SARS-CoV2, wastewater and seashores

A few months ago, someone in Florida sent me a link to a news item – I think it was from Yahoo News – in which a professor in California was warning people to stay away from the seashore as she was sure that they would get infected by the ocean surf there.

I dissected the article and had to dismiss it as panicky nonsense. It for example mentioned the rapid spread (in Wuhan) as an argument but Wuhan is nowhere near the sea and everything that was ascribed to marine spray could much more easily be explained through asymptomatic spread. The existence of the latter was not even mentioned in the item. I did not expect the virus to be able to play a big role in the marine environment on the basis of my very limited knowledge in this area.

Just now, I spotted an article written by Kristen Kusek, who I know from my time in Florida. She is now the communications director at the place where we both were into marine science, while she also pursued journalism at the Poynter Institute a bit further down the road.

USF’s College of Marine Science has started the first American program to look at the virus in wastewater. I had earlier heard about the virus having been detected in sewage in, I think, Venice.

https://www.usf.edu/marine-science/news/2020/usf-partner-in-costa-rica-launches-the-countrys-first-program-to-detect-coronavirus-in-wastewater.aspx

It is very important to keep in mind that the virus having been detected waste water (or anything else) DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU CAN CATCH COVID-19 from it.

I also saw this:
https://coloradosun.com/2020/07/21/poop-early-coronavirus-warning-colorado-wastewater/

It was time for a quick update.

I found this:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004313542030436X

At first glance, this seems to confirm my assessment. Good.

Here is more on the topic:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896972033151X

https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S004313542030436X?token=01D96FD19564AA8CCAF293E95112CB80711556EDFB30B8701D6895EEEAECA0747FB112F019F2BDD2877DDAC55EE331B7

https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S004896972033151X?token=7D077B4CFF621AF2C66AAE410611192580B09C4F7AFA638CD1CBE5BB26F6121305BABE2F25608A43C70A06F0D6BC74B0

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666016420300049

As I live in an island city, with a stormwater sewage overflow to the east of us and a (treated) sewage outlet slightly to the east of that, along the seashore, such questions have local relevance. So far, nothing to worry about.

(Please note that this does not mean that the situation will stay this way, but at this point, there is nothing to indicate that it won’t. That’s okay. We have plenty on our plate as it is.)

Low trust in UK government: Debunking needed

Note: this is about right now. This is not to say that I applaud this government and its approach, not at all.

The UK government has lied a lot in the past ten years and also often sucks at communicating well. That is causing some problems now, I noticed on Twitter.

There are 12,000 ventilators” followed by “8,000 within the NHS” does not by definition mean that the government is lying but may mean that its communication skills are not up to par.

It could mean:

  • 4,000 on the way to the NHS;
  • 4,000 within the Navy, Army, Air Force, private facilities and also some on the way to the NHS;
  • etc.

Something similar is going on with COVID-19 tests and reagents. It is very hard to find info in the UK as it is a low-transparency country. (I for example found detailed information about a local water treatment facility (Budd’s Farm) in the Netherlands some years ago, but was unable to find much about it in the UK.)

I looked into it, found some info on the CDC site, spotted the name Roche, and remembered something I had read in the Dutch news. The Netherlands is much more transparent than the UK, so I looked into that angle.

It may also be helpful to keep in mind that the Netherlands is a highly egalitarian country. A lot of the wheeling and dealing that goes on in the UK would not be permitted in the Netherlands. (I am not saying that none goes on there.)

Roche makes a lot of the equipment needed for the tests and that equipment requires certain chemicals to run. Roche also manufactures the required lysis buffer and was briefly not able to keep up with global demand.

It initially was not willing to share the secret “recipe” either. It did later release it after all, but it is actually not that easy to make so it cannot simply be made by anyone and has to involve certification of the labs who make the stuff. Roche currently is able to keep up with demand again, so I understand.

In addition, the Dutch health minister, too, mentioned shortages in other test-related materials on 27 March.

