Jacinda, Hamlet & Excelsior

Today is Saturday, April 4th. Last night I slept well.

This afternoon I went for a walk, not to “fresh woods and pastures new”, but I did do a different block locally, which I have not done for a long time. I did not go to the store. It is quite fine and warm again. The Dom Post is its usual self, with some grumbling. There is a lot of emphasis on re-opening the economy. I think that in the meantime, we are doing just fine. This country is small enough that a lockdown can be quite effective. 

In the morning I listen to the daily update from Dr John. The information about this virus being airborne is quite scary. There is doubt about the accuracy of many figures, i.e. doubt that they are high enough to represent what is actually happening. Some countries are encouraging the wearing of masks whenever one goes out. I went looking for some dust masks I bought a long time ago. Eventually JD found two very dusty ones.

Sweden is experimenting with not having a lockdown.  The jury is still out on its effectiveness, but there are some very scared folk who wish their government would do more. Apparently the disease is rife in some nursing homes.

I listen to one of my favourite podcasts, Political Gabfest.  They have a guest writer who praises Jacinda Ardern, and contrasts her actions positively with those of Trump, BoJo and ScoMo. She has just written a book about an English Village that survived the Plague. Then John Dickerson talks about seeing the 1996 film of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with Derek Jacobi as Hamlet’s uncle, King Claudius. It is indeed well worth watching.

Today there are 82 new cases of Covid 19, bringing the total to 950. Of these, 10 are in hospital and one person in Intensive Care. There are no further deaths. This is the second-highest total we have had (it was 83 on 28 March), and the suggestion is that the lockdown is effective.

I have sons in the UK and the US, both very scary places to be right now, although you would think they would be safe. In both places there are truly alarming rates of infection and death, lack of testing, and disputes if not lack of Personal Protective Equipment.  We watch a video about a hospital in Naples where there is separation between staff treating Covid 19 patients, and others. We also watch a doctor from Wales who has had the virus, but is finding it distressing to deal with severe illness and the accompanying need for separation.

There is some odd news.

  • In Wisconsin, elections for the democratic primary are to go ahead.
  • The Democratic Convention is to be postponed.
  • There is huge concern about the Presidential Election to be held on 3rd November 2020, and particularly about the safety of voting in person as against voting by mail.
  • The Javid Centre in New York, converted to a hospital, is to hold Covid 19 patients after all.
  • The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo’s briefings continue to be appreciated. There is added pathos in that his brother Chris, CNN anchor, has the disease and is obviously unwell.
  • Almost every patient treated in hospital for Covid 19 in New York goes into Intensive Care.   It seems you can be mildly ill for a few days, then suddenly become very ill indeed. Some patients pass away very quickly, reminding me of stories of the 1918 flu.

Welcome light relief is provided by the Bill Mayer Show, now back on again, but filmed in Bill’s home or his back yard.  It’s still funny, though, and instead of the appreciative live audience reaction, there is black and white film of a movie audience obviously watching a comedy film. The US figures are truly dire, the US is way out ahead of all other countries in terms of numbers of infectious cases, and deaths, yet still some far-right pastors continue to defy orders to not hold religious services, and to close their churches. Evidently in Texas churches are exempt from social distancing rules and requests. As Bill Mayer said, Trump is wining the war on science.

There was some talk today of Cuomo and Excelsior. I know there is a low-cost school in New York called Excelsior,  with an extensive scholarship program, but I am reminded of my sons singing the song Excelsior with great gusto when they were at choir.

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