I have an extreme view on Covid. I know this. I know a lot of people won’t agree with everything here and some may share some or all of my opinions, but I want to be recklessly honest otherwise what is the point of my content?! Sorry for the wall of text this post will be, I just don’t feel comfortable making graphics for this topic!
Before we go, though, some quick news: it’s official, my move to Abernethy is now permanent; as of September 28th I’m giving up my flat and have already begun the process of moving all my belongings!
DISCLAIMER: I’m not medically trained other than basic first aid, what follows is my own ranting and opinion based on what I know and what my anxiety tells me.
I am usually a very far lefty when it comes to borders. I think border controls and limitations to crossing borders fosters xenophobia, harassment, and ‘othering’. That being said, Covid presents the only situation I can imagine (and have imagined… a pandemic has been one of my worry points since before Covid, so I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time) where I am an advocate for shutting borders.
This is not to say that I think English people and Scottish people shouldn’t be mixing (Scotland’s only land border is with England) but the regulations regarding Covid differ greatly between the two countries and having an uncontrolled border makes it rather arbitrary. For the record I think the Scottish government’s handling of Covid has been much better than the UK parliament (time for another political point: the UK parliament is effectively England’s de facto parliament since the majority of members represent English constituencies and all other UK governments have some form of devolution).
At the start of this I was impressed that a lot of governments worldwide took potentially unpopular decisions to enter lockdown, proactive action is the only real way to eradicate this virus. But since then countries have left lockdown and gone into a reactive state where we are reacting to outbreak hotspots. This would be great if the figures aren’t behind by at least a week. Every localised lockdown represents an outbreak that has already had at least a week to spread.
The schools have opened in Scotland. For the first time since the lockdown in March children will be going back to school. Scotland’s government has said masks must be worn in communal areas of the school whereas south of the border there are no such rules at time of writing. Who’s right? Neither in my opinion. First of all communal areas in schools versus all areas in schools overlap completely in my opinion. Corridors, classrooms, toilets, outside. All of these areas are communal to some extent.
Masks and social distancing are great, but I’m seeing fewer and fewer instances where they are being used properly.
Let’s start with masks: masks must cover your nose and mouth. A lot of people (and I include myself in this) move their masks either below their nose or onto their neck when not around others or when it gets too hot under there and they face away from others. Here’s the problem with that: masks serve two functions – somewhat protecting others from potential viral loads in droplets in your breath/oral emissions and somewhat protecting you from viral loads in droplets in other’s breath/oral emissions. Now acknowledging that the reason we are wearing them is that we know that breath (I’ll be using ‘breath’ as shorthand for breath, oral emissions and potential viral loads to save being overly verbose) travels potentially close to peoples mouths who weren’t the emitters. It follows, logically, that this must mean it settles around the mask too. This means that when you are lowering your mask below your nose you are not benefiting from that protection, both for yourself and others.
When you are putting it on your neck you are then picking up other people’s breath that had settled their, and then when you put it back over your mouth you are then breathing that in. Now these risks are, potentially, very low, however when almost everyone does it I feel that that negates the idea of wearing masks to some extent. This is one of the reasons that Covid is travelling. Another is that some people (and one of my friends is included in this, so if you’re reading this I’m sorry for not saying it to your face, but I haven’t because I don’t believe it would make any difference other than causing an argument) are utterly ignoring all social distancing and mask wearing rules.
On Social Distancing
The WHO (world health organisation) recommends a 2m distance or 1m if there is an appropriate track and trace system in place. Do you know what two metres is? Either a lot of people don’t or they simply don’t care. I invite you to think about your height. The vast majority of people are less than 2m tall (this is equivalent to between 6’6” and 6’7”) if you lie down with your head or feet against a fixed object (be it a wall, a piece of furniture, etc). If you now put something down to mark where you end this is less than two metres (assuming, of course, you are less than 6’6″). This means that, if you stand at the unfixed object or mark, the fixed object is less than two metres from you.
2m is still a risk, but it’s a risk where the chances of transmission are low enough to be considered effectively zero. For any distance less, the risk rises and is essentially 100% at lip to lip contact (obviously assuming one of the people have Covid).
My theoretical solution (which would never work)
This would take some prep work and coordination of every single person on the planet which I know is actually 100% not going to happen. But if it could:
1. Everyone is to build up a stock of two weeks worth of living necessities (some people will need help for this, this should be provided by governments).
2. The world would then go on full lockdown. At the beginning of lockdown Covid tests should be administered.
3. Once all results are out lockdown is extended for a further two weeks but all people who live alone should have lockdown lifted as they would no longer be potentially infecting others (with the proviso that they don’t mix at all with anyone still under lockdown).
4. Those people who are no longer under lockdown would then be the lifeline for households who will stay in lockdown acting as deliverers (contact free).
5. Those who remain should stay in lockdown for two weeks and another round of tests should then be administered. At this point everyone within the household should come into no contact (direct or indirect. This includes passing objects or petting the same pets) with anyone else within that household until the results are back. Anyone who needs care can essentially be considered one person with the person(s) caring for them and vice versa.
6. Once the results are back and the two week period has ended if the entire household is clear then they should have their lockdown lifted.
7. 4-6 Are repeated until it’s eradicated.
Like I said, this is entirely theoretical and would likely never work as there will always be people who will flout, but this will not be the last pandemic and I believe that contagious, untreatable, viruses will become more and more frequent. This is the only way to eradicate this virus without a cure/vaccine and even so is not 100% due to uncontrollable events like emergencies etc.
This does present self control and financial issues. But surely strict and time limited measures are cheaper and more realistic than long term behaviour differences. This will not be the last pandemic. This will not be the last untreatable disease.
Every household should have access to internet and every person within a household should have exclusive access to at least one device. This would be necessary to live life as normally as possible. This will cost money. But think of all the money not spent on fuel for vehicles. All the money not spent on the profit margins of restaurants and bars, all the money saved from businesses not using electricity and fuel. This, I believe, is more than enough to make this feasible.
I’m a massively anxious Covidiot who should never be in charge; I can just about function fine if I can stay inside and have members of my household still practice social distancing until eradication/cure is possible. However social distancing fatigue is setting in and behaviour is starting to slip. It’s understandable, but is messing with my anxiety.
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My next Twitch Factorio stream
I’m also about to start a stream playing Black Desert Online. I have no idea what to expect, I’ve never played it before, nor even seen it played, but twitch is doing a promotion with it, so why not?!