Britain’s back in business and to hell with the virus

Britain’s coming out of lockdown. Not because we’ve got Covid-19 under control but because it’s time. Because the hospitality industry is campaigning for it. Because too much money is turning to dust. 

Not literal dust. Pixel dust. Fairy dust. Money dust. 

Money, it turns out, isn’t a physical object. It’s not that stuff you keep in your wallet that you call money. Or it is, but that’s the smallest part of it. The biggest part–the serious part –is made up of pixels and numbers on a screen and stuff that disappears when conditions aren’t right. When the weather turns, when the wind blows the wrong way, when half the country has to stop working and stop spending. Poof: It’s fairy pixel money dust. 

Irrelevant photo:California poppies. Because we all need something to cheer us up.

And that’s why the country’s reopening. People who still have jobs will go back to work. People who have money will start spending (presumably). And to make all that happen, the two-meter distance we were told to keep from each other is now one meter. Because it turns out that the further we stay from each other, the more money leaks out into the open space and goes poof.

See, that’s what the economists don’t tell you. Don’t trust them. Listen only to me. I may not actually know anything, but I’m a lot more fun.

Anyway, we’ll all be fine. The virus has signed an agreement not to jump more than one meter from host to host. At least it has in England, In Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, it hasn’t. They’re still negotiating and have to stay further away from each other. Poor them.

Besides, even in England we’ll all stay two meters apart except when it’s inconvenient and money’s likely to disappear. 

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And since we’re in a celebratory mood, people who are especially vulnerable and who for the last three months have been told to stay home are being told that they can safely come out on July 6. They can go grocery shopping. They can see up to five friends as long as they’re outside. 

Why July 6? Because the virus can only count to 5. Why five friends? It’s complicated. But hey, these guys are running a government. They have access to the best expert advice. They must know something, right?

The free food deliveries that extremely vulnerable people were getting will stop now that they can emerge blinking from their homes. And if they were working before the lockdown, their sick pay will stop. In the most compassionate possible way.

Britain’s back in business. Get with it, people.

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Cornwall, where I live, has had relatively few cases of Covid-19 (with the emphasis on relatively; we’ve had cases and we’ve had deaths). But the visitors are on their way, wagging their big-city germs behind them. 

I don’t want to be a snot about this. I’m a city girl myself. I have nothing against cities or the people who live in them. And I understand why people who make a living off tourism are desperate to do business. But holy shit, how many people are going to die for it? And how many who recover will have their lives irrevocably changed?

Follow-up scans of people who’ve been hospitalized for the virus show that 20% to 30% have lung scarring six weeks later.

The scarring isn’t reversible. 

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Speaking of experts the government’s daily coronavirus briefings are over. In the last couple of weeks, scientific advisors had been pushed off stage and political figures quietly filled the gaps. Because the problem with sciency-type people is that they’re likely to say embarrassing things. So we’ve canceled the science. 

And then we canceled the briefings. They were only focusing people on the disease and from here on we’re going to be happy.

Happy, happy, happy. 

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As of June 23, 42,927 people in Britain had died of the virus. Worldwide, it took three months for the first million cases to show up. It took just eight days to clock up the most recent million, and by the 23rd that had taken us almost up to 9 of them. 

It’s hard to take in. And I can’t help noticing the contrast between our response to the recent stabbing of three people in Reading (pronounced Redding; don’t ask) and those forty thousand dead. Not that the three in Reading don’t matter, but we can take that in and there’s a tendency to shrug off the forty thousand as inevitable, along with however many will follow them.  

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Speaking on inevitability, an open letter in the British Medical Journal says a second wave of infections is inevitable and urgent action is needed.

Just before that was published, Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that he didn’t believe there was “a risk of a second peak of infections that might overwhelm the NHS.”

Notice the wording. Forget avoiding a second peak. What we need to avoid is overwhelming the NHS. He didn’t mention urgent action. 

83 thoughts on “Britain’s back in business and to hell with the virus

  1. It’s all going to be fine. Even without our ‘world beating’ track and trace system in place, we still have the much vaunted ‘Common Sense’ methodology, which I think can be summed up as:

    If you’re not seriously ill or dead then you’re probably well enough to spend money.

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  2. Wales is not coming out of lockdown. Our government is taking a more cautious approach – especially as we have 3 food processing factories (2 in North Wales and 1 in South Wales) were there is a high incidence of postitive Covid 19 – that’s a total of 250+ factory workders – in a couple of weeks! Who knows how many family and friends on top of that? Boris Johnson does not speak for the whole of the country on this – and thank goodness for that. :-/

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad someone has some sense.

