A Non-Lockdown Saturday In Beetley

It wasn’t that long ago that I was posting about lockdown life in Beetley. To be honest, it wasn’t that different to life before lockdown, at least for me.

Now it has been almost a week since ‘Freedom Day’, and not much has changed around here. On Monday, I collected an Indian takeaway meal from a restaurant we use. Staff were still wearing masks and face shields, and the screens were in place between tables. But the diners were not wearing masks of course, so I kept mine on as I waited for the meal to be prepared.

I went into Dereham on Tuesday, and did the ‘big shop’ at a huge supermarket. Around two-thirds of the customers were weaing masks, and all the staff I saw were wearing them too. They had an announcement playing over loudspeakers suggesting masks should be retained, and that shoppers should still try to social distance where possible.

I saw some maskless shoppers grinning at that, and all of those not wearing masks were quite obviously younger than forty.

Out walking with Ollie, fellow dog-walkers are still keeping a reasonable distance if they stop to chat, and we are standing at the side of narrow paths to allow others to walk by without having to be in close proximity. But the youngsters and teenagers playing around in the river or basketball court are behaving as if Covid doesn’t exist any longer, with close physical contact, and not a mask in sight.

Where Julie works at out local Doctor’s, most people are complying with the mask rule, which is still in force for medical sites. Only a couple of people refused to wear one this week, and they were not allowed into the building. In one case, a woman became abusive and aggressive, and the manager had to be called down to make her leave.

Next weekend, there is a big family party in the Watford area, in Hertfordshire. I wasn’t going anyway, because of leaving Ollie. But Julie was looking forward to attending the 50th birthday party, and seeing many of her extended family. However, that area has shown an alarming spike in Covid infection during the last week, so attending a party inside has become a worrying prospect. Wearing a mask in that situation is not much fun, so she will likely cancel her long-awaited trip.

This all goes to show that despite ‘Freedom Day’, the virus is still around, infections are still increasing, and many of those who didn’t want to wear masks are taking full opportunity of the relaxation of rules.

In many ways, nothing has changed at all, so we carry on as before here in Beetley.

Freedom Day

Yesterday was the so-called ‘Freedom day’ here. The ending of all formal and legal restrictions in England relating to the pandemic. The country has now ‘Opened Up’.

No more legal requirement to wear face coverings or masks.
No more compulsory soocial distancing.
Theatres, Cinemas, Bars, Nightclubs, Restaurants, all fully open with no more restrictions on numbers.
Outside and inside events allowed without any limit on numbers attending.
Families allowed to visit loved ones in hospitals and care homes after such a long time.

Not everyone was happy about that.

Those with health conditions that give them reduced immunity. Staff at care homes being told masks were still compulsory for them, as well as vaccinations being mandatory. People attending hospitals, health clinics, and doctor’s appointments becoming angry that masks are still compulsory in those places. Despite the high statistics surrounding the vaccination programme, infections are still increasing, especially among those who have refused vaccination, or are in the younger age groups.

To confuse the issue even more, our buffoon of a Prime Minister then announced that from September, anyone attending an enclosed nightclub will have to show proof of vaccination, or will not be allowed in. I can understand their anger. Yesterday, they could go to a nightclub with no vaccination, and no mask. In September, that will not be allowed if they are not vaccinated. It is crazy. Why not wait until September to open them?

Because of money. It’s always about money. Pressure from the entertainment industry, and drinks manufacturers, the need to open during the peak holiday season, and get in as much money as possible before new restrictions apply at the end of that season, in September. The holiday market is equally confused. You can travel to some countries with no need to self-isolate on return, as long as you have had both vaccinations. If not, you will have to self-isolate for 10-14 days on return from your holiday. That means a 2-week holiday requires up to 4 weeks off work, so is not possible for the majority of the population.

Travel on public transport was left to the discretion of the carrier. So in London, the Mayor has made mask-wearing compulsory on all London Transport for the foreseeable future. But in other cities, it is to be left up to the traveller to decide whether ot not to wear a mask.

It’s a complete mess, and full of contradictions. The government has shown itself to be both decisive and indecisive in the same sentence. Many are confused, and that’s understandable.

No other European country facing a steady increase in infections attached to a new variant has taken the chance to open up fully. England has become an ‘experiment’.

