Tuesday 31 March 2020

Day 15 of self-isolation

We tested our generator today. It doesn't work. It was never going to be really useful, it's only a few hundred watts. If the mains electricity goes down and stays down, civilisation is over.

I managed to get onto Barclays Online (it was down on Saturday) to pay the Vatman a fine they levied on me for not sending in a P11D(B) form. I had sent in the P11D, but didn't realise that the (B) version was also needed. It's not that I object to paying my taxes, but why do they have to make it all so difficult to understand?

We're still fit and healthy - so far, so good.

Scam or not scam?

I got an email, offering a refund of £300-odd on car insurance. All I had to do, was give them my bank account number, sort code and suchlike.


But they also had in the email, the registration number of the car we sold a while back, so the refund was for that. That made me think that maybe, just maybe, this isn't actually a scam.

So I called our insurers. And it wasn't a scam, it was genuine.

So I gave them the rough side of my tongue on the issue of sending out emails asking for bank details. Apparently, lots of other people, including their internal departments, have told them the same thing.

They're going to send me a cheque.

Monday 30 March 2020

Day 14 of self-isolation

The Waitrose van arrived, with several baskets of supplies. Food mostly, but also some cleaning and hygiene stuff, some water (why?) . Fresh fruit and veg, including one very tiny packet of brussel sprouts, and a single banana. That's what happens when you shop online! But I'm very grateful to all the Waitrose staff that made it unnecessary for us to come out of isolation. I would have tipped the driver, but they aren't allowed to take cash.

So I sprayed everything with alcohol, and washed my hands twice, while ladysolly was stowing things in the fridge. So next door's cat gets a reprieve; we can still eat! The smell of alcohol dissipates in just a few minutes. Maybe it isn't necessary to spray, maybe I'm being over-cautious. But I did get 20 litres of the stuff a few years ago, so we might as well use it.

Seriously, though, we had adequate food to keep us going for quite a long time, including a couple of sacks of rice, which should keep for more than a year.

People are still dying in large numbers all over Europe and the USA. Perhaps also elsewhere, but maybe we don't hear about that. I say "large numbers" but I think we'll be seeing much larger numbers before too long. Spain and Italy are the biggest disaster areas, it's apocalyptic there.

I see so many rumours that are so plainly untrue. One Nigerian newspaper announced that the Queen had tested positive. Too many people think that if you're in a holy place, you can't get infected. There are too many quack "cures".

I got a phone call; the Maidenhead synagogue has set up a phone chain to check that people are OK. I reassured the nice lady who called that we were fine, healthy and had food. It's good that people are looking out for each other.

The story we're getting from the UK government is that if we get 20,000 deaths, we'll be doing well. I think they're right. Also, it will be at least six months before things get back to "normal". I think twelve months at least, and even then, things won't be the same ever again.

We're finding that we can manage without most retail shops, that delivery is an effective way to shop for food, that business meetings don't have to be in person, and that a lot of people can work from home. Air travel isn't needed as much as we thought, cruise ships are a trap, and we have to get organised for the next time a pandemic happens. There will be a huge drop in GNP worldwide, and likewise in the standard of living. The costs of this disaster will be paid for over the next several years via inflation, which is an "invisible" tax on everyone especially on the poorer people.

The German finance minister of Hesse committed suicide. He's also a Covid-19 victim, I think. And many people will die indirectly because of the economic repercussions of this. The drop in GNP will not be shared equally; some people will do really really badly. Someone who becomes homeless as a result of this, will be vulnerable to violence, disease and self-harm. At some point, we have to start thinking about the balance of harm. At some point, you'll start hearing that we should lift the restrictions on activity, and accept more deaths from Covid-19, in order to get fewer deaths from the economic crash. And at some point, that will be true. But not yet, and not for a long time.

Dominic Cummings has tested positive. Let us pray.

Saturday 28 March 2020

Day 12 of self-isolation

My new UV lights arrived. Bacteria and viruses are susceptible to hard UV light, so I've set them up in the utility room, and I'm currently zapping the post. However - I think I need something to hold them in place, so I've ordered retort stands from eBay. I was surprised how cheap those are, just over £5.