      Food processing plants really do seem to spread this beast. I can’t help thinking that someone looks at the assembly lines (or whatever they have these days–I’m probably out of date) and says, “It’d cost a fortune to adapt them. We’ll just make it work.” I really hope I’m being too cynical in saying that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not cynical enough!! The unions have been saying all along that companies haven’t been putting social distancing measures in place – though it seems to me that processing – say – a beef carcass from start to finish along a production line is an ideal situation for keeping 2 metres apart. Our Welsh Government have really been on the ball here – except when bypassed by Boris giving statements to the media instead of discussing them with Wales and Scotland leaders.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Well, yes. I just read that businesses are saying they haven’t gotten information about how to open of “safely” in time for it to be useful. And I suspect they’d have been able to open the schools, at least partially, if they’d thought to discuss it with–um–the schools and the unions ahead of time.

          Idiots.

          Liked by 2 people

    • It would be easier with a sane government. Here, they talk about localized responses to localized outbreaks. It would make sense if the localized governments had the power to respond, but they don’t. And if testing, tracking and tracing were localized, but they’re not. And if we didn’t have idiots in office, but we do. I’m glad Germany’s handing it responsibly.

      Liked by 3 people

      • We also have many populist idiots here, each weekend these often right-winged people hold rallys against necessary safely regulations while shouting that freedom has been stolen. Ridiculous to hear (pre)fascists speaking of freedom. Not to forget all these dubious conspiracy-freaks who are now against COVID19 vaccines regarded as a police-state measure. Unbelievable stupidity!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yup – Cyberspouse got the letter yesterday, but as he us quite happy staying at home and not seeing anyone, with me organizing deliveries from greengrocers, butchers, local Coop, kind neighbours and Amazon, what next?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The more things open up, the more important it will be to stay in. Which is fine for those of us who can. But for people who don’t have that luxury–who are being shoved back into unsafe workplaces or who can’t arrange deliveries–it must feel like they’re just being written off. Because they are.

      Stay safe, okay?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Conflicting time for those of us in the hospitality sectors now encouraged to restart business. My own concern is tiny, and thankfully not absolutely essential to our survival so we can be more picky about what we choose to do, but I can’t help feeling that the ‘common sense’ and vague reasoning behind their guidance are all responsibility-avoiding rubbish.
    They’ve all got strong positions on thugs, statues and terrorism. Buggered if you can find any of them at all when it comes to asking serious questions about tens of thousands of extra deaths on their watch.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Johnson is a clueless clown, beholden to the power of money and financial interests. We aren’t in the best hands, are we? But at least we’ll be able to visit the bookies and bet on the date of the second wave hitting us.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yup. They offer a set of dates as options, people bet but they only pay out on winners. You’ve never seen a poor bookmaker, have you? And I discount presidents bankrupting casinos from that assumption.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I haven’t, but then I haven’t been watching closely. The most interesting betting I ever saw was on my first job. Gambling was still illegal in New York (or at least some kinds were) and some guy went around from person to person, taking money and making notes. He skipped me (wise: I radiated cluelessness), so I never did figure out how it worked.

          Liked by 1 person

          • It’s a mugs game. The punters never get rich, but the bookies do. The NHS Trust I used to work for ran some very good services for people with addictions, gambling being a big part of them.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I do, on a gut level, understand how addictive it can be. When I drove cab, there were always games of poker and tonk at the airport. I played once, won some money by pure dumb luck, and realized two things: I loved it and I’m a terrible card player. I never played again. But I knew people who’d spend the whole day out there, putting enough runs on their trip sheets to make it look like they’d been working.

              Liked by 1 person

  6. Please do what you can to stay safe. As you likely know, the virus is re-surging here in the US after states began “reopening”. Just yesterday we (Washington state) are now mandated to wear masks all the time, no longer an option when out in public, and there was, for the first time, the mention of fines if you choose not to play along.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hate to say it, but given what I’ve seen of people’s common sense, rigidity strikes me as a good idea. I hope there isn’t a lot of blowback over that from armed idiots intent on getting other people sick.

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      • My state is all about branding things in a positive light so the catch phrase with the masks focuses on wearing them because it’s important to you to keep OTHERS safe and healthy. While that’s a truthful statement, we also have a strong and loud group who yes, will push back with their guns strapped on in prominent view.
        Perfectly good reasons all to simply avoid people all together.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ellen, your posts ( and book- loved loved loved “Divorce Diet”) are my comfort in knowing that all the crazy stupid is not here in the US. Yours just comes with older buildings and a history of Jane Austen (my other Pandemic comfort).
    Now, I’m going to finish my coffee and go reorganize my closets for the squillionth time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow. Thank you.

