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.

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