And I found another UV light rated at 108 watts, which is three times as much as the 36 watt lamps I already got, so I bought one of them.

Today, a huge rise in UK deaths; 260 killed by Covid-19. Things are getting really bad here, we're up to the levels of France in daily fatalities.

I found the "Please sir" movie on Youtube. 50 years old, and it wasn't very good.

Barclays online banking isn't working.

Friday 27 March 2020

Day 11 of self-isolation

It's a lovely sunny day today, and here we are huddling indoors. Summer this year is cancelled, owing to plague.

Another delivery arrived - more Dettol antiseptic wipes. I ordered from two different places, on the guess that only one would deliver - but they both did. Of course, we're using a lot of these now.

Yesterday I had fish, chips and beans for dinner. We had a can of Heinz beans that was dated to expire March 2020 (bought quite a long time ago) so we had to use it or lose it. Ladysolly doesn't like beans, so I had the whole tin. Yum!

Some people are hoping that when the weather gets warmer, this will kill the virus. A figure of 27C has been mentioned. But I have bad news for you; first, the human body runs at 37C, and secondly, if you look at Australia, where it is summer right now, the virus doesn't seem to be bothered.

This is what's happening in Spain. It's a very harrowing video. Doctors are being forced to decide who lives and who doesn't. 65 year olds are being taken off ventilation so that younger people with a better chance of survival, can get treated. The oldies are sedated so they can die peacefully, while still isolated from their loved ones. It's tragic. We MUST avoid that here, and the only way to do that is hand washing and social distancing.

I also ordered another UV antibacterial lamp, this one is 108 watts, much more powerful than the 36 watts lamps I already ordered. If you use one of these, make absolutely sure that you don't shine the UV on your skin or face. I ordered this one from Amazon.

American cases are now higher than any other country. New York is the next place that will be a disaster area. They are now taking this seriously, but the rest of America? Not so much.

Boris Johnson has the virus, and so does Matt Hancock, the minister for health.

Thursday 26 March 2020

Day 10 of self-isolation

One sister-in-law has the virus, although we can't be sure because there's no testing. But she has bad symptoms.

One nephew has the virus (very probably).

My first thought was selfish - we haven't been in contact with them for at least two weeks. My second thought was, it's getting closer. Soon, every family will be touched. Hopefully not fatally, but at least,with people knocked down for a week or two.

I've been exploring Youtube a lot; there's some great stuff there if you rummage around. I've watched all the Buster Keaton silent movies.

America looks to me like they still aren't taking this seriously; Trump is saying that he hopes the churches will be full on April 12. I hope to be visited by a unicorn, but realistically, it isn't going to happen. New York is turning into a disaster area. Ford is saying that they might be able to go into production for ventilators by June. This is a good reason for delaying the spread of the virus for as long as possible, but some USA politicians are saying that maybe it's worth sacrificing a few million Americans if that gets the economy moving again.

I'm so glad I don't live in America..

Italy, Spain and France are still disaster areas, but Germany is doing relatively well. 474 deaths in the UK, so far.

In the UK, we're doing as well as can be expected medically, and we're hoping to get 3.5 million Covid-19 test kits soon (meaning, a week or two). We'll see. But we're not doing well economically; the self-employed are being thrown under the bus.

Ventilator usage is still under control; we're at 50% capacity, so let's hope we can hang on there. And the Excel Centre is going to become a 4000 place hospital in the middle of London.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Day 9 of self-isolation

Today, I consulted the doctor (GP). It was a telephone consultation, and only took a minute. A while back, I had a vitamin D deficiency, so he prescribed pills for that. I finished those, and went on to tablets from Boots, 25 micrograms. But that's just a guess, so 10 days ago, I had a blood test. It came back as totally normal, so I'll just stay on the Boots tablets.

This is *SO* much more efficient than me having to travel to the doctor's surgery for this. OK, some things obviously need the doctor to actually see the patient, but this didn't. I think there's a lot like this, where either a phone consutation, or maybe a picture, is all that's needed.

Looking more widely, I think that when we come out of the other side of this crisis, we will have found that a lot of the things that we thought needed face-to-face for, can easily be done over the internet. Business meetings, for example. And maybe even conferences. Although it can't substitute for the after-conference session boozing in the bar!