(The UK government specifically mentioned a shortage of swabs.)

Main source (a reliable Dutch newspaper): https://www.trouw.nl/zorg/farmaceut-roche-deelt-toch-het-recept-voor-coronatests~bdb6a844/

I am assuming that the UK is using the same test as the Netherlands or a very similar test (which is also likely the same as the US is using). (I have a report – collection of international information – from a Belgian university in my pc that probably has details on that; I will see what it says and add that info later.)

Conclusion: The UK government for once appears to be NOT LYING.

The information given by the UK government appears to match the information available in the Netherlands.

(The – possibly inadvertent – spin in the UK currently appears to be coming from… Labour?, I say tentatively, on the basis of the tweets that I saw.)

(As I have posted some tweets from Tory MPs in the past, I should also do it with tweets from other MPs. I have no idea what was said during Newsnight)


From the “living paper” report in my pc (“Overview of information available to support the development of medical countermeasures and interventions against COVID-19” by Martine Denis, Valerie Vandeweerd, Diane Van der Vliet, version 23 March 2020):

“Testing methods
A list of assays commercially available for diagnosis of COVID-19 is updated by FIND (https://www.finddx.org/covid-19/). Assays that are still in development stage are also presented.”

The report has a lot more information on testing, but does not state details on which country is using which tests and protocols. If you click on the above link, however, you’ll find a lot of information that indicates that Covid-19 testing requires rigid procedures to be able to work. In other words, ramping up capacity is likely not as simple as some MPs think it is.

(For comparison: You wouldn’t want a sloppy pregnancy test that is often wrong either.)

Why is the ICU survival rate so low in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Why is the ICU survival rate for Covid-19 patients so low in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

It’s been reported as 50%, here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/mar/28/coronavirus-intensive-care-uk-patients-50-per-cent-survival-rate

Note that this article was amended on 30 March, saying that it may not be accurate, however.

Dr. David Price at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City – which currently takes in almost exclusively Covid-19 patients – reported a week ago that the majority of the ICU patients there get to go home, here:
https://vimeo.com/399733860

If accurate, what does the difference reflect?

  1. The difference in socio-economics between these three countries in the UK (extensive poverty) on the one hand and NYC on the other hand?
  2. That only the most serious cases are going to the ICU over here?
  3. A higher level of specialization at that hospital in New York? (Better doctors or better practices at the hospital as it is a university hospital?)
  4. Dr. Price not having the actual numbers for his hospital?
  5. Does that hospital only treat patients from a certain segment of the population, and do they tend to be fitter and better-nourished?
  6. Something else? If so, what?

Let’s take a closer look at what the Weill Cornell Medical Center is.

Reason number 3 is my guess. Possibly in combination with reason number 5.

I looked at the insurance packages but I don’t know enough about how this works to be able to assess it.

If it’s only reason number 3 that causes the difference, then theoretically, there is room for improvement over here as the standards, theoretically, could be raised.

But we all know what’s been happening in the past 10 years of Tory reign and so there likely is no room at the moment. Or am I being too biased now?

As we just had a team of Chinese medical specialist arrive in the UK, it still looks like reason number 3 may be the main reason. That we don’t know enough and  that we can still raise our standards. That would be good news, then.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

(Tweet has video.)

China also sent such teams to Italy and Iraq and maybe even more countries.

And then there is this (from 9 hours ago):
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-us-canada-52066105/coronavirus-us-death-rates-v-china-italy-and-south-korea

“The US has seen its cases spike dramatically in recent days and these graphs show what could be in store.”

So it’s also possible that the Weill Cornell Medical Center was still in the beginning of the developments at the time, that it had not seen the worst cases yet.

And also, while the death rates in other countries have slowed down, the death rate in the US sped up. So for some reason, the death rate may have been slower there at first.

Of course, every number has to be followed by “that we know of” because some countries do a lot more testing, which means that in some countries, many mild cases go undetected and aren’t counted, which could make their death rate look higher.

