Yesterday’s total dead was the worst yet by far, 563. It’s on track with the predictions and we’ve probably got another two weeks before the peak. The stories in the media are beginning to turn to blame, accusations of missed opportunities, and criticism of the government’s handling of the crisis . Headlines that a week or so ago were praising the Prime Minister and the Chancellor’s leadership are now asking where did it all go wrong. People are asking the government to explain its lockdown and testing strategies.
British Airways is to furlough 36,000 workers today; pilots, cabin crew, engineers, and office workers. Virgin Atlantic, it is said, is a few days away from total collapse. The travel company TUI has laid of 11,000 staff. Thousands of airliners are parked in hub and regional airfields around the country. Extinction Rebellion must be loving this.
The indications are that people are getting restless. There’s been a rise in the number of personal journeys by road. It certainly seems that way locally, but a visit to the supermarket leaves you in no doubt that lockdown is still in force. Fortunately for me the queues are short and the waiting time has not been long so far. The shelves are replenished but there are still shortages of pasta, rice, flour, eggs, and of course hand sanitizers and anti bacterial wipes.
Some supermarkets are relaxing their three of each item only limit butin Sainsbury’s I couldn’t by half a case of Malbec. However, I could have bought three Malbec and three whites. Go figure.
The cigarette gians British American Tobacco (BAT) says it is weeks away from perfecting a Covid-19 vaccine made from the tobacco plant.
I confess to becoming tired and cynical of all the positivity. I know it’s wrong. Perhaps I’m just depressed. People are saying that this is the perfect time to exercise, meditate, to reconnect with others using cyberspace, to take stock of your life and society, and to create a new and better world when this is all over.
Maybe, but all the news is grim. Of course we don’t have to pay attention to the news but that feels like sticking one’s head in the sand. This is reality. Millions of people are losing or have lost their livelihood, tens of thousands are bereaved, and economies are being trashed. A million people have registered for universal credit in the UK. People who had been working hard, saving money, and making sacrifices have seen all their efforts laid to waste.
Hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers will have to be supported with funds from the Treasury which will see its coffers emptied again in the months ahead. Creative projects designed to make the world a better place are halted. Families in lockdown are in a pressure cooker environment so domestic violence is increasing. The mental and emotional price people are paying is incalculable. How many more suicides will there be in the months ahead?
When this is all over left and right will still be arguing, chips will still be on shoulders, and the same problems we had in 2019 will still be there waiting for us to deal with, except in 2021 we’ll have less money to spend on improvements.
In the meantime, helping someone else is often a way of lifting one’s mood. Make a donation to a charity that helps those less fortunate than oneself, for example.