I have a routine now for the post. I empty the mailbox, bin the junk mail, spray the letters etc with alcohol, leave everything except what looks urgent for a few days.

A parcel arrived today, with the Dettol spray I ordered. I told the driver to leave it on th eporch, then when he'd gone I gave it a bit of an alcohol spray, then put it in the utility room. I'll leave it for a few days then open it.

I'm getting lots of advice to stop smoking, which I cannot do, because I don't (and have never) smoked.

And my dentist called just now, to cancel the routine checkup due next week. But since I was just there last week for the extraction, that's not a problem! Dentists are cancelling all routine appointments.

The WHO is testing four possible drugs.

Lopinavir ad ritonavir
Interferon Beta

These are just possibilities; until the testing is done, we won't know which of them are effective, and how much.

I can recommend following Dr John Campbell on Youtube. He knows what he's talking about, and  is good at explaining things in plain words.

Pro tip: Ladysolly went for a blood test today. She got out of the car and put on a sugical mask. Yes, we know that this mask isn't going to do much to protect her, but the idea is, she looks like she might be infected, so people will stay well away from her!

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Day 8 of self-isolation

We're at peak lockdown now. All we need is for people to do what they're told. If they do, then we'll see the effects of that a couple of weeks from now, and the rise won't be as steep.

Tomorrow, I have a doctor's appointment. I't a phone appointment; he will phone me. It's about my blood test last week, to see if my vitamin D levels are OK, and what to do if they aren't. It should be a one minute phone call!

We're still seeing lots of people in crowds n the underground; it's hard to see how that could change, if those people have to go to work. And if they close the public transport system, how will NHS workers get to work?

I went on eBay and bought a fingertip oximeter. It tells you the oxygen level of your blood by shining a light through the finger. I hope I don't need it, but if someone gets Covid-19, then it hits the lungs and you have oxygen shortage. It might be useful to be able to report the percentage if need be.

I also bought some Dettol spray (that's what we always use for cleaning) and wipes. Apparently, you can't get them in the shops.

We had our first food delivery yesterday; mostly fresh vegetables (wrapped in plastic, because I prefer to know they haven't been sneezed on). Also a couple of packages of potatoes, and something I never thought I'd see again.

Instant mashed potato.

I sanitised the bags the supplies came in with alcohol spray, but not the contents. I reckon that we won't be using them for a few days, by which time any virus will have died. Then I gave my hands the usual soap-and-water wash.

Monday 23 March 2020

Day 7 of self-isolation

We did a couple of meetings today - via Facetime. One business meeting, one with the daughters. That's how it's going to be from now on.

And we got out of the house, and went for a walk - around our back garden.

I discovered that we're running very low on Dettol spray and wipes, and there's none in the supermarkets. But I found some on Amazon and eBay, and ordered.

I don't understand why we aren't testing NHS staff who are self-isolating because they have a cough. This takes them off the front line for a week or more, and for some of them, it's unnecessary.

Cases in China are coming down. And we all know why - it's because they took a very aggressive isolation stance, very quickly. Can we learn from that? Probably not.

Compare and contrast with the UK - last weekend, the weather was great, so Brits went out to parks and beaches and mingled.  We'll pay the price of that two weeks from now.
And the COBRA committee is meeting now - surely they'll do something drastic to clamp down on the idiots who think that "avoid crowds" doesn't apply to them.

Yes this will be a major curtailment on personal liberty, but these aren't ordinary times.
America will have a big problem with doing the same; the combination of the American attitude to being told what to do by government, and the widespread owneship of guns, will lead to a great many more American deaths that there could be.

We won't see a vaccine for at least a year. People making optimistic noises about "a few months" are basing this on hopes and prayers. We have to live with this until some time in 2021.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Day 6 of self-isolation

The government is sending letters to 1.5 million vulnerable people, advising extreme self-isolation. We aren't in that group, but we're going to ramp up our self-isolation a bit more.

This is the day that we usually go down to London to visit the daughters and grandchildren. But we can't, so we're Facetiming instead.

I offered someone some hand sanitiser, but she said she already had plenty, so I offered to fill up her bottle when she runs out. We're using a lot less hand sanitiser than I expected; it's great for when you're out and about, but when you're at home (which we are all the time now), soap and water is much better.

