It’s Sunday, the 17th January and we’re 300 days into the official announcement of the pandemic.
When I wrote my initial post about the first 100 days of Coronavirus back in June last year, I assumed (and hoped!) it would be a one-off…
…then in October, 200 days in, I found myself penning another, wondering if that would be the last?
Well, here we are, approaching 300 days – and although things are better in one significant respect (the vaccines are rolling out here in the UK) they’re much worse in another.
Why? A second variant (the Kent strain) is now sweeping the world; we’ve got 80% of the population moved into the highest tier – tier 4 and the Government put us all into a THIRD national lockdown from midnight on the 5th January.
The numbers tell the story and on the 8th January, the Government announced the highest number of daily deaths (1325) since the pandemic was announced (but it would get worse, less than a week later). 😥
Consequently, a new ad-campaign fronted by Professor Chris Whitty was launched to encourage us to follow the rules, and act as if we’d all got the virus! Serious stuff! 😕 On the plus-side, a THIRD vaccine was announced – MODERNA – available from the Spring. 👍
In spite of the vaccines. it does still all feel pretty grim and almost three-hundred sleeps later, there are still businesses going to the wall; the retail and hospitality sectors continue to suffer, and the NHS is struggling to cope with the rate of admissions. In other words, pretty much the same as the last time I wrote about all this! 😕
There is also plenty of criticism that some individuals are just not following the social-distancing rules and behaving as if they’re a) invulnerable, and b) it’s all over now because we’ve got jabs on the way! 😮 — As a result, I guess another lockdown was always going to be on the cards!
The difference this time I sense, is that with ‘version 3.0’ in place, ‘staying at home’ is becoming an increasingly frustrating experience for many, let alone another serious aspect of all the schools being closed…
…closed with the exception, once more, of kids from parents who are key-workers. However, under ‘lockdown 3.0’, there appears to be far more ‘key-workers’ around (yeah, right!) and consequently, schools are now overrun with pupils – and the Government has announced that they can’t be turned away!! 🤔
In the week leading up to ‘300 days’, schools featured pretty much daily in the news, with footballer (and hero-of-the-minute) Marcus Rashford once again using his status, and taking on BoJo, to remind ‘the suits’ of their obligation to those families who struggle to feed their kids.
Witness the fiasco of the free meal system introduced by the Government for school kids (after pressure from Mr Rashford). Just a few weeks after implementation, it was highly criticised in terms of quantity after one parent posted a photo of what was supposed to be “five days’ worth” of food.
On Wednesday, the 13th, we hit a new record for ‘deaths in the past 24 hours’ – a massive 1564!
Mask-wearing (‘or not’) became the new crime-of-the-century. This apparently simple requirement was being flouted regularly by some groups. Speaking personally, a recent incident witnessed by us in a local supermarket showed that this level of stupidity is not confined to the media’s obsession with the non-compliant ‘yoof’ – I just don’t understand why some people cannot comply! 😡😡😡😡😡
This week, television programmes specifically aimed at educating the countless numbers of kids stuck at home made an appearance. I never thought I’d see schools’ programmes on the telly after all these years! And from a brief look, they were very well produced 👍👍
Continuing the bleak news: in surprising news the UK was “taking steps” to keep out cases of a third new coronavirus variant recently identified in Brazil. As a precautionary measure, all arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela and Portugal were immediately banned. Cue the airline industry crying ‘foul’ and insisting on financial support.
In happier news, a boost to the number of medical locations offering the vaccine, on Thursday the 14th, as Boots, ASDA and Superdrug all signed-up to offer the jab too.
In a (rare pleasant) surprise, the speed at which the UK rolled-out the vaccine was impressive. Right off the bat, 200,000 daily jabs were being given, and by yesterday, the total number who’d received it so far was an impressive 3.5 million! 👍
With a well-publicised plan of who-would-get-it-and-when, it was all looking very positive! 🙂 Going forward, ambitious target of two-million jabs per week has been promised with every person vaccinated by the end of September. Wowser! 🤗
On Friday the 15th, we were greeted by the media announcing that there were now two more Coronavirus variants, courtesy of Brazil. Worst of all, some newspapers reported they were already here! (contradicting the Government). BoJo conducted a Press Briefing at 5pm where, as a result of these variants, the UK would prohibit ALL travel corridors from 4am next Monday – meaning no-one’s allowed in!
So, in summary, all faith was placed in the vaccines as our way out of this, whilst the government was damned if it did and damned if it didn’t, through numerous U-turns and contradictions along the way. It was all becoming a bit tedious and frustrating with the added downer that the weather of late had been horrible – rain, sleet and even a touch of snow. It’s easy to see that the population’s mental health has taken a battering. and hard to find any good news at the moment. Ahh well, at least it’s getting a bit lighter in the evenings! 🙄
With the assumption that the vaccines are doing their job, there was a growing concern from the public about whether they would actually work against the emerging variants. Government and medical experts suggested they would – but I’m not sure how they would have broken the news if the opposite was true???? Onwards and upwards ehh! 😁
And to finish, if we think England had it bad, beginning on Saturday, the 16th, Scotland had tightened things even further with much stricter rules for takeaway outlets and click-and-collect shopping. Some Scots are gonna starve!
I wonder if I’ll be writing again after 400 days??? – maybe see you earlier at the 1-year anniversary?? 🤔