Covid-19-related deaths of people who weren’t tested likely don’t count either, so countries that are finding a lot of the deceased at home may only appear to have a lower death rate.

Note that “death rate” is not the same as “ICU survival rate”.

This was followed by this, a few hours later:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/31/england-and-wales-coronavirus-death-toll-40-higher-than-previously-stated

One in four deaths are occurring at home, it said, and England and Wales initially had not counted those deaths.

How can we support supermarket staff? Etc

Yesterday, I read on Twitter that a guy made someone at a Coop checkout burst into tears just because he thanked the person.

On Friday, the initial flash of emotion on the person’s face surprised me when I said “Stay well” to someone at a reception desk somewhere else. That too made me think few people had been expressing concerns for the people behind that counter.

I am often not great at it either.

Earlier this week, at Aldi, I thought I saw some tension in the person at the checkout, not surprisingly. I wish I could do something about that. When I got home, I noticed that one of the products I had bought had some substance on them and it took me a while to realize that the person at the checkout likely had been using a lot of hand sanitizer.

Although that helps, I don’t think it is enough and there is also the important task of doing things for the sole purpose of reassuring staff (making them feel protected) to help keep their stress levels down.

It kept bothering me.

I looked into what was happening in the Netherlands and read that screens had been placed around some checkout counters at DIY stores, though I haven’t been able to find any photos of it yet. Possibly, this was done to maintain the recommended distance (which protects people against this spray of tiny droplets of saliva when we speak).

(Update: When I looked into it some more just now, I saw that the Albert Heijn supermarket chain will be placing acrylic screens.)(Not sure if this is for the entire chain.)

(Update: I also found a video of a Dutch DIY store placing screens and staff saying they are really happy about that: https://www.nhnieuws.nl/nieuws/264087/spuugsschotten-moeten-caissieres-wormerveer-tegen-het-coronavirus-beschermen)

I think that placing any kind of larger screen around the people operating the checkouts might go a long way toward keeping their stress levels down. (In some supermarkets, the distance between them and the customers is smaller than at others.)

Such a screen could be acrylic (or wood or maybe even cardboard, with a small opening that might be covered with plastic, but even not covering it up but having a screen should already help protect checkout staff somewhat from the teenie tiny small droplets that fly from our mouths when we speak).

Having them wear gloves that they discard during breaks, into bins that have bags in them (liners) and then using new ones might be good but they’d go through a lot of gloves that way. But it would work as a physical reminder for them to stop them from touching their faces, which happens so automatically. (I too constantly catch myself doing things I know I shouldn’t be doing.)

Signs at counters – such as at Royal Mail – need to be at face height for standing people because we look at people first and only notice signs placed on the counter later. (But the signs on the counter may need to stay in place, too, for anyone who uses a wheelchair or mobility scooter.)

If you are working checkouts, also consider doing anything that stops your hair from falling into your face if you’d then automatically would want to push the hair out of your face – and touch your face at the same time.

And if you go to the supermarket, don’t use cash to pay if you can help it so that the cashiers don’t need to touch money.

To help protect supermarket staff. To help make them feel safer.

After customers leave the supermarket, they too should take care and for instance wash hands when they get home, but they’re already doing that, I am sure.

Regular cleaning of the self-checkout tills – to protect staff – is needed as well, but I am sure that that is already being done.

Particularly key people (management, local government) have to start doing things that will feel like total paranoia to them to protect themselves because so many people rely on them in so many ways.

Government officials and key managers may want to look into n-acetyl cysteine and assess whether it might help keep them maintain more functionality should they become infected, even though there are no data on this yet. See for example:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0882401017300505

While I am typing this, it feels like I am exaggerating, being totally over the top, but I only need to remind myself of Northern Italy to realise… no, I am not and the only thing that seems to have been able to stop (which may be merely “slow it down enough”?) the virus is to shut down all contact, the way it happened in China. (What that means for the long term is hard to tell. Delayed peaks, the virus coming back later and all that.)

