16/05/20 Now that we are allowed, perhaps even encouraged to go outdoors, what is the risk? One recent study found that just talking can launch thousands of corona-virus droplets that can remain suspended in the air for eight to 14 minutes. But the risk of inhaling those droplets is lower outdoors, as long as you’re staying at least two metres apart. A light wind will quickly dilute the virus. If a person nearby is sick, the wind will scatter the virus, potentially exposing nearby people but in far smaller quantities, which are less likely to be harmful. It is the virus load that is important. A single virus will not make anyone sick; it will be immediately destroyed by the immune system. The belief is that one needs a few hundred to a few thousand of SARS-CoV-2 viruses to overwhelm the immune response. While the risk of outdoor transmission is low, it can happen. In one study of more than 7,300 cases in China, just one was connected to outdoor transmission. In that case, a 27-year-old man had a conversation outdoors with an infected traveller. Seven days later, he had his first symptoms of Covid-19. The risk is lower outdoors, but it’s not zero. It increases if you have two people stationary next to each other for a long time, such as on a bench or beach blanket, rather than by passers by.
Today we took the government’s advice and ventured out together in the car. Jamie, Ruth, Joey and Nala had travelled up to Bottesford last night for the weekend and had asked that we feed Maddie the mad rabbit. Late morning we drove to Desborough to feed the spoilt bunny. Ungrateful as ever, the creature greeted us with a rapid thumping of his hind leg to show his displeasure at being left alone. A nice hot casserole would benefit with his presence! On leaving the rabbit to stew in its own temper we collected a large joint of silver-side beef from the fridge that Jamie had forgotten to take and had kindly donated it to us.
We drove onto Rothwell to see Charlotte, Suraj, Lucas, Ellis and Harry. We haven’t seen them all together since the end of February. We stayed at the end of the front path chatting for awhile, with only Harry the greyhound not observing the two metre distancing. They had hardly changed since we last saw them last, except Ellis’s hair was longer and Suraj had a little bit of lock-down bulk, no doubt a consequence of sitting and working from home. Part of the chassis from Ellis’s hover-board go-cart had got bent, so I took put it in the car to fix later at home. We gave them the joint of beef for their Sunday dinner and left.
I fixed the chassis in the garage during the afternoon. As it was made of mild steel, after straightening I could see that it wouldn’t be long before it bent again. I found a length of tempered steel and re-enforced it with that, it should now be able to take Ellis’s roughest treatment. While we were out the postman brought another PIR, so after fixing the chassis I programmed and tested it before siting it in the garden shed. Now I will know when the spiders are active!
From the photo on Messenger it looks like Jamie has taken Nala to see the sea, I wonder what she thought of it? The Rothwell’s bath isn’t fixed, it looks as if the tiling and fittings may need to be ripped out to access the offending plug hole. The insurance is quoting, it may be some time before they can have baths again. Luckily they do have a shower and don’t live too far from the River Welland!
17/05/20 Ministers and officials from every nation will meet via video link on Monday for the annual world health assembly, which is expected to be dominated by efforts to stop rich countries monopolising drugs and future vaccines against Covid-19. As some countries buy up drugs thought to be useful against the corona-virus, causing global shortages, and the Trump administration does deals with vaccine companies to supply America first. There can be no solution to this pandemic without co-operation. It must be Homo Sapiens (Latin for Wise Man) first, and personal advantage last. Let’s hope for the sake of human kind that sense prevails, the future may record that the 18th May 2020 was the day that the nations of the world chose not to walk on the other side. Time and our children will tell.
Ironically, the solution to the corona-virus may be lazily chewing on a carrot. A study published last week in the journal ‘Cell’ found that antibodies in llamas’ blood could offer a defense against the corona-virus. In addition to larger antibodies like ours, llamas have small ones that can sneak into spaces on viral proteins that are too tiny for human antibodies, helping them to fend off the threat. The hope is that the llama antibodies could help protect humans who have not been infected. Researchers owe their findings to a llama named Winter, a four-year-old resident of Belgium. Her antibodies had already proven themselves able to fight Sars and Mers, it is speculated that they could work against the virus behind Covid-19, in cell cultures they have proven to be effective. Researchers are now working towards clinical trials. “If it works, llama Winter deserves a statue,” Dr Xavier Saelens, a Ghent University virologist and study author, told the New York Times.
Sue woke with a sore neck and back and apart from preparing Sunday lunch she had a very quiet day, spending most of the afternoon in on her laptop in bed. During the morning I cut the hedge alongside the vegetable plot and then checked on the grape vines. Depressingly they were in a very sorry state, all the early growth had now shrivelled and dried, no doubt they will survive and sprout new growth but we will have to have an Indian Summer if the grapes are going to ripen sufficiently to build up the sugar levels. While Sue relaxed upstairs I spent the afternoon listening to Traffic on my WiFi headphones, rocking lazily in the sunshine on the swing chair. I may have dozed for a while.
Jamie returned to Desborough and planted a tree in the front garden. Sarah spent the day painting some new trellis that they have bought. Charlotte and family went for a long walk after having painted the chairs that Ellis had sanded a few days ago.
18/05/20 The UK’s corona-virus hospital death toll has increased to 28,533 after 134 more fatalities in hospital were reported. The UK’s death toll actually stands at more than 34,000 once deaths in the care homes and in the community are taken into account. Dismal statistics but encouragingly the numbers are significantly decreased from the 600+ of just a few weeks ago. With greater freedom and improved weather let’s hope that this lift to the country’s spirits doesn’t come at the cost of more lives than necessary until we rid ourselves of this blight.
President Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump has been criticized for making claims about the corona-virus that has no scientific basis and runs counter to health experts’ projections. According to the younger Trump, the corona-virus will “magically” disappear after the November election allowing the country to fully reopen once more. The idiot gene is clearly widely spread throughout the Trump family.
Cycling around the outskirts of Harborough it was noticeable that the numerous large building sites that circle the town have begun to stir. Most activity seemed to involve preparations for a safe return to work, with new signage and designated pathways being put in. There was no evidence of the main work force of brickies, plasterers, plumbers, electricians etc. We shall see them arrive no doubt soon enough.
We had planned today to go and see Sarah, but though Sue’s neck was much improved, we decided to reschedule for tomorrow. The council dump opened today after being closed during lock-down. A friend rang to see if I had any spare tomato and cucumber plants and he mentioned that he had been on-line without success for a couple of days, attempting to book a time to take a large pile of refuse that he had accumulated. After several phone calls to the council he was told that the website had crashed though too much traffic. It was suggested he try again later tonight, or send an email or letter to the council requesting that they allocate him the next available slot. Good luck with that I thought. I delivered him the plants early in the afternoon, I suspect it will be the only successful solicitation he will receive today.
Late in the day Sue and I enjoyed the heat of the sun occupying the swinging chairs by the green house. Bridget must have been at a loose end in isolation in Cyprus as she messaged Sue and they spent half an hour or so discussing lock-down life in the hotel. The conversation came to an end when Bridget’s evening meal was delivered and Sue got up to make ours. A little while later Jamie popped around to borrow some spanners and returned a couple of hours later with Ruth, Joey, Rocky and Nala to drop off a birthday card for Sarah. They soon left to enjoy an early evening walk on a pleasant balmy evening near the leisure centre before returning home. On the same note, Charlotte and family also took advantage of the pleasant conditions to explore some nearby woods. Sarah showed off her newly painted trellis on Messenger. She seems to have been busy in the greenhouse raising quite a lot of plants that I think she has plans to sell. I do hope she has a card machine as most establishments for obvious reasons don’t take cash anymore.