Coronavirus | USA: One guy’s version of a facemask

The international nature of WordPress. This came from an Italian friend, who picked it up from a French blogger. The blogger’s commentary is in French, but it is the pictures which are important.

This story was picked up by the LA Times a week ago, in a California supermarket, some idiot’s response to the order to wear a mask out in public. The report also says that he was given the choice of either removing his headgear or removing himself – I wouldn’t have given them the choice.

Someone please tell me this is fake.


Il a été interpellé par le responsable du supermarché et invité à se décoiffer ou à quitter les lieux. Les faits se sont déroulés le week-end dernier dans une petite ville de Californie. La police a ouvert une enquête.

Vêtu de la reconnaissable capuche du Ku Klux Klan, un Californien est allé faire ses courses dans une épicerie de San Diego, dans le comté de Santee, samedi 2 mai. L’incident s’est déroulé au lendemain de l’annonce du port obligatoire du masque dans les lieux publics de ce comté.

KKK - 1

Le Los Angeles Times rapporte que l’homme a déambulé dans la boutique avec son caddie sous les yeux ébahis et choqués de la clientèle. Tiam Tellez, un client présent ce jour-là, a partagé des photos de l’homme sur les réseaux sociaux. Il assure avoir vu plusieurs employés du magasin lui demander de retirer son chapeau, en vain. Mélissa…

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I’ve been thinking a bit recently about how we get ourselves out of this, and the media are starting to talk about it too.

It seems to me that, purely thinking in terms of not contracting COVID-19, the best plan is just to have people isolate for as long as possible.

But I don’t think that can be the only priority. People are going stir crazy in their own houses. It is variable, it is definitely affecting some more than others, but it is there. I have also had some of my clients say to me why should I isolate when so-and-so clearly isn’t? And, I’ve seen that with my own neighbours, so I can understand their frustration. People like to say we’re all in the same boat, but I don’t think that is particularly true.

Then, of course, there is the economic impact of most people being unable to work.

So I think if you are a government, you have to strike a balance. I think you need to look at what you want to achieve, and act accordingly. I think in the first instance, you want to try and foster an environment where people will willingly stay home. Discourage gatherings – so pubs, restaurants, coffee shops stay closed, but at the same time allow things like DIY stores and garden centres to open up, just so that people have something to do while remaining at home.

I saw a news clip from Italy, I think, which talked about book stores being opened. That sounds reasonable – give people the means to go out and purchase a book, which they can then take home to read. Same goes for CDs and DVDs. I’d also look sector by sector, and start opening things up, provided a safe distance can be maintained from other people. HMRC (our state’s tax collectors) already has a list of sectors, because you need to choose one from the list when you start up a company, so I don’t think it’s too big an ask for (elected) politicians to go through that list one-by-one.

Things like schools don’t come top of my list – I don’t really see a big difference between a child matriculating at 16 or at 17 (it seems utterly selfish that some people complain about losing a year, when other people’s whole lives are at stake), but I am aware that putting younger children into school will free up their parents from childcare duties, and allow them to return to work. Places like doctors’ surgeries I’d leave as long as possible – after all which of us wants to sit in a Waiting Room at the moment?

But there’s a kicker here. If you’re going to open any business, you have to make sure you’re able to test the workers, at the very least, so you know when something has started and are able to stamp it out. These people will maybe come into contact with hundreds of other people each day, so will remain at high risk. And, I’m not just talking about, say, health workers, here. We should also recognise that even people like supermarket workers are exposing themselves to risk every time they go to work. And have done so for the duration. I don’t want to get into nonsense about who is the most vital, but it covers several sectors. The common thread is that these people are helping other people, not just helping themselves. These people need to know asap if they become infected, if the aim is to safely reignite our economies again.

Which brings me to… testing in the UK. I presume we’re pretty typical, we are all competing in the same marketplace after all. I’ve already posted about this, at the start of the crisis the Prime Minister put a number of desired tests at 25,000 per day. We couldn’t even get halfway there before his health minister raise the stakes to 100,000 per day, by the end of April. It is arguable whether we got there, but it was just a conjured-up number anyway. We’re pretty much headed in the right direction, but even that number means it will be almost 3 years before everybody gets a test. But not so long ago, it was 18 years!