Yes, I am bored as I have nothing else to do (which goes with my life in England at just about any time) and I like looking for solutions. And, also, I am furious about the weather gods having dropped the temperatures. At least it’s sunny. That’s something.

 

 

If you do catch the Covid-19 virus

For those of you who catch it and may be short of breath:

  • Drink coffee. Caffeine is a bronchodilator that works for a few hours. It can help you a little bit and make you feel more comfortable.
  • Patting your ribcage – percussion therapy – can help you loosen up mucus and get rid of it. It’s called “coupage” in the veterinary sciences. (Thanks, J. It helps a lot.)
  • Listen to your body. Sleep on the side of your body that your body tells you to sleep on, which will likely be on the right or on your belly. 

How do I know this?

I caught viral pneumonia in 2017, or rather, it caught me. There was a virus at the end of 2016/start of 2017 that even forced the British Queen to take it easy for a while.

I noticed at some point that the people around me seemed to be recovering whereas I was not really getting better and had very little energy. It puzzled me. I ran a fever of up to 38.6 degrees C and it was only when I read in an online newspaper that you weren’t supposed to be running a fever with this thing that I realized that I was probably “developing complications”.

One evening, I noticed that I became antsy very soon when I was on my left side and turned around to sleep on my right side. It may have been the following morning when I woke up with sharp pains in my ribcage (in my side, only on the right).

In hindsight, it was as if my body was thinking to itself and tried to say to me “No no no no! There is something going on in the right lung and I don’t want whatever it is to get the chance to end up in the left lung.” Weird? No.

24 March 2020: It’s meanwhile dawned on me that my body was probably (also) telling me that sleeping on my right side made it easier for me to get more oxygen.
Try to sleep on your belly if you find that you’re now constantly waking up. Sleeping on your belly gives your lungs more room to work. It is called “prone position”.

The brain gets lots of input from all over the body. We’re just not consciously aware of it. Sometimes, the brain tries to convey a “warning” to our consciousness via physical signals that we’re not really aware of either. I mean, what does “I became very antsy” mean? I don’t know. For whatever reason, I just really did not want to sleep on my left side. I had no idea at that point that something was going on in my right lung. (My respiratory system has always been my weak spot. I suspect I may have some scarring in that lung from previous colds or something like that. I have meanwhile learned that I always have to work at helping that lung stay clear. It is like brushing your teeth.)

Thanks to the internet, I knew what to look out for and my case proceeded by the book. There was little if anything my GP could have done unless I developed a bacterial infection on top of it, but that did not happen. (Your temperature will usually be a good guideline.)

Now, this Covid-19 thing is new and I don’t want to compare what I had to this new disease, but I did learn from what I had back then.

I felt that I should share it. This new disease is causing a lot of uncertainty and makes people feel that they have no control.

I’ve read that this is why people are stockpiling. Because it is something that they can do. Makes sense to me.

I figured that sharing what I learned in 2017 might also give some people a feeling of control.

Why did I get pneumonia?
It appears that notably or perhaps only my right lung has a tendency to fill up with goo. That makes you vulnerable to pneumonia.

(I’d had a slowly increasing lung problem for years, with my body not even always getting enough oxygen; I had noticed minor changes to the tips of my toes, was often tired and my bloodwork was very slightly off, among other things. The pneumonia helped me identify and put a lid on a few things. I found out that I am slightly allergic to wheat, for example. It irritates my throat, among other things, but it depends on the state that the wheat proteins are in. The flour on flour-dusted bread is particularly bad for me – I have to remove it – and some really yummy breads make my throat scratchy. Overall, I avoid bread. I’d started avoiding bread decades ago and ate mainly rye crackers, but circumstances can sometimes cause you to eat more wheat. Wheat allergies can also cause an asthmatic response. I also seem to respond to barley, perhaps even more. If you seem to prefer rice beers over wheat beers, that may be because you’ve subconsciously learned that wheat is not so good for you if you’re allergic to it. Budweiser, for example, has a lot less wheat in it than some other beers. Many people who have hay fever also respond to wheat etc; that response is mostly restricted to the mouth and throat area and the sinuses etc.)

