The pandemic news from Britain: tracing, testing, and goals no one expects to meet

Britain’s Prime Blusterer, Boris Johnson, set a new coronavirus testing goal: 200,000 tests a day by the end of May.

Did we meet our last testing goal? Well, no. We were supposed to be testing 100,000 people by the end of April and the government mythically met the goal for one day–the last day April had to offer–by counting tests that hadn’t been tested yet. After that, the numbers dropped down again.

But hey, They’re all all numbers. What’s your problem? When you’ve seen one number, you’ve seen ’em all.

Anyway, we now have a newer, cheerier, even more unreachable goal. And we’re happy.


Irrelevant photo, because we all need something cheery in our lives: This is an odd geranium that a friend gave us. It only flowers after three years. Then it kicks the bucket and you have to hope you save some seeds.

Starting on Monday, the lockdown will be eased slightly, allowing people to leave the house more often and for a wider range of activities as long as they keep their distance from other people, although if localized infection rates go up, the restrictions may be adapted for those areas. (The link for that is that same as the one above. We’re all about efficiency here.)

Adapting the restrictions to smaller ares makes sense (as Almost Iowa pointed out in comments he left on an earlier post) but it’s also likely to mean that richer areas, which allow for more space between people when they’re outside and where people are statistically less likely to be hit as hard by the virus, will have an easier lockdown than poor areas.

And by areas, of course, I mean people.


I’ve been hearing tales, from here in Cornwall, about people who book Covid-19 tests, show up, and then can’t get tested. One person got to her test to find out that the testing team had already gone home, presumably because they ran out of tests but who really knows?

Instead of doing what Hawley’s Small and Unscientific Survey says half the population would do, which is , “Fuck it,” she booked a second test. But they didn’t get the results back to her, so she followed up. they were backed up, They said. It might take as much as five days before they could test her sample.

After five days, I’m told, the sample has to be thrown away.

But it’s all privatized, so it’s all good. Because when private industry runs things, it’s more efficient.


Okay, sooner or later I’ve got to write about the contract-tracing app that’s being introduced. I’ve been avoiding it because I’m too damn old to be at ease in the virtual world. Here’s about as much I can follow:

The National Cyber Security Centre says it’s good, and it says it in as down-homey a way as it can, given that it’s British and I’ve never heard anyone British say “down home.” It’s got to be an Americanism. Someone British might say “homely,” meaning not ugly (which is what an American would mean) but homey, but they wouldn’t say it in this context. I only tossed it in because I thought we needed a break. Homely isn’t the same thing as down home.

I’m sorry, but I have to ask: Why do you read this stuff?

Now, back to our point: The app’s so good that it won’t drain your battery, steal your data, or invade your privacy. It won’t even make you flip the E and R if you write center instead of centre. But that’s because it can’t–nothing’s that powerful yet. I only spelled it that way because, hey, I figure it can spell its name any way it wants.

Do I believe them about the privacy thing?

Umm. I think I’m gonna have to hear it from someone else first, and some experts have raised concerns about it. They know all sorts of things about this that I don’t, so in my ignorance I lean in the direction of listening to them. Especially since one of the reassurances about privacy is that the app asks your permission before it can do various things, and we all know how well we read the fine print when an app asks our permission before it can do something.

The app is a centralized one, so all the information your phone collects goes through whoever’s running this beast–a private company, as it happens, so it will be handled efficiently.

But forget privacy. I’ve clicked okay on so many websites that I doubt I have a scrap of the stuff left. Or if you can’t forget it, set it aside for a minute. Both the Health Service Journal and Business Insider say it won’t work on newer phones and Androids.

Both Google and Apple have dedicated tracing apps that we’re not using.

Downloading it isn’t mandatory, which is a good thing since I have a dumb phone, which is no better with apps than I am.


At a virtual summit organized by the World Health Organization, a global alliance pledged $8 billion to develop vaccines and treatments for the virus and distribute them fairly.

The U.S. didn’t take part.

Why not? As the kids all said where I grew up, “Because.”

That was enough to explain pretty much anything.


Stay safe out there if you can. I’ve explained this before, but it’s worth repeating: I don’t have so many readers that I can afford to lose any.

46 thoughts on “The pandemic news from Britain: tracing, testing, and goals no one expects to meet

  1. Original YT Interview has been taken down, BUT IF you are interested in the truth, take 1/2 hour to watch this before it vanishes! another Link source: Go behind the scenes with an experienced expert, virologist who worked under Anthony Fauci,director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. She was jailed and now tells all. All is revealed and be prepared for a future you are NOT PREPARED FOR! “Plague of Corruption: Restoring Faith in the Promise of Science,” April 14, 2020 by Kent Heckenlively and Judy Mikovits

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not a big fan of podcasts or even the news, which seems to get twisted…. However, I’m a big fan of truth, so hope you can hear this before someone finds a way to censor it. Stay safe!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m selective with my news sources, because so many of them are all about promoting a position, facts be damned.

          You stay safe yourself. And I’ve been meaning to tell you, I love the cat photo that’s been showing up by your name.

          Liked by 1 person

          • LOL that is Ms. Purrseidon …. she loves books. I agree with you on the news – IMHO over 90% of it seems like unsubstantiated opinion and/or twist facts.
            Believe it or not, Ms. P is a very odd cat – other than her love of books, she loves water. if you want to get to know that crazy one.