Incoming mail gets sprayed by the liquid alcohol, and left for a while before opening.

Weight is stable at 16st, 9 lb. Height is unchanged.

Saturday 21 March 2020

Day 5 of self-isolation

It's the first day of spring! Another day in paradise. But for many people, it's hell. I'm pretty good at not having contact with tons of other people, but I'm a bit peculiar, or so everyone tells me.

This is going round Facebook.

1. We don't know who originated this message.
2. The hashtag and the web address don't match. 

3. Whois is unable to validate the web address.
4. "" doesn't make sense, it should be
 4. There are some very bad people in this world, who want you to visit their web site so that they can auto-install a trojan or virus on your system
5. DO NOT visit that web address.
6. If you want to stand by your front door and clap at 8pm on 26 March, go ahead. I doubt if any NHS staff will hear you.
7. Don't share the message.

8. If you want to help the NHS, then avoid getting Covid-19. Keep washing your hands, and avoid other people.

HMG has told us that they're giving us a VAT holiday. That's not as good as it counds; they just mean we can pay late. But there are some other good economic measures that they are taking.

I found out more about what kills us. The virus goes to the breathing system and causes inflammation of the lungs as the body responds to the invasion by feeding more blood to the sites infected. This leads to fluid in your lungs, and you drown, even if you're on a ventilator that is pumping oxygen under pressure to try to keep you alive. Your body knows that it's not getting enough oxygen, and becomes desperate to get more; you thrash around, try to remove this thing that's over your face - you need to be restrained. It's horrible.

If you do survive, then you have permanent damage to your lungs, and reduced lung function in future.

It sound very similar to being gassed with chlorine in WW1. Soldiers drowned in their own lung fluids (there were no ventilators) and if they survived, they had breathing difficulties for the rest of their lives. And then Spanish flu came along in 1919 and killed 50 to 100 million of us.

So - we need more ventilators. There comes a point at which there is one ventilator free, and two patients needing it, and some unfortunate medical person has to decide which one gets it (the one most likely to survive, which might get simplified down to "who is younger?"). That is why governments are desperate for industry to make more ventilators, but we also need people who know how to use them, and how to adjust the parameters (percentage oxygen, pressure etc) for the needs of the patient at that time, and the needs change as the illness progresses. Such skills are not common, and need a lot of training.

However. It's spring, the sun is shining, you can go out into your garden and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

Friday 20 March 2020

An email from a parallel world!

I just checked my email, and I seem to have received an email that was  sent from a parallel world.

Dear Labour Party Member,

As you know, the Tory-owned media are perpetrating the hoax of a so-called epidemic. This scaremongering is being done to discredit your Labour Government, after our smashing victory in the elections last December which reduced the Tory Party to smoking rubble.

The truth is that there is a mild flu-like virus making the rounds, similar to last year and every other year. We have increased funding to our NHS by £350 million per week, and this will easily cope with any additional requirements. Don't listen to the panicking calls from the Tory Press or the biassed BBC.

Reports of  each case of the so-called "Tory Coronavirus" are being sent to the Central Committee for evaluation and are being dealt with strictly in turn, as is only right and proper, and if any individual is found to be afflicted with the so-called "Tory Coronavirus" they will be suspended from the Labour party after due process, for a period not to exceed three weeks.

Rumours are being deliberately spread by the Tory Press that there is a backlog of cases. This is completely untrue. There is no backlog, and the backlog is only 17,839 cases. A report is under preparation that will show, beyond any possible shadow of doubt, that our Labour Party is not suffering from institutional so-called "Tory Coronavirus", and although there might have been one or two infected cases, these are always dealt with swiftly and effectively by our normal mechanisms. Any promotion to the House of Lords will be completely unrelated to this report.

This so-called "Troy Coronavirus" is obviously for the few, not the many, and if we all stay calm and carry on regardless, remembering the Spirit of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, we'll be able to put this minor blip behind us within a year or two, although obviously the effects of the Tory Brexit will have substantial depressive effects on the economy, which we will do our best to ameliorate, even though the biased LBC will claim that the cause is the so-called "Tory Coronavirus".