Eye drops like latanoprost can also have a pronounced effect on the lungs (in spite of the fact that perhaps notably older male ophthalmologists are perfectly happy with ignoring this) and can for instance cause a chronic bad cough.

What can YOU do for your lungs?
1. Aerobic exercise. When I am extremely stationary for a few days, it throws me back because it makes it harder for my lungs to empty. (I later started taking n-acetyl cysteine, which helps me a lot because it thins the mucus and also helps calm down inflamed tissues, but if you don’t have a lung problem, don’t worry about that.)
2. Avoid foods that give you heartburn. You may not notice it at all, but it can cause a lot of irritation and slime production in your esophagus and all that can end up in your trachea. Take MaaloxPlus if you have to or to find out whether you might have this problem with acid reflux/heartburn. (It’s also sometimes called having a hole in your diaphragm or something like that, but you don’t really have a hole in your diaphragm, lol.) Exercising is also good for heartburn because it helps your digestion.
3. Take care to avoid foods that cause allergies. Those too may cause some irritation in your esophagus. They can also cause some swelling in your throat which can make it easier for bits of food and beverages to go down the wrong way, perhaps also caused by excess mucus (slippery slime).
4. Hint: If you sometimes have vague problems swallowing vitamin pills and so on, that may be because of some minor swelling (due to allergies/acid reflux) in that throat area, which could be due to such an allergy. Do you sometimes end up with weird “bumps” on the skin inside your mouth after you eat something? Well, that too could be a hint. And if it happens in your mouth, it likely also happens in your throat, right?
5. Stop smoking.

Percussion therapy (coupage)
This was a tip I got from a friend. It means clapping or patting hard on your rib cage with a cupped/flat hand to help loosen mucus. It works very well. If you do this regularly, you’ll get the hang of it and may even be able to hear whether your lungs are clear or not and you can also often feel the effect in your trachea. If you do this after you get out of the shower (the humidity of the shower is likely to help), then perhaps also blow out air very gently over a long period through pursed lips (akin to blowing long notes/tones on woodwinds), you may find yourself coughing up some goo, telling you that it’s working. Do it three times per day or so. See how it goes. You’ll learn.

Recovery during and after pneumonia
Yes, the pneumonia knocked me out for some time, as anything lung-related tends to do. (Lung-related problems can also make you very cranky because they make it hard/er for your entire body to function well.) Walking shorter to longer distances was hard for a while. When I started to feel better again and started sending myself on walks, I still would sometimes have to pause along the way. (I also used that as a gauge for how I was doing.) I’d sit down if I could or simply stopped and pretended to be busy with my phone for a little while. That was enough.

Already in an earlier stage, pneumonia means that you have to learn to pace yourself. You may have to learn to be gentle on yourself, be patient with yourself. Look after yourself well. Eat well. Nutritious food. Sleep lots, too.

Sleep whenever you feel like sleeping. Listen to your body. I sure slept a heck of a lot and kept needing to take daytime naps for a while.

Please note that I am not saying that you shouldn’t contact your GP or the like! By no means! But before your GP or another medical professional can assist you, there may already be little things that you can do for yourself and that you can continue to do afterwards, too.

For example, if you notice that you’re short of breath in the morning and usually have tea or orange juice in the morning, have coffee instead. It can help ease you into the day a little bit more gently.

These little things can really make a difference and are harmless in themselves (unless, for example, you have some kind of condition that means that you cannot sleep on your right side).

Fingers crossed. Most people who catch the virus seem to be barely affected by it.

Fingers crossed for everyone, also for everyone who does end up in intensive care, of course.

 

PS
No, my GP still doesn’t know. In case you wonder. I’ll tell them if I ever need to because of medical circumstances. I did contact them via the website when I found out that I was not supposed to be having a fever; didn’t hear back, likely because they had just been taken over by a large firm, but I was not worried and as it turned out, had no reason to worry either.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional.