      I haven’t gone as far as reorganizing the closets. They scare me. But I did manage one shelf of the food cupboard and we made room on the bookshelves for some new books. Since every place that would take used books had just closed, they all ended up on the floor, doing wonders for the feng shui of the place.

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  8. Congratulations on the successful eradication of the Coronavirus in Britain on July 6th. What an awesome accomplishment! I don’t think we’ve had anything like a national V-Covid 19 date since no one in the current administration believes it’s real anyway.
    So you do have that advantage – please keep us posted on July 6th and afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I always check here first when scientists get themselves into a tizzy. WWED – What would Ellen do? That’s the ticket.

    This is a smart virus. It knows who to infect, who to ignore and to stay in the slow lane on the highway.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. People who have jobs will be happy to be back at work? I mean, earning money is nice, but the risks involved in being around people seem large to me. Of course, like anything in life, it’s all about managing the risks and enjoying what you can. With 5 other people, of course. Stupid virus.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. from what I can tell, its a case of he who shouts loudest gets their businesses reopened whether there is common sense behind it or not.

    I am basically still in lockdown mind you…everyone else is going back to work around us and we are a little island of two people who have both been told by their work that they can’t come back for a couple of months.

    So I can’t go to work, because the desks are not far enough apart and it is useful for the only people who can translate engineer to remain healthy, but I could go to the cinema :-/

    I *could* but I probably won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow ! I thought the current idiocy over here about the virus was original trumpery (pun intended) but it turns out we are just following the lead of our Former Mother Country. Just another example of how American Exceptionalism is dying on the vine.

    Although WE do have a mile or two of New Wall and all of you only have that Old thing of Hadrian’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My countrymen apparently weren’t smart enough to figure out how to stand two meters apart so the virus has peaked here again. And what do we hear from the White House? We should stop testing then there won’t be anymore COVID.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m glad you mentioned the residual effects of COVID-19. Over here (U.S.), the emphasis is on mortality and the youth are out of control. No one knows how their bodies will tolerate the virus. The youth don’t know that they could end up with some physical deficit for a long time, if not forever. Thanks to individualism over here, we’ve got rampant community spread where mask-wearing was not mandatory. Now we’ve got travel bans against us. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What I hear from friends in the US sounds frightening. Not just the young people who can spread the disease but think they’re immune (they’re not, just less vulnerable), but the anger directed at people who do wear masks. Has the whole place gone insane?

      You’re right, the long-term effects can be frightening. Someone in the village who had it at the beginning of the outbreak is still running at about half speed, and she’s far from the most frightening example. No one knows what sort of case they’ll get if they’re infected. It’s like a grab-bag, only the prizes are almost all bad.

      Since the British government’s announced a loosening of restrictions, we seem to be going nuts too. Packed beaches and parks, fights, lots of alcohol. A little government guidance might’ve made it manageable, but planning isn’t one of our current government’s strengths. Mind you, I’m not sure what its strengths are–

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  15. I agree, this is about the economy, scientists have told the government clearly the risk is high of a further outbreak. The government aren’t listening. Or don’t want to!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. We must learn to live with the virus, to do business with the virus and to survive through it, we did it in the past and we will do it this time

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some people will survive it. Others haven’t and won’t. I have hopes that some of the research that’s being done will find a way for us to live with it. Without that, the choices we face are terrible.

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  17. oh gosh, I’ve been ignoring the news – not sure if that’s the right idea or not – focus on what I can control – diet, exercise, social distancing. The BMJ open letter is an eye-opener

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard to know how to get through this mess, but I’m a believer in following the news. Otherwise, the incompetence and corruption goes unnoticed. But I do spend a good bit of time trolling through for shreds-of-hope stories. They keep me (marginally) sane.

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  18. Great post. This virus has turned our world upside down. I live in western Canada. Where I live is about 5hours outside of Vancouver. We had very few cases…Until now. The removal of restrictions and the limitations on travel meant all the city folk decided to come to the smaller towns. The virus is spreading and I’m shutting the door. No more. I’m done with the idiocy. The only worse thing that could happen would be the opening of the Can/USA border….NOOOOOOOO! Thanks for letting me rant. Enjoyed the post

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m feeling the same way here in Cornwall: A wave of people came down here from assorted cities, wagging their germs behind them. They scare the hell out of me. I thought Canada had a better handle on this mess, though.

      Like

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