Next May, we will be holding a meeting of the Labour Party National Executive on whether to close down our schools in order to slow the spread of the so-called "Tory Coronavirus", and we have tentatively pencilled in a session of the Labour Party in Conference next September to decide whether British pubs and clubs should also be closed. So you can see that your Labour Party is working at top speed to protect you, the British Proletariat.

Keep calm and carry on!


Day 4 of self-isolation

The face masks I ordered a month ago, have just arrived from China. So I sprayed the outside of the packaging with alcohol - probably not necessary because during the long journey from China to here, germs would not have survived.

I also sprayed the post, although I didn't bother spraying the junk mail - straight in the bin. I'm going to get through a lot of alcohol! It's just as well I bought a few gallons several years ago.

We checked the freezer, and I noticed that we had some freeze-packs stored. Those are things that you freeze, then put in a cold-box to help keep the contents cool. But since we won't be going on picnics for a while, there's no point in keeping them in the freezer. So we're going to use that extra space to freeze stuff.

I recommended the UV lamp to daughter.1, and she's going to get one. It'll be a nice way to kill the virus on things coming in, 15 minutes zap of UV, and 99% of bacteria and viruses are killed.

On the broader front - pubs, clubs, restaurants and gyms are closed. Schools are closed. More people are taking this seriously - I hope. Italy has 4032 dead, and we're a couple of weeks behind them.

On the economic front - Our government is announcing lots of measures. The Magic Money Tree is bearing substantial fruit at last. Where is the money coming from? Not from taxation, they've just announced a VAT holiday. No - it'll come from the creation of money. And that isn't anything as obvious as printing notes, it's done by the process of "Let there be money" which governments can do. But there's a cost.

If you double the amount of money in circulation, then after a lag (of a year of two) you double prices. We can expect a LOT of inflation; I haven't calculated how much yet, it depends on how much money is created, and it's still in a state of flux.

I'm certainly not suggesting that this is a bad idea. This is an extraordinary emergency, and we have to take extraordinary measures to deal with it. But we should recognise the consequences.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Day 3 of self-isolation

UK 104 dead, 2626 cases

This is what "exponential" looks like.

Tomorrow, all schools in the UK will be shut. We're being told "London is not being shut down.", which, of course, means that it will, not just yet.

We're being told "Stay at home". So that's exactly what I'm doing. But people aren't listening. They didn't listen to "Wash your hands" which you'd think would be easy to follow, and they aren't listening to "Stay at home". Yes, I know it's difficult to do, but that's what is needed.

Covid-19 isn't like the influenza we get each winter. You can get a vaccine for flu, and I do, each year, although if you're stupid enough to be an anti-vaxxer, tough on you. I also have the jab against pneumonia.

But there is no vaccine for Covid-19, and we're being told there won't be for a year. And a vaccine is the only way this will be stopped. It takes a year to have a vaccine available, mostly because of testing. We don't want another Thalidomide situation.

But here's my thought. At some stage, the risk from being vaccinated, will be less than the risk from Covid-19 for the most vulnerable. So we'll start vaccinating the over-90s, and if that goes well, down through the age groups. But it will be an extremely brave decision to use a vaccine that hasn't been thoroughly tested. So who will take that decision? It's the "Trolley problem", but large.

I'm 233 pounds, one pound more than I started at. Being overweight is bad for you - unless there's a food shortage, in which case I'll be glad of it.

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Day 2 of self-isolation

I refreshed my prescription medications (nothing serious, just eye drops and the like); I don't want to have to get them filled in the middle of the four month isolation (and it could be longer), because that would involve going to the pharmacy, and that's a place where ill people are likely to go.

I gave a friend some hand sanitiser, because she didn't have any, and also some anti-bacterial alcohol. At this time, we have to help each other.

I went on eBay and ordered three ultra-violet lamps. I'll be using these to disinfect food deliveries. The box will be left outside, I'll bring it in, wash hands, then give the boxes a blast of UV to kill bacteria and viruses. Then I'll open the box, and zap the contents, because someone handled the bags and boxes of whatever inside. Am I being paranoid? I don't know, but it's an easy precaution to take. It's the self-isolating that is paranoid, and that's an official government recommendation. UK lamps are still available on eBay, I don't think many people have thought of that yet.