Boris Johnson. Coronavirus. How to talk with your people.

Boris Johnson’s waffling yesterday made a lot of people – me included – angry and I am willing to bet that he did not reassure anyone. You may find some comfort in the video below instead.

Click on settings, then subtitles and then on automatic translation.

This is how his Dutch counterpart (Mark Rutte is his name) addressed the problem. (Not perfect either, but much better.) The first bit appears to be about the confusion this whole thing has sown, also in the Netherlands, where they initially may have thought that Covid-19 wasn’t necessarily going to be a problem other than that it might cause discrimination.

That was grabbed by the horns right away (by the media, including TV, and by the Health Minister) as that response was quite ugly in the Netherlands, but so far has remained entirely verbal, as far as I know. In the UK, the extent appears to have been limited, but its nature was different. (Two physical attacks occurred in London, with both victims apparently requiring surgery.)

Rutte also mentions the herd immunity concept.

He addresses money worries too and lavishes praise and gratitude.

Keep in mind that the Netherlands does not have anything anywhere near the poverty levels that the UK has.

Mark Rutte is right-wing, not a lefty.

By the way, have you noticed that the official NHS information is that none of us need to report it if we fall ill, that we do not need to get tested and that we should only contact the medical profession if our health becomes seriously compromised?

So are they using an algorithm to keep track of the infection numbers, then?

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.

From https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Dammit

Read this:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/16/they-yelled-coronavirus-first-british-attack-victim-east-asian-man

He must be in so much pain!

He plays alto saxophone, by the way. Won’t be able to do that for a while. He also plays the piano, but as he was lead alto in a jazz band, he probably focuses on that.

I’ve already posted updates to the petitions, have e-mailed Matt Hancock again. I also just contacted Sadiq Khan, but he’s probably already taken some action.

Update: no, he plays mainly piano these days.

Covid-19 response in the UK

I’ve muttered a bit about that in previous posts.

This morning, I read that some hospitals have set up assessment pods, presumably with very clear signage. If they all do that – have a consistent response – it would limit the amount of guessing and waiting to see that members of the public have to do. (“Will they have pods or will I have to go to the ambulance bay?”) But that may not always be doable.

GP practices should have clear posters on their doors to STOP people from walking in if they suspect they have the Covid-19 virus.

What you don’t want, indeed, is to expose people who may have lower immunity, and you find those in higher proportions at A&Es, pharmacies and doctors’ practices. As the virus seems to hit people over 60 the hardest, old folks homes – homes that house older adults – need to take some steps too, but likely already have.

Now all they still might need to do is cover members of the public who do not have access to the internet – because their phone broke or they have no signal – and those who don’t understand English or don’t access English media.

That said, I assume that most people will know what to do now, as most websites now have a link “what to do if you think you have the coronavirus”. This boils down to “stay home and call 111” (though in some areas, you may need to call a different number for whatever reason). (Some of those sites make you wade through a lot of waffling before you get to the important bit, about what to do if you suspect you have the virus. LOL!)  I am sure that it’s been said on TV and radio too.

By the way, should you get this virus and experience shortness of breath when it strikes, then it may help to know that coffee (caffeine) is a bronchodilator. It may help you breathe easier, in other words, and that can help you feel better. Works for about 2, 3 hours, I think, off the top of my head. What better excuse can you think of to have a large mug of delicious coffee while, say, you wait on the phone for advice?

(Tea has a compound that does that too – theophylline – but I suspect that a cup of tea may not contain enough of it, while coffee has many more health benefits.)

 

 

The first local suspected case…

About 500 meters from where I am (and that is all I am saying). 🙂

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/people/coronavirus-health-secretary-has-been-informed-suspected-outbreak-says-portsmouth-north-mp-penny-mordaunt-1741763

It would be REALLY USEFUL if they would say a little more than this. Does it concern a pharmacy worker? A customer? This raises more questions than it answers. Was someone taken into quarantine or not at all? What?

