with too many seriously ill patients. The reality is that there are insufficient ICU beds to cope. The government is talking with manufacturers in the UK, such as Rolls Royce, to get new Intensive Care beds made, as there are scarcely any on the market, as the whole world now needs them. We are going to have to make them ourselves, it seems.
The potential indirect deaths that this crisis could cause for those who have ‘non-corona’ illnesses requiring ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds is coming into focus.
They are trying to limit the severe cases from an unmanageable spike which overwhelms the NHS, to get a ‘flatter curve,’ on the chart, with which it can cope. Why the hell we have so few intensive care beds, is a mystery. Other countries such as Germany have well over ten times as many such beds as we do. It is disgraceful and is likely to cost lives.
‘Vulnerable people’ are classed as those with a heart condition, kidney disorder, breathing problems, pregnant mothers, high blood pressure, people overweight at 40 BMI.
Although I don’t feel it, I guess I am at risk as I take blood pressure tablets, so I should be cautious. Forty years of smoking would no doubt have made my lungs a bit claggy as well. I don’t want to get it, that’s for sure.
I will severely limit going out of the house and contact with others, as requested by the government to try to avoid it and prevent its spread. I can read and write as entertainment.
The government advise against family gatherings, so we need to embrace technology. I will contact my offspring tomorrow to arrange how we are going to combat all of this.
Why does he not just order everyone to do this instead of giving wishy-washy ‘advice?’
Author’s retrospective note:
We now know that today was the day the Prime Minister received an email from Imperial College Oxford that if we were to carry on at this infection rate, half a million citizens would die! Hence the change of tone I shouldn’t wonder.
I was desperate to have my hair cut, of all things, and thought it might be better now than waiting. When I went to the barber, he wore a surgical mask as he cut my hair. These are bizarre times. I was grateful for his consideration, however.
Quote of the day:
‘No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.’ - Mary Worley Montagu.
To read more about the Coronavirus diaries or to purchase the first volume: