Covid-19

Swansea has not escaped this drama and future generations will want to know how we coped. This is for them.

Day 1: Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the disease as ‘the plague of the many, not the few’, and was quickly replaced by Sir One-of-the-Few Starmer.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, cheek by Churchillian jowl, invoke the bulldog spirit and explain how, by displaying resilience, employing science and showing unity of spirit, they will work tirelessly to beat the beastly virus. We will overcome!

Day 2: Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock succumb to Covid-19. Dominic Raab steps to the fore with a new weapon against this pestilence: he glowers. And if that doesn’t scare you healthy, Pritti Patel’s steely-eyed shadow falling across the stage surely will. But fear alone won’t suffice: the natural response to Michael Gove is to step back and socially-distance, so his regular appearances have been invaluable.

Day 3: Premier league footballers, whose average wage is £60,000 per week, refuse to accept pay cuts to help their clubs survive a period when the revenue that pays those monstrous wages has dried up. Their motives are altruistic: the more they earn, the more tax they pay, the more money is available to the NHS. On this logic, indeed, we should give them a pay rise in order to do even more good. That clubs were beginning to furlough non-playing staff – i.e. asking the tax payer to pay their wages so that the clubs could continue to pay king’s ransoms to players – did not strike the players as odd. (Multi-millionaire) ex-players and pundits decried the media picking on players whilst giving a free pass to rich business owners. They seemed unaware that most businesses had crashed and that business owners often have more responsibility than to kick a ball about for a couple of hours each day.

Rant: most of us struggle to save anything at the end of the month after paying mortgage/rent and utilities and child care and transport and food and everything: put away £2500 per year, and you’re doing very well.

That means saving about £100,000 in the course of a lifetime. If you are doing very well.

A top Premier league footballer (who earns far more that £60,000) could pay his bills and still put around £50,000 away each week. Each week. That’s £2,500,000 per year or £25,000,000 in the course of a playing career of 10 years. £50,000,000 if they can put aside £100,000 each week.

It would take ordinary people doing very well 250 (500 in the second scenario) years to accumulate that amount. Seems unfair, but that’s how the NHS is funded.

Days 32: A succession of people, all of whom are currently working and earning as normal, take to the podium to exhort obedience to the rules. A Derbyshire police drone reveals people walking dogs in deserted Peak District landscapes: this activity is NOT ESSENTIAL, and Covid-19 punishes those engaged in non-essential activities whilst sparing those in essential tasks such as filming people walking dogs in deserted Peak District landscapes. Plod, Plod, Plod; this is not why we bought you a drone.

Sagefright: the fear of the consequences of announcements made by well-dressed prosperous scientists and politicians from behind a barrage of microphones on a stage.

Conspiracy theorists atttack phone masts and BT engineers because they are convinced that 5G is causing the virus: the government denies it, but then they would, wouldn’t they?

These people are not just effing stupid: they are 5-effing stupid.

Day 33: DIY stores realise that, if supermarkets can change their operating procedures and still open to the public, perhaps they can too. What this says about the relative intelligences of supermarket workers and DIY store workers, I’ll leave to the historians, but the effect was to generate huge queues of people who’d been given the time and fine weather to do something constructive, but then denied the means. The day after the DIY stores opened, it started to rain.

Day 34: President Trump suggests that injecting disinfectant could be a cure for Covid-19. I suspect that it would indeed cure or at least take your mind off most things, as would a car accident, falling off a ladder, sticking a knitting needle into an electric socket and many other potential cures about which the authorities remain tight-lipped.

Day 35: The authorities in Swansea remain in lockdown, but not before putting in the measures to keep us safe. Recycling centres are shut because, as with DIY stores, no one has been able to figure out how to maintain social distancing at an outdoor site where a handful of people may, at any one time, converge to dispose of waste. Car parks on the coast that afford access to the spacious outdoor coast line have been taped off to encourage people to stay at home, drink alcohol, argue and watch television. I’m told that the dog poo bins are overflowing, but I can’t see how that could cause any problems.

Day 36: I see that the owner of a very large detached house with an acre of garden that cannot be seen from the road 250 metres away on the other side of tree-lined playing fields has made a significant contribution in the form of carving ‘Stay Home’ into his lawn. I only saw it because I was running round the playing field pretending I was a non-essential activity being pursued by a police drone.

If there are any Premier footballers who would like to contribute towards the cost of a massive hoarding facing this garden and stating ‘You stay home, you XXXX’, then please get in touch. I’m not sure what the final word in the message should be so will allow the public to make suggestions and I’ll use the most appropriate one. For the sake of a level tree-lined playing field, I’ll stipulate two restrictions: the word has to be four letters long and cannot contain more than one ‘n’.

Wave 2

If, unknown to you, you have a smidgen of a trace of virus in your throat or nose, but don’t feel at all ill, you may well feel inclined to describe yourself as healthy, in-the-pink, ready-to-do-a-hard-day’s-work-for-a-day’s pay. You would be mistaken: you are desperately ill.

A PCR test will find that virus and take the judgement about your alleged health out of your hands. Working on the likely probability that, sooner or later, you can reasonably be expected to rush into your local care home, smash through the ubiquitous Perspex screens and cough in the faces of any old and/or frail people you meet, you will be told to go home and isolate (self-isolate is a tautology) for two weeks, and name anyone and everyone you have either met or dreamed about in the recent past. These people will also have their earning capacities curbed.

Reason: the NHS cannot otherwise cope. If 300 people per 100,000 show signs of the virus, that’s a staggering 0.3% of the population: only 99.7% have managed to stay safe, despite all the exhortations to the contrary. If 1 in a 100 of the infected need hospital care, that’s a full 0.003% of the population. If 1 in 3 of the hospitalised need to be admitted to intensive care, that’s 0.001% of the population.

The NHS was never designed to accept 0.001% of its 67 million inhabitants: two million maybe, five million at a pinch. The problem is clear – the population is too big. The obvious solution would be to cull at least sixty-two million surplus people, but all the cullers are currently allocated to badger duty. The next best thing is a virtual cull – order sixty two million people to lock themselves into their own home. Crash the economy and all social interaction with it, stupid.

There are those who say that a more rational, simpler and much cheaper alternative would be to have used the time between waves one and two to increase CPU capacity. Those people are more dangerous than bovine TB and will be joining the badgers soon.