An experiment with the lives of its people at stake.

India and Covid-19: The Harsh Reality

Thanks to Australian blogger, Lloyd Marken, I have been following his reports about the pandemic all around the world.
https://backtothedrawingboardproductions.com/2021/06/26/covid-19-diary-one-in-three/

His latest post features a You Tube video clip from the news programme, ‘India Today’. This 4-minute clip shows the devastating effect of Covid-19 deaths in that country. Poverty is so severe that many cannot afford the wood to use to cremate the bodies of their loved ones. As a result, many corpses are simpy floated into the River Ganges instead.

On the sandy banks of the same river, thousands are being buried in shallow graves in the sand, covered by prices of cloth. Unknown, and unmarked, these graves are increasing daily, and when the river floods after expected heavy rains, most of the bodies will simply be washed away into the river.

This is not the sort of thing we see on nightly news bulletins in the west. But it is exactly what we should be seeing, when we still have so many people convinced that C-19 is a conspiracy, and are refusing to get innoculations. This is the reality of life in a poverty-stricken country, facing an explosion in numbers of deaths from the virus.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Opening up England.

Last Sunday evening, we ate out in a local pub. Our first restaurant meal since Christmas Day, 2020. There were disposable paper menus, table service, and the staff were wearing masks. Diners had to also wear masks until seated, and if they left their table for any reason.

In the nearby town, every shop is now open, although customers are still asked to wear masks inside when shopping. Despite the recent rise in cases of the Covid-19 ‘Indian Variant’ in some parts of England, it appears that the government is going ahead with its plan to fully ‘Open up’ the country on the 21st of June.

This will be good news for some companies involved in the tourist industry, also for service industries like wedding venues, and organisers of similar social gatherings. Nightclubs and other entertainment venues will be allowed to open with no restrictions on numbers, though wearing a mask will technically still be compulsory in many public places.

This new policy has made a lot of people very happy of course. Coming alongside a welcome change in the weather, England looks set to go a little ‘crazy’ as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

The lockdown rules have seemed to last for so long now, any break from the restrictive routines is bound to be welcomed.

But. There is always a but.

Having fun and adding alcohol to that doesn’t usually make for sensible behaviour, and keeping to rules like wearing masks. Being allowed to visit anyone, cuddle anyone, and to mix in large crowds of strangers may sound wonderful after so long, and the fact that so many have now been fully vaccinated will hopefully reduce any serious symptoms and cut hospital admissions.

But. Yes, another but.

There are still 8-12 people dying of Coronavirus every day here. That’s around 60-80 people a week, every week. And that is after all the vaccinations, and during the time when restrictions are still in force. In three week’s time, we could possibly see an explosion of infections once again, and a significant increase in the numbers of people dying.

Yes, I know we cannot remain locked down forever. Life has to go on. People have to go back to work, the economy has to start to rise from the pandemic slump.

But. The last but, I promise.

I for one cannot help thinking it is still too soon.

Covid

Please send some supportive comments to Arlene in the Philippines. Her and her family have all tested positive for Covid-19, and she is very scared. Arlene is one of the first bloggers I connected with when I started, and she is a great blogging friend to so many people.

DREAMS AND ESCAPES

Please pray for us. Josef, Jovy and I all have Covid. Mom is beginning to show symptoms too.

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The Nightingale Hospitals and Covid-19

When the government spent untold millions converting and equipping various large indoor spaces to provide specialist intensive care for for Coronavirus patients, everyone thought is was well done indeed. Using the Armed Services, the buildings were turned into hospitals in record time, and it was promised that they would take all the pressure off of regular hospitals, allowing them to continue to treat non-Covid cases.

That didn’t happen of course.

As the pandemic continued, and the death rate increased, little mention was made of the once-lauded Nightingale Hospitals. Then time passed, and it was discovered that they were actually empty of patients.

When pressed, the government claimed they would be used as testing centres instead.

Then they were going to be used as vaccination hubs.

Some journalists investigated, and found them closed up, guarded by security officers. When asked about this, the government claimed that they were being used to store PPE. And they didn’t even look embarrassed when they said that.

