Coronavirus: A review so far

Let’s review where we are so far. 2020 is a write-off, so I am going to attempt to summarise what has gone wrong.

First, a bunch of people are dead. Sure, so far, many more people are dying of regular flu, cancer, heart disease, the effects of global warming, and capitalism. But those are everyday deaths that we’re used to. This is something new.

Also, a lot of people are ill and having a bad time. Many of the rest of us are torturing ourselves with anxiety because we are unable to switch off the news.

There is no toilet paper or paracetamol. In fact, many supermarket shelves are empty. There is no rice, pasta, bread, tinned food or a wide range of other items. God help you if you don’t have a stockpile of hand wash, and even if you have some ibuprofen, nobody knows if it is safe to take it anymore.

The government says get your groceries delivered, but here is the availability when I checked:

  • Sainsbury’s: no delivery slots at all
  • Morrisons: no delivery slots for 3 weeks
  • Ocado: no delivery slots for 3 weeks
  • Waitrose: no delivery slots for 2 weeks

We’re not allowed to see our friends. Social gatherings are discouraged. Social activities and hobbies are cancelled. We’re deprived of human contact. We all have to work from home, and every company is finding out their VPN can’t handle the load after all.

Nobody is buying anything and so businesses are going bankrupt. That means people are losing jobs. Other companies are terminating people before it comes to bankruptcy.

All the schools and nurseries are closing, meaning that most people cannot go to work and are either having to take unpaid leave (possibly for up to six months!) or losing their job. Nurseries cannot afford to lose fees, so they’re charging parents for childcare they’re not providing.

All holidays are cancelled as borders close. Some people are stuck elsewhere.

All participatory sport is cancelled. Pools and gyms are closing. Running club, triathlon club, cycling club have all suspended activities indefinitely. All of our races are getting cancelled as far as June. Almost nobody is talking about a refund. Which is a big deal when Ironman are charging £400 per head.

All professional sport is cancelled. The Giro is “postponed”, but where else are you going to fit a three-week cycling race? Football is cancelled, even though Leeds are at the top of the league. F1, triathlon, marathons, ice hockey, everything is cancelled or postponed. Everything we look forward to relaxing with is gone.

Even the misery of being stuck at home is being made more miserable by the EU demanding Netflix reduce streaming quality to “help the internet cope”. And no Eurovision!

On the bright side

So far, it’s been pretty rubbish. But there are good things, too.

People are following social distancing advice and going out less. The roads are quiet. Fit, young people who have little to lose personally are still mostly staying at home to protect vulnerable people.

People have been getting together on video chats for pub nights and virtual group rides on Zwift.

Supermarkets are creating thousands of jobs as they try to keep up with demand.

It turns out we can work from home and that those meetings were not necessary. It’s too late to put the genie back in the box.

The Conservative government have turned out to be raving socialists.

There has been a significant reduction in pollution as planes stop flying and cars stop driving. Dolphins have returned to the canals of Venice.

Corona beer is available for large discounts.

Summary so far

Not the 2020 we all wanted. But we can get through this together. I mean, together as long as we maintain at least two-metres distance. And it may change society for the better.

Of course, in the UK, we’re really just at the start of things. I may be writing another blog post in eight weeks saying “why did I try to put a brave face on things; everything is burning!” Or, I may write nothing, because I am dead.

But until then, stay strong and see you soon.



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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 22nd, 2020 at 11:00 am and is filed under Life. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.