Pandemic diary 4: How lucky we are

Lucky bunnies: Bunminster and Clem

A bunny, a blog bit and a blessing, that's how this goes.

Yesterday it was Prince Charles. Today it's Boris Johnson who has coronavirus, the first world leader to be infected. We knew the UK death toll would start to jump and today it has by 181 people – to 759. Birmingham Airport is to become a mass mortuary. The NEC, a mass hospital. Stories of people dying are starting to come out. The people behind the numbers. I knew they were coming and now here they are.

On a West Midlands radio station, a Walsall man called in to report his brother (54, sporty, no underlying health conditions) had caught Covid-19 at a hospital checkup and died a week later. This is me. This made me scared.

In my local greengrocer's I had to tell a middle-aged couple to stand back, twice. They were so busy shopping for their Sunday dinner like it was important. Such a lack of awareness. This made me angry.

My great nephew, 3, hid behind his mother when I dropped off the supplies (they are self-isolating). He's gone shy and sort of forgotten me for the first time since he was born – three weeks is a long time to a youngster. Or maybe he's scared of me and people and the danger they now represent. This made me sad.

Announcements of financial support for the self-employed came out today. The UK, US and others are throwing money at this – and they need to. This made me feel a bit more secure.

But then I read my second cousin Jessica's blog post about the lockdown in Rwanda where she works as a maths/science tutor, and I realised how lucky we are.

"Rwanda is taking the situation very seriously, which is quite reassuring, if a little cumbersome to daily life. On the downside, they have about 39 ICU beds. Not per million. Altogether.

At some point lockdown will be unsustainable, and the country will have to allow some non-essential businesses to run. And that point is not very far away. Rwanda doesn’t have a social welfare system or a government who can borrow billions to keep it afloat while they contain the virus.

But so far they’ve been sensible and quick to act, and I hope they will continue to be sensible and quick to act."

Ramblings and What Not Blog

So yeah, perspective check.

Last weekend someone from France was ranting on a Facebook community forum that we in the UK were stupid idiots for going out for exercise (even though it is officially sanctioned, if restricted). They were being abusive because they thought we were all taking the threat too lightly. Now, seeing the US on the back foot, I can understand the insults were born of desperation. The US now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than China and Italy. We knew about this outbreak in early January. We knew it was potentially coming, after SARS and MERS, years ago. Why didn't our governments act more quickly? Why weren't they ready?

We're in the rising phase. It remains to be seen how much we have been able to flatten the curve. But we are late – how much flatter could it have been had we all acted sooner?

Thanks for the dance

Today I am thankful for the Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers I've been stalking on Instagram. Seeing principal Tzu-Chao Chou dancing around his garden patio made my day. See it here. (He also does amazing Christmas videos each year.) Or how about principal Yasuo Atsuji doing 100 press up leap things. See that here. Or principal Cesar Morales and his lawn mower ballet. Here.

Actor Sam Neill is also being entertaining, playing ukes and reading stories and poems. Today he read a Hairy Maclary children's book, interspersed with 'stay at home' messages, and it was great. Hear it here.