The government was lying all along. The Health Minister was lying all along. As they dished out lucrative contracts to their friends to stock the Nightingale Hospitals, most thought it a necessary expense to provide the care needed. But nobody told us when all the equipment was later removed, after only a tiny number of patients had actually been treated. Where is all that expensive equipment now? And what about the public money spent on the whole fiasco?

I found an article today that brings the woeful story of these ’emergency hospitals’ up to date. It makes interesting reading.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/nightingale-hospitals-covid-patient-numbers_uk_605a0dd6c5b6cebf58d220eb?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB

A Lockdown Saturday In Beetley

Next Monday, the lockdown restrictions in England will begin to be eased.

All school pupils will return, depite some opposition from the teaching unions. One relative will now be allowed to visit the elderly who live in Care Homes, though they must wear full PPE, and be the only ‘nominated’ visitor.

On the 29th, outdoor gathering will be allowed, with the previous limit on numbers (six) applying, and outdoor sports such as Golf and Tennis will once again be permitted.

In late April, hospitality venues such as pubs will be allowed limited opening, restricted to outside service only. Not good news for businesses that have no outside space of course.

A full return to ‘new normal’ is estimated to happen by midsummer, but that might change if infection rates go up again.

Here in Beetley, Julie had her second Pfizer vaccination last night, and my second dose of Astra-Zeneca is due in May. We will continue to wear masks where appropriate or complusory, and keep any social mixing to the minimum.

Some people are rushing to book foreign holidays, in the hope that full international travel will be allowed again. I still think this is very risky, but it is up to those people of course. Let’s just hope that they don’t bring back new strains of the virus, and start it all up again. Just for the sake of two weeks on a beach in Spain or Greece.

For us, including Ollie, it will be a week on the Lincolnshire coast, 90 miles north. It is not until September, by which time travel in England should be permitted.

If all goes to plan, this will hopefully be my last lockdown report from Beetley.

Fingers crossed.

Why It’s Not A ‘Real’ Vaccine

Much is made of the Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Astra Zeneca.

They give us some hope, but we have to remember that they are not a vaccine in the true sense.

I have been vaccinated against Smallpox, Yellow Fever, and Tuberculosis. That means I will not contract those diseases in my lifetime.

However, the vaccines offered against Covid-19 only claim to ‘reduce symptoms that could make you require hospitalisation’.

They are NOT a cure.

That doesn’t mean we should not have them. I have had mine. But it does mean that we will almost certainly have to have an annual booster jab, and that we might still get some symptoms of C-19. But hopefully, we will not require a stay in ICU. More importantly, we can still spread the virus if we unknowingly have it.

Just so you know.

This explains it better.

https://time.com/5937868/do-vaccines-stop-covid-19-spread/?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Vaccine Snobbery.

I woke up today thinking about Covid-19 vaccinations. I had mine last week, and many other bloggers were reporting on those received by themselves or their loved ones.

But that wasn’t the reason I was thinking about it. It was because I encountered a dog walker recently who asked if I had already had my vaccine. When I said yes, he wanted to know what type of vaccine I had received. I told him it was the Astra-Zeneca, and he seemed pleased. He told me he had been given the Pfizer, which was the ‘better’ vaccine.

The NHS here gives you the vaccine that is available on the day. You don’t get to choose. You don’t get to debate which one you would prefer, or to argue about the statistics relating to how effective it is. I am more than grateful to have received any vaccine, free of charge, and delivered early, painlessly, and efficiently. Whether or not one drug company claims better results is of no consequence to me.

But in a country where many are somewhat obsessed with having a bigger house, or a better car, it seems that Covid-19 is supplying such people with a new version of one-upmanship.

Vaccine Snobbery.

Get over yourselves, please.

Jabbed!

I am just back from the doctor’s, where I received my first dose of the Oxford Astra-Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

Although not in the current age group for this, I was ‘bumped up’ the queue due to many people cancelling their appointments because of the recent bad weather, and the local health authority geting their act together with a fast-paced vaccine programme in this area.

The best part was that I was injected by a nurse, and I didn’t even feel the needle go in. As someone who is usually terrified of receiving injections, that was a huge bonus.

The booster jab is due in around twelve weeks from now, or it may be sooner if they change their minds about that.

There are many possible side effects, according to the information leaflet. If I get any of those, I will let you know.