Covid-19 Diaries 8th June 2020
08 June 20
Posted at 3:35
A young girl protests silently on Windmill Hill Hitchin
For the first time in over three months the Covid-19 pandemic and all associated with it has not been headline news for the last few days. That’s nor because anything has really change but it is the global reaction to the murder of a black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis in North America. It is not so much the killing which is not unusual in America but the fact that it was filmed in all its horror and then broadcast around the world. The reaction to that and the deep seated racism it represents has been tremendous. More of that later.
The pandemic situation moves on a pace, when I last wrote on 20th May there was talk of small steps easing the lockdown and debate about limited school returns in early June. Well it is now early June and year groups one and six have returned in some schools with social distancing rules. It has not been without controversy and it is optional. Over recent days there has been a clamour for further easing and following a realisation in government what the impact of the hospitality industry remaining closed all summer would have on the economy a ramping up of easing is being anticipated.
The figures on new cases and on daily deaths have been improving at a rate but still we see deaths in hundreds each day (yesterday the lowest we have seen was 76) but there is concern that the ‘R’ rate is very close to one maybe even higher in the North West. There has though been evidence of lockdown, well social distancing being ignored by some. Beaches became overcrowded during good weather last week, there have been nightly raves in parts of London with up to three hundred attending and then the protests in the big cities blew any regarding for social distancing out of the water. People seem to think they are invincible if they wear a cloth mask! Its is a shame as in many places effective protests were held with social distancing even making the point more poignant. In London and Manchester the crowds were ridiculous and we now hold our breath if you’ll excuse the pun, to see if second waves are sparked as a result in the same way that Cheltenham and Liverpool impacted the first wave.
We haven’t had a Coronavirus update PR since Friday so I’m not sure what the message will be today but according to the media pubs and restaurants with outdoor dining and drinking could happen as early as July 4th. The 14 day quarantine for anyone entering the country that came into force today looks like being short lived. To me it makes sense, why would we allow people to enter the country freely from places in the world that are not yet past their peak. It looks as though the economy will be seen as more important than health and that there will be some blind faith the virus is weakening and won’t result in a second peak. God help the economy and us all if they are wrong.
So at the moment all shops may open from 15th June so long as they are Covid compliant. We all must now wear face coverings on public transport and in hospitals and care homes. Weddings can go ahead but only with 8 guests. Everyone who is able to work in Covid safe conditions can return to work next Monday (15th). Lots of people will still work from home at least part of the time and people will avoid public transport wherever they can.
Perhaps the ‘fear’ will reduce if the figures continue to improve and there is no backlash from events at the weekend along with the current easing of restrictions. I guess we have three or four weeks to wait and see.
We went out today to an out of town shop that had reopened to make a purchase of a sofa that we had been planning just before lockdown. It meant a drive of 28 miles which felt so strange, the furthest I’ve been since early March is about 5 miles. It felt decadent!! The roads were fairly busy compared with the last 12 weeks. Mainly lorries and vans on the road. What was also strange was we went there and straight back. Couldn’t stop for a coffee or a spot of lunch as there is still nowhere open and no point in popping into a town as all the shops apart from supermarkets are still closed. If I’m honest I was quite relieved to get back home. I suspect that most people who are out on the roads are travelling to, from or for work.
Windmill Hill Hitchin BLM
On Saturday in my local town Hitchin there was a public protest in support of the Black Lives matter movement sparked by the murder of George Floyd in America but in response to racism everywhere. I must admit I went along half expecting it to reflect what has been happening in America. Disregard for the pandemic risk and no doubt descending into violence. I was really pleasantly surprised to find a well organised and peaceful protest by and large observing social distancing and respecting the pandemic risk.
What really impressed me was one of the speakers, David Levy. David spoke with passion and eloquence, he got so many messages across. What he said in the fullness of his speech could not help but resonate with any half reasonable person. I felt it was such a shame that the people who really need to listen to and understand what David had to say were by and large not there. I was one of the few ‘older white males’ there for sure and it’s my cohort who need convincing if anything is to change. Unfortunately not all protests up and down the country we as well organised and in the bigger cities they attracted anarchists which results in polluting the message that the Davids of this world are trying to get across. I listened to David again on a Facebook broadcast on Saturday evening and again was impressed.
Here are a couple more pics from Saturday.
Protesters share a joke