Who Won the Week (21 February 2021)

*Not* in response to Fandango’s Who Won the Week post, I have been looking at my own newsfeeds.


Exit Strategy

A story I picked up on this week was about Israel and COVID. Israel (population 9M) has inported a huge amount of the Phizer vaccine. Leading the way, it has currently vaccinated 46% of its population (at least one dose) and today started re-opening swathes of its economy. Claiming a drop of over 95% in COVID cases, in people who have had both doses of the vaccine, the plan is to re-open the economy fully over the next month.

Spookily, this coincides with an election there!

Their plan is that, as people are vaccinated, they get a “passport”, and certain things like gyms, hotels, theatres will only allow people to attend provided they have this passport. As far as I can make out, they intend still applying social distancing rules.

That struck a chord with me because here, a big provider of cruises has already announced that they will only allow people onto their holidays, when they can prove they have been fully vaccinated. It wouldn’t surprise me if other companies did the same, just to try and offer peace of mind. I have no idea about distancing rules, I suspect they will decide nearer the time, as the UK is, technically, still locked down.

There’s a parallel argument developed (here, at least), that we are creating an apartheid system – those who are vaccinated versus those who aren’t. With the added counter that if somebody gets excluded from something because they simply refused the vaccine, so what? That’s part of the price they pay.

Personally, I have no problem if an owner says “you chose not to get vaccinated? Therefore I choose not to admit you”. But there’ll coma a point where countries have to say “it is what it is”. Vaccines aren’t compulsory, I don’t think, so countries will need to decide whether, and how long for, they want a two-tier system. But straight away, I can see people who fall through the cracks, whether they were willing to be vaccinated or not. One of my Age UK clients has been told that, because of their history reacting to vaccines, they will not be considered. End of story. I hope they didn’t have any cruises planned!

So, who won the week? Well, good luck to Israel, for hopefully being able to lead us out of this. They have various advantages – a small population which is probably pretty compliant. I doubt it would play out so well either here or in the USA – if someone refuses even to wear a mask, how readily will they agree to be vaccinated? But, good luck to them in any case, for hopefully showing us a way out of this mess, if we choose to take it.

That the programme probably stems from Netanyahu’s desire to be re-elected is just one of those unfortunate things…

Life through the Lens (21 February 2021)

As my previous series came to an end, I had the idea to post some of my own photographs.

When my eyes were better, I used to enjoy photography. I had some decent kit and was around just as digital photography was taking off. Although it was strictly a hobby for me, two of my photos were published. One rural shot of hay bales ended up in a brochure made by the UK’s NFU (farming), another ended up in a coffee-table book about lighthouses. I wasn’t David Bailey but a couple of times, I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time.

I thought I’d share some. All these photographs were taken by me, I own the copyright so if you’d like to use any, go for it. Just so long as you don’t use them to make any money.

My aim is to publish weekly again but this time, on Sunday afternoons. I’m just going to repeat this spiel each week, too, for the benefit of new readers, so you can safely skip to the camera graphic to save reading the blurb each time.

If you look at the category above (high on left, by the date), I’ll put every photo in that same category so you can find previously-published photos. If I feel a photo needs some explanation, I’ll maybe write a line or two to go with it. Like the last time, I’ll keep going until I run out of steam. Oh, and feel free to join in, if the fancy takes you.

I’ve linked to a higher-res umage under each photo.

Another garden visitor.

Elementary

inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 21 February 2021, bark. A grumpy physicist for you today!

He was always a grump, never calm,
His co-workers evaded, alarmed,
One day let out a bark,
He’d detected his quark,
And at last he developed some charm!

You can read more about the charm quark here. It feels like a very “square” joke but it is written now. Sorry!