            Liked by 2 people

    • Dr. Judy Mikovits is a fraud, she is an anti-vaxxer (after saying she isn’t on the video) and has not spent any time in prison (she was arrested and released in one day, several days later all charges were dropped). All of her talking points on the video back up our President’s BS on the “Deep State”. When she said the way the virus is spread is by wearing masks because the virus is inside all of us and as we breathe we infect ourselves again and again, and the safest place to be is on an ocean beach with other people. She is disgruntled because her research on Chronic fatigue syndrome being caused by a virus and was struck down by peer review. Did you notice the questioner? All softball questions with his mouth slack-jawed. Watch it again with the thought of defending Trump, it will make sense. I have a feeling (only my feeling) it was put together by Stephen Miller. This video has no validity. If she spent time in prison with no charges brought against her she had to have had the world’s worst Lawyer. (Guiliani?) There are far too many people involved in this conspiracy for it to have any chance of working. Hundreds of people would have had to been involved in tossing her in prison and keeping mum about it. I don’t buy one word of it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • In 1980, Mikovits was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry with a specialization in biology at the University of Virginia. After graduation, she went to the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, where she developed purification methods for interferon alpha. In 1986–1987, she started working at Upjohn Pharmaceuticals in Kalamazoo, Michigan, working to develop production methods to ensure biological materials manufactured using human blood products were free of contamination from HIV-1. In 1992 she completed a joint PhD program in biochemistry and molecular biology at George Washington University.[ Her PhD thesis was titled “Negative Regulation of HIV Expression in Monocytes.” Mikovits was a postdoctoral scholar in molecular virology at the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, National Cancer Institute, under Dr. David Derse.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AND as per your ignorant belief that she was never jailed, On Friday, Nov 18, Dr. Judy Mikovits was arrested in Ventura County, CA (her home) and taken to the Ventura County Jail. Apparently as a result of a decision by authorities pursuant to a report by the Whittemore Peterson Institute that a crime had been committed.

        The charge? “Felony; Fugitive from Justice,” in another state (Nevada) according to sources including Osler’s Web author and blogger Hillary Johnson (, who has reviewed information about Mikovits’ case on the Ventura County Jail website.

        Judy was to be held without bail at Ventura County’s Todd Road Jail in Santa Paula until Tuesday, Nov 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm, when she would have a hearing before the Ventura County Superior Court. As it happens, that was the time Dr. Mikovits and her attorneys had been scheduled to appear at a hearing in Reno (“Whittemore Peterson Institute vs. Judy Mikovits”).

        UPDATES: Dr. Mikovits appeared before the Ventura County Superior Court on Tuesday, November 22 regarding allegations “that she wrongfully removed notebooks and other proprietary information” from the site of the Reno, Nevada-based Whittemore Peterson Institute, her former employer. See for example the Reno Gazette Journal article,

        Liked by 1 person

    • For what it’s worth, the US is far from the only country screwing this up, although it is (as far as I can tell) the only major country not to join the international effort. Don’t take it on personally. Do what you can. That’s all you can do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In answer to your question about why we read here, your last sentence is a good enough reason—you care! Beside that, you have an acerbic take on the world I can appreciate! Though it did take reading the full bit to understand the data app you were describing. It must not be a thing yet in the states—though I just experienced an attempted invasion on my computer from a program called AdGuard. I’d finally caved and allowed Google to “sync” my accounts as I was having difficulty keeping my son’s school pages accessible while my own email was open. The amount of privacy afforded by these “convenience coding” probably wouldn’t fill a thimble. *shakes head at where the modern world is headed*

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve given up on trying, except in the vaguest possible way, to keep my data private. If I can read past a notice about cookies, I won’t click it. If there’s someplace else I can find the information, I will. But if I want to read it and it’s the only way–to my disgust, I click okay. And don’t the companies that live off our data know it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yikes – this is all a bit too much down home for me, or homey. I gave up privacy before it was fashionable to even worry about privacy. I had hoped for someone to please steal my identity, but no thieves even wanted to be me. So far. Sigh.
    As for the testing for the coronavirus, unless you’re one of the “chosen” you are pissing in the wind, or however that’s translated in Great Britain. Unlikely to happen to the herd.
    I feel like taking to my bed with the vapors today – that is, if I can find any vapors left in the house.
    Stay safe, my friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Why do I read this stuff? I like your light touch in the face if desperation. Also the little bits about England. Growing up my parents lead me to think their families were English and that us how identify. Have to have some connection. Over here people are asking where your people are from. It was even on the census this year. I listed six European countries plus Wales and Native American.

    I have no idea how that app would work and still be private at the same time. As a general rule – phrase from law school – I assume
    everything that goes into my phone or computer is instantly in the public domain – my from law school- and could appear in the local newspaper tomorrow.

    Our numbers here on Covid go ip and down daily. To me the charts looks like a trend downward but I heard on ABC news last night that every US state us trending upward in cases and deaths. We worry sbout ghe safety of our grandchildren when they go back to school in August. Especially now with the cases of cardio problems in children.

    Keep the news coming . Your humor helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ernest. It’s good to hear. I haven’t followed state-by-state numbers, but I do see that the US numbers are still rising. I do hear your worries and I wish I could say something reassuring but it’d be bullshit. I will keep my fingers crossed. I offer what little I have to offer.


  5. I think it was Orwell who said if you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever. I think this needs to be updated to imagine a stamp booting a human out forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. i think it’s pretty clear that if the US was getting a report card – schools are closed, so we’re not, but if we were – the comments would indicate that “The US doesn’t play well with others.” I think we’re also failing history and math.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been enjoying your pandemic posts, and I love the flower photos. Keep them coming! Keeping my fingers crossed that the U.K. sorts itself out of the pandemic nightmare, but I’m not holding my breath. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The U.S. doesn’t play well with otthers at the moment. We are led by a stable genius who knows more about everything than anyone else. We are obnoxious to be around because we are superior. (I can’t find the embarrassed emoji, so please imagine it’s there)

    Liked by 1 person

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