Oh, here is more (I searched the web):
https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/health/coronavirus-suspected-portsmouth-case-came-woman-who-had-been-gatwick-airport-1741740

“The practice manager has urged anyone else who has symptoms to call 111, as per NHS guidelines.”

So, either the news is not getting through or the number is not working the way it should. Been very tempted to test the latter, in the past couple of days, but I reckon they’re busy enough without me calling in to see whether it’s working. 😉

We’ll need a massive local flyering action, then. We can go door to door and put a leaflet with instructions in the letterbox. Heck why not? If we all team up on that, it can be done quickly, and locals know where all the front doors around them are, which helps a lot. (We have some really weird addresses here.)

How scare-mongering works (Covid-19)

16:10 “With two frontline health workers already infected” is a total BS spin because those two contracted the virus on a skiing holiday in France.

Twilight Zone music in the background…

The remark “Washing hands, not exactly cutting edge” is disgusting too, because washing hands and cleaning surfaces touched by hands IS effective. Washing hands very thoroughly is what surgeons do before they head into the operating theatre.

What I find much more concerning is that “self-isolation” is hard in a country that is home to the loneliest people of Europe (possibly of the entire western world) and where so many millions are living in deep poverty and cannot afford to have firms like Ocado deliver supplies.

 

The coronavirus – and discrimination of Asian people in the UK

What a misnomer. There is no such thing as “the” coronavirus. Coronaviruses are common and most are harmless.

I am in the tail end of a common garden-variety cold.

That’s also caused by a coronavirus. Nothing to do with the virus that the media are freaking out about.

The Guardian asked for comments. I sent a few. The only thing they did with it was correct a typo I had pointed out and that may well have been pointed out by other people.

In my fifteen years in the UK, I have gotten to know the Brits English as drama queens, in general.

It seems to go with being English.

In Southampton, I was once told with a great deal of fuss that I was in the local newspaper. I bought the paper but couldn’t find anything. What did the big fuss turn out to be about? There was a list of businesses that were going to participate in some event and my business name was included. Nothing more. Duh. Drama queens.

In past decades, too, they have often responded with highly unscientific fearmongering rather than with efficiency to all sorts of health-related issues, also if it only concerned the health of animals and had no potential of affecting the health of humans. The badger cull, for example.

This weekend (9 February), I read

Chinese in UK report ‘shocking’ levels of racism after coronavirus outbreak”

in The Guardian.

This morning, the Department of Health and Social Care declared a ‘serious and imminent threat’ to public health.

Next, I read that Chinese and Asian people in my home country the Netherlands were also experiencing abuse and that people there had already started a petition to stop this kind of abuse in the Netherlands.

So I too started a petition.

I am hoping to nip this stupid stuff in the bud in the UK before it gets out of hand.

Of course, no one has signed it yet. Because there isn’t enough drama involved?

How would people respond to my stupid cold if I were Chinese?

As it was the Department of Health and Social Care that declared a ‘serious and imminent threat’ to public health over this particular coronavirus on Monday 10 February 2020, it should also inform the public of THIS.

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/coronavirus

 

Do me a favour and sign it, please, not because things are getting out of hand but before they get out of hand.

It’s not true that only rich indigenous Brits are entitled to normal human respect.

The Dutch petition has already been signed 24,000 times:

https://nos.nl/artikel/2322380-online-petitie-tegen-discriminatie-aziaten-vanwege-coronavirus.html

 

In the Netherlands, Matt Hancock’s counterpart has already made a statement and called for the discrimination to stop. This is not what one does in a civilised society, he said. Apologies are being issued.

Is the UK, by contrast, okay with it? Surely not. Sign the petition. Thanks. I’ve also set up a petition on change.org, so now you have no excuse left for not signing.

https://nos.nl/artikel/2321843-minister-roept-iedereen-op-niet-discrimineren-om-coronavirus.html