Why not use alcohol to disinfect? Because it's food. Also, I won't run out of electricity (see below).

I'm getting Coronavirus spams. The scum have latched on to this, and there are some pretty nasty things being sent out. Don't assume that computer viruses have gone away.

Malware warning

My last day of non-isolation was Monday. I had a most enjoyable (?) outing to my dentist to remove a tooth that was half-destroyed already, and cracked at the base, and loose because of the infection under it. It had to come out, and I was, of course, dreading it. The local anaesthetic injection stung rather, but the extraction itself? I didn't feel a thing, honestly. I got two stitches to stem the bleeding, and it's been fine ever since. I gargle with salt water, and with Listerine.

My weight is down to 232 pounds, I lost a bit because of theextraction.

A great way to celebrate my last day of freedom, before entering the castle and pulling up the drawbridge. Oh well.

So what will I do with all this free time? I have a couple of hundred books unread, partly from my last Christmas present, partly from charity bookshops. And then a couple of thousand I already read, but are worth reading again. And I have the internet, and electricity, and if the electricity goes out permanently, civilisation is over; good night and thanks for all the fish.

Best wishes to all the other self-isolators. Follow my blog to see how it goes.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Day 97 of isolation

It was a very good day today.

I finally trapped next door's cat, so we killed and skinned it and Ladysolly made a stew with this and the last of the cardboard that we're been living on recently. Delicious!

It was my turn to collect leaves from the trees in the garden. They're starting to look a bit bare, but needs must, because we ran out of toilet paper weeks ago.

More good news - there's plenty of grass. Yes, I know what you're thinking, humans can't digest grass. But I have a cunning plan. Cows don't really digest grass, they ferment it on one of their stomachs, and get the nutrients that way. So that's what I'll do. I cleaned out one of the plastic dustbins and stuffed it full of grass cuttings. Then I topped it up with hot water, and added yeast. It should be ready to eat in a week or so. Meanwhile, I've been thinking about the boots.

Some of my boots are real leather, and leather is edible, although a bit tough. But anything gets tender if you cook it right, so I'll cut one up and put it in the pressure cooker at 50 pounds of pressure, give it an hour, add salt and pepper and it should see is through until the grass is ready.

When, oh when will this all end?

Friday 13 March 2020

The economic consquences of C-19

If you take a couple of weeks off work, that won't affect the economy. If a million people take weeks off, that has a big effect.

You'll have heard that the stock market has plummeted; that's because people are expecting profits to fall. Or even turn into losses.

Airlines are being hit very hard; they have to pay their staff and service their loans in the face of demand falling off a cliff. Some staff might be let go.

If schools are closed, then parents will have to find childcare, so a lot of parents will have to stay at home.

The hospitality industry (tourism, hotels, restaurants, pubs etc) is already hard hit; that will get worse.

People taking time off work to self-isolate will get sick pay (unless they don't; self-employed people won't). The sick pay comes from businesses who are seeing a fall in demand, and an absent work-force. Many small businesses won't survive, especially those that are already struggling.

I believe we should expect a major fall in economic activity. Brexit is a hiccup compared to this.

Bottom line? You can hold me to account at this time next year.

This is a cull on the weak, both in terms of health and the economy.

In the UK, half the population will be infected, most will recover. Fatality rate will be a million deaths; mostly those with poor health (especially respiratory problems) and the elderly. I'm hoping that I won't be one of that one million.

Unemployment today is 3.8%. I would not be surprised if it rose to 10% or even more, with a GDP contraction of 10 or 15%.

Looking to the future with C-19

I am not a medical doctor. These are my opinions, based on watching what has been happening, on internet research of numbers and infection mechanisms, and on a model based on the standard epidemiological differential equations (available if you want a copy).

Most people are infectable by this virus; I'm guessing that 40 to 80% of people will be infected; this is what most medical people are saying.

Those who avoid infection, will be those who are best able to stay away from other people, which is going to be VERY difficult, see below. Hand hygiene will help.

The number of known-infected people has been rising by about 30% per day in countries that have started along this road.

