Now then, Covid 19 is certainly revealing a whole lot about countries and their leaders.
Obviously it is all over our gormless 24/7 news channels. For once, this is actually how it needs to be. It really is quite entertaining seeing all those reporters stumbling along without the aid of the auto cue gadgetry. We have seen all sorts of inane stuff, that couple holed up in their cabin aboard that cruise liner, day after day telling us they were fed up, and the advice they had been given was to wash their hands and sneeze into hankies. Stunning stuff. Many different "experts" have been wheeled out, all repeating the same mantra re hankies and hand washing. Does anyone actually think this instruction will halt the spread ? Whole thing has been a mess.
Best of all is the ridiculous "Self Isolate" line. This is actually a code that equates to stay away from the hospitals and GP surgeries. How the hell are you supposed to do it ? Board up your windows and doors, have food shoved in via a cat flap ? Have the Postie wear full NBC suit protection when fetching your latest batch of spam mail ?
It really is ridiculous advice. We saw those coaches of quarantine patients , person in front seat actually was wearing an NBC suit, fed up looking driver was not !
It's like a Carry On film. How dumb do they think we are ?
This virus is now truly global, number of infected countries rises markedly on a daily basis. There are no borders , it marches relentlessly on. Major sporting events are falling to it, no one can now be unaware of its existence, even across the desert plains they will know. It's difficult to guess at what the children make of it all.
The tone of all the reporting has taken a significant change of direction. It used to be about the number of deaths, or for special effect, the number of projected deaths, huge figures bandied about, when actually nobody has a vague idea. We have seen film of deserted cities across the globe, vehicles crawling along spraying out clouds of vapour along streets and roads, what the clouds are of is not mentioned. People scurrying about in the obligatory face mask, here's a thing. Many actual experts state that face masks are a hindrance not a help. Once damp they store bacteria and are therefore more likely to harm than help. Yet shops cannot get them on the shelves quickly enough. Somebody is making a few quid.
Shops are empty of basic supplies due to panic buying, won't be long until rioting starts.
I'm not belittling the seriousness of this here, just passing my personal view.
That Change of direction is becoming quite stark and is as ever demoralising. What we hear about now when the virus is the topic on our screens is business. The NasDaq is failing, Wall St is in a panic, the FT is sinking, Billions have been wiped off shares, didn't take long for the great God CASH to wash over everything did it ?
So, the virus, cash and business. Lets delve into this equation on an here and now level.
For the purpose of the exercise we will invent a young lady by the name of Charlotte.
Charlotte is a bright and breezy young woman, quick to cause a smile and sharp enough to hold her own in any argument. She is also very good at her job. That being working in a Wetherspoon Pub. "Charlie" serves drinks and food. She does it with a smile. She is at heart altruistic. Works because she wants to. Has a small flat and just about manages to exist, an occasional night out being all she wants really. Not one for skipping work, when she is under a cloud she just goes in and turns the place upside down but gets away with it because everyone likes her.
Unbeknown to Charlotte she is starting to become unwell. Slight headache, bit too clammy and warm, sneezing here and there. In her job she obviously comes into contact with many people. Physical contact cannot be avoided. She just cheerfully pushes on as she actually thrives when meeting people. Like all of us Charlie has been constantly battered with guidance re the virus. She doesn't actually have much time for politics and news, finds it all a bit "over the top". As the days go by she gets more and more worn down. Everything is an effort. This is not like her, she is a ball of energy usually.
On the Wednesday the bloke in the shop tells her she looks pale and tired. She replies "and you look like George Clooney". All is not well with her. It is starting to affect her, she needs to curl up and nod off. When her neighbour adds to it all by repeating the words of the bloke in the shop she realises that maybe she needs to do something.
Charlie sticks the telly on and hears the "Self Isolate" mantra and bursts out laughing. Being altruistic it occurs to her that maybe it's best if she doesn't spend her day handing out food and drinks to everyone. She does however have the rent to pay. She rings the GP surgery and could possibly be seen a week on Monday, the receptionist diagnoses her down the phone and repeats the Self Isolate routine.
Charlotte isn't often stumped, she is now. What to do ?
Charlie has worked at the pub for just over a year, averages out at around 32 hrs per week. She is unsure as to how being paid when sick will work. She hardly ever sees the Landlord of her flat, it's all done via Direct Debit. She rings work. Her manger tells her that Self Isolation is being treated like any other illness. Charlotte puts forward that the surgery has instructed to S/I, Her line manager is not swayed and says that the pub will be very busy. Charlotte genuinely feels rough and is worried about passing it on to others. There is no union.
She is informed that she would get Statutory Sick Pay if she went sick, which pays her £94-25p per week, if she is off for four days or more. She loses the first Three days.
An already under par Charlie is now well and truly teed off. Bottom line being she is not far enough ahead with the rent to take time off. She goes to work.
In the 1975 film Jaws there is a Mayor who will not see sense. He insists on trying to keep the beaches open even though the body parts are piling up. At JD Wetherspoons his equal is Timothy Randall Martin. He rules over 45,000 employees. He attracted much attention in the run up to Brexit with his extreme views and dislike of the EU.
There is no way to know how many Charlottes there are amongst his 45,000 workers, common sense dictates there will be quite a few. All those drinks and meals, all those potentially infected people. Mr Randall plainly is not bothered at all.
His company soldiers on, cash flows through the tills, people who have visited his boozers start to feel weary and hot. His staff fall slowly and steadily, some of them are released, the Stock Exchange continues to sink. Mr Randall blames the Government.
Charlotte eventually misses days at work. Loses the job, loses the flat.
Where can she go from here ??
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