A crop from this morning’s Guardian

First of all, if you’re confused by what may come across as a contradictory attitude from me at times, well, different stages of the pandemic and different local/national situations require a different response. More importantly, I am not blind. I may find it a wonderful thing to keep most planes down and most cars in their garages, but the reality of everyday life – other people’s lives – often requires a balanced compromise.

A dissection / some off-the-cuff comments

1. It may or may not happen that as of the end of this month or the start of June, travellers coming to the UK may be required to quarantine for two weeks. This may or may not include travellers arriving by ship or train (and this likely includes buses as they too come by bus or train). French and Irish nationals or people arriving from France or Ireland may be exempt. Aren’t you confused yet?

It’s not related to the risk these people present as that would have led to an exemption for people from Vietnam and Greece.

So why do it at all? It’s cosmetic. It has to be.

I’ve been arguing for a rapid, less accurate antibody test when people arrive in the UK or a combination of two different rapid tests or a combination with a test at the point of departure and a pilot to see what risk certain results translate into. If you can come up with an indication of who has had the disease and is currently not spreading it and who should be referred to perhaps more extensive testing or quarantine, you might have something that is more doable in practice. The costs would probably have to be shared between government and travellers.

I don’t mind at all that there are much fewer flights now, just like I don’t mind at all that road traffic has dwindled. But the people who normally work at all the offices associated with travel need solutions too.

That there were no measures during the lockdown so far makes some sense as people coming into the UK had limited opportunity to meet with others.

The article mentions that quarantining incoming people would hardly have an effect as the transmission already ongoing in the UK dwarfs the risk posed by the international travellers. You could also ask people what the purpose of their visit is and tie a risk factor to their activities in the UK.

It’s being whispered that the quarantine idea may actually quietly disappear like so much other government-issued “noise”.

Why not compromise by compromising on a testing solution? To those who say that quick tests aren’t accurate enough, I reply that testing at an accuracy of 85% or 90% still beats not testing at all.

Hong Kong appears to be doing it: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/15/flying-long-haul-during-covid-19-air-travel-has-never-been-stranger

“Hong Kong, despite tens of millions crossing its border with mainland China every year, has only had 1,052 cases of Covid-19 and four related deaths in a city of 7.4 million.”

But at the end of that testing, even if you test negative still come two weeks of self-isolation in Hong Kong, which makes sense in view of Hong Kong’s low level of infection. (In the UK, it makes less sense, as already indicated.) I wonder what happens to people who test positive in Hong Kong.

2. One in four of those who died with COVID-19 had diabetes 1 or 2. (18% had dementia, 15% serious breathing problems, 14% chronic kidney disease and 10% ischaemic heart disease.) Diabetes-2 is linked to people’s overal health in terms of nutrition and lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the data made no distinction between diabetes 1 and 2.

Still, it could mean that shielding people with diabetes 2 might lower their exposure but increase their susceptibility (as it might make their condition worse by making their lifestyles more sedentary).

It always pays off when people are able to feed themselves well instead of having to make do with pasta because a bag of pasta is only a few dimes and cookies are relatively cheap and filling too. Pizzas and crisps are a different story.

I would like to see a division into not just people’s health condition but also income situation over the past year and past five years.

3. Yep, if it looks like my place of work might be a hotspot for contracting a serious disease, I would like to know that too.

It concerns one of the less than a handful of main employers in a virus hotspot location. What are the odds that that place of work is not serving as a hotspot, really?

It’s ridiculous that building submarines is considered essential. I could say a lot more about it, but it’s so self-evident that I won’t.

4. Indeed, small publishers are struggling. It’s affected me and it’s also affected a self-employed colleague in the Netherlands. It’s counter-intuitive to some degree as books have helped many people get through the lockdown. It’s almost impossible to compete with Amazon, but it still sounds like perhaps those small publishing houses should find a way to cooperate, find innovative solutions and lower their expenses through cooperation.

If competing supermarkets can be allowed to work together to deal with supply chain problems, then why shouldn’t publishers be allowed to cooperate too? Because books are not essential? How about avoiding layoffs as a good argument for more flexibility? And if that does not work, maybe they can find some kind of legal format, establish an organisation that turns them into one large business, on paper? Well, that to do that well (to the satisfaction of everyone involved) would likely be too expensive. Legal costs.

Then they could try to accomplish something by setting up foreign subsidiaries, perhaps. (Allowing them to circumvent any rules that say they can’t cooperate.) They could turn themselves into Starbucks so to speak.

Any small publishers that work with non-fiction authors who are knowledgeable in relevant fields should probably give those authors a call.

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