In the UK, there are 798 known cases and 10 deaths. In general, the fatality rate is 2 or 3%, mostly with people who have preconditions, or are elderly.

I ran the epidemiological equations, and it looks like the infections ate will peak in something like two months (plus or minus a month).

Most people, if they get infected, will experience mild symptoms (or none). Some will feel quite ill, like a bad dose of flu. Some will be hit so hard that they will need hospitalisation because of breathing difficulties.

The health services of each country will be swamped at the peak infection numbers; most people needing hospital, won't be able to get help. No country has the level of medical facilities to deal with this. So, fatality rates will increase during the peak. I don't know how much; my guess is quite a lot.

So, if you already have a breathing issue, you are most at risk. behave accordingly.

What can you do if you're a vulnerable person? Avoid other people as much as you can. Don;t go out if you can avoid it. Hand sanitise (soap and water). Find out how to do that.
Expect this to last months, not days or weeks. Even after the peak (in 2-4 months), there will be a large number of cases. So expect to hunker down for several months.

I did some maths, using the SIR model by Kernack and McKendrick (google it if interested). I am not medically trained; but I can do some maths.

My assumptions are:

Total population is 60 million (UK). Scale it for your numbers.

All are susceptible at the start

Infection rate now is 25% increase per day

People remain infectious for 30 days

People don't get re-infected.

People are taking the same precautions in future, as they are now (in terms of isolation, hand washing etc).

Everyone is equally probable to get infected.

There is no vaccination available

The numbers along the bottom are days from today

So I get the peak in 2 or three months, then tailing off. At the peak, about half the population is infected.

This says nothing about how severe the symptoms are (I understand that for most people, the symptoms are mild).

This says nothing about the fatality rate, which I understand is worse among the elderly, and those with prior conditions.

But it is clear that at some point, the health services will be overwhelmed and unable to cope, and that will mean less availability of intensive care beds, and therefore a higher fatality rate.

Conclusion - try not to get infected during the peak period - even better, not at all. Eventually a vaccination will be available (and my guess is that the normal testing will be shortened, because the risk of an insufficiently tested vaccine will be estimated as less than the risk of not using it during that peak).

This is a graph of the epidemiological model.

My next post will be about the economic consequences.

Saturday 7 March 2020

Panic buying?

It looks like we're seeing 30% more infections each day. That's doubling in three days. The UK count is 206 now, that would mean 200,000 in a month, and the whole country in two months. Except those of us who are lucky, or careful.

So that's my forecast - this will get bigger and bigger for a month or two, with 3 or 4% deaths, so a total of between one and two million deaths by the end of the year.

The best way to stay uninfected, is hand hygiene.

I hear that you can't get hand sanitiser in the supermarket.

No surprise there. What happened was, people bought all they could for resale at thrice the price on eBay. The usual suppliers have run out.

A few years ago, I bought 10 liters of antibacterial alcohol on eBay - I got it really cheap. It's "hospital grade", and I got it for cleaning computers, keyboards and screens, plus to clean my hands while I'm out caching. Which means that I now have about 8 liters of this. I pour a small amount into a 50 ml container, and carry it while I'm out. I also use it in a small atomiser. We went shopping today, and I sprayed the shopping trolley handles before using it. You might call that paranoid, but the cost is very very low, just a quick pshhsht.

I also went onto eBay and bought some sanitiser gel, in bottles of half a liter. Again, I fill my small bottle from that, for use while I'm out.

Soap - no problem. I already had a cupboard full of soap, given to me by various hotels and suchlike. Plus I got several liters of ladysolly's special (and horribly expensive) olive oil soap, she says it's good for her hands.

When Brexit was looming last year, we bought an extra pack of loo rolls every time we shopped, and we're still working our way through those - when those run out, there's always the Times.


If there is going to be a problem, it will be food. If we can't get food from the supermarket, we're stuffed. But I'm sure that our government has thught of that, and I can tell you what the answer is.


They can't talk about it yet, because that really would trigger panic buying, but it would be an unthinking government that wasn't already planning for food rationing. Because that's the only way to get fair shares for all.

If this crisis only lasts for six months, I think I'll be OK - I have about 40 pounds of fat that I can draw on, so I can survive on a very low calorie diet.