But I don’t particularly want to knock our government. I do feel that in general, BoJo has always had this groundless optimism – optimism is the one thing he has going for him, but there don’t really seem to be any concrete ideas behind him. Things will get better but I’m not quite sure how – and so it is no surprise that, having now been elected, his government echoes him. But… the media are already asking uncomfoprtable questions, making comparisons with how other countries have fared, so these things will doubtless come out as time goes by. And, we can bypass the govenrment filters and find out our own information, if we feel they’re not fully transparent.

My gut feel is that the next steps might well be resignations. I believe that politicians (not just in the UK) value their economies more than anything, so they will be wanting to lift things, when the scientists still feel it is unsafe. I think that’s going to be inevitable, whether it is a week or a year. It is already happening in some places. And the scientists will have to choose whether to say fuck this and walk away, or to stay and be quiet. But my experience has been that workers in the public sector are nowhere near as sharp as their private sector counterparts, however, so they might be worried just because if they lose their job, they might struggle to find another. We will see.

Who Won the Week (26 April 2020)

I do like Fandango’s Who Won the Week post, and liked to join in with some quirky stories from my own newsfeeds. I pulled the last couple of posts because Corona tended to dominate the news, but I have still found a few interesting stories, with the Corona backdrop.

I wasn’t going to post again today, after my last post (Fed Up). But this story has been airing repeatedly through the day, and rather than just making me fed up, this one thoroughly pisses me off. Maybe it is just a story that my ears are tuning in to. So this is a Who Won the Week and a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday Peeve post, all thrown into one!

So, my winner this week is universal healthcare.

Let me explain. One of the sub-stories to have come out of this crisis is that many fewer heart attacks or strokes are turning up at the Emergency Room. You can read the core of the story here (the Guardian is a reputable British newspaper, this article, though, is a week old), although the story has been picked up by many media outlets since and was broadcasting today.

The BHF – British Heart Foundation -is a UK charity, again very well-respected, is reporting a 50% drop in people seeking treatment for heart attacks and strokes. I’m making sure that I am putting all these references in, so you can go look them up if you don’t believe me.

So, what is happening? Well, fewer people are presenting, because they must figure that their chances are better if they go nowhere near a hospital. This might be because they know that hospitals are where the virus lives, and they don’t trust hospitals’ abilities to keep them out of its way (despite being gravely ill) or it might be because they just think they will not get proper treatment at the moment.

This second case, I have some personal experience. Just before the start of this crisis, my auntie was in hospital. You might remember that I mentioned it at the time. They sent her home, so they could make room for COVID patients. They could not have thought that she was cured, because they gave her some pills as they kicked her out, pills that she had never even taken before. So, they didn’t even wait to see the effect, to see whether the dose was correct.

And, as part of this whole experience, the talk with a paramedic (yes, she was serious enough to call 999) revealed that they had been instructed that any care home residents over the age of 75 would not be admitted to hospital, whatever the reason. This worried my aunt greatly because while she resides in her own home, she is 79.

I’m not sure how much weight I would attach to this hearsay, if it were not for the fact that this “policy” has also been reported in the media. When you start to hear the same thing through several channels, it makes you wonder. And the media is also starting to uncover many, many deaths at care homes, deaths which have not been attributed to the virus.

There are big question marks at the moment about what our world will look like after this virus. Here is one possible change:

In the UK, we pay for our health service through our income tax. The tax is called National Insurance. So, if I am 20, with a lifetime of NI payments ahead of me, I’m looking at this tax, and thinking if, when I need it, this system is going to decide not to treat me, then why the fuck should I pay for it?

So, hurrah for universal healthcare, and… wouldn’t it be a good idea? I say, let’s have some of that!

Do tell me, please, if your country has seen similar drops in the reporting of life-threatening illnesses.