Embarrassing myself and the summer solstice

I'm finding the face mask I bought almost impossible to use. I wore it to Marks & Spencer this morning and I find it so hard to breathe that I have to take huge gasps of air with my mouth open. Today I inadvertantly inhaled some of my own spit which triggered a fit of… Continue reading Embarrassing myself and the summer solstice

Did the virus come from a lab?

There's a conspiracy theory that the new coronovirus which has brought the world to a halt was engineered by Chinese scientists in a lab in China. This has received heightened media attention in recent weeks after the former head of MI6 publicly supported the idea. While it seems unlikely someone deliberately created and unleashed the… Continue reading Did the virus come from a lab?

Adventures of a virus in a hospital in South Africa

A hospital in South Africa recently published a remarkable account of how a single patient in the emergency department (ED) introduced Covid-19 to the hospital which then managed to spread to 119 confirmed cases by 30th April. The first patient, P1, appeared at the ED for a Covid-19 test on March 9 after recently returning… Continue reading Adventures of a virus in a hospital in South Africa

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but in defence of Dominic Cummings …

It pains me to say this but I have some sympathy for Dominic Cummings right now. It has emerged today that he travelled from London to Durham sometime in March when his wife was showing symptoms of coronavirus so that his 4-year-old child could be near extended family for support. People are now calling for… Continue reading I can’t believe I’m saying this, but in defence of Dominic Cummings …

A walk in the cemetery and frustration with the council

We're allowed to go out for exercise more than once per day now provided we maintain social distancing. We often don't go out at all because we do Joe Wicks' PE class daily and we also have the trampoline but it's nice to explore a bit on the weekend. The weather was very strange today.… Continue reading A walk in the cemetery and frustration with the council

When will it start and when will it end?

Before the lockdown started it seemed like everyone was desperate for it to begin - "When are schools closing?", "Why haven't schools closed yet?" Now that we're in lockdown is seems like everyone is asking, "When will it end?" I can't see how it can end any time soon because the virus will just rebound… Continue reading When will it start and when will it end?

What happens next?

I'm sorry if everyone is getting sick of reading about the pandemic but a paper was published in Science yesterday which is worth sharing. It's called Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period. This is important because there's been a lot of short-term thinking with sudden closures of schools and businesses but… Continue reading What happens next?

Local Hero

Lots of heroes emerge in times of disaster. From neighbours delivering groceries to the vulnerable, to police topping up the electricity meter of an elderly man who was without power, to people donating meals to frontline workers. One of the heroes in my local community in Aberdeen is Artur Banach who has been printing face… Continue reading Local Hero

How is South Korea managing the pandemic?

Everyone on the interwebs is singing the praises of South Korea for beating COVID19 without having to endure a lockdown. Is that really true? I work with someone who lives in Incheon in South Korea, Dakota McCarty, so I thought I'd get the inside scoop from him. This is straight from the horse's mouth and… Continue reading How is South Korea managing the pandemic?

There are no political parties today

Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care last night as his condition with COVID19 worsened. The country is united in wishing him a full and speedy recovery. I sincerely mean it when I say he has been handling the crisis well and I've watched other leaders lead through tragedies having lived in Christchurch during the… Continue reading There are no political parties today

Exit strategies and collateral damage

Professor Neil Ferguson was on The Andrew Marr Show this morning. He's one of the authors of the paper that catapulted us into lockdown a few weeks ago. This has apparently given him the unfortunate nickname of Professor Lockdown although, to be fair, he was one of many authors and while their paper steered government… Continue reading Exit strategies and collateral damage

Music, privilege, and virus incubators

Some music. This is Elizabeth playing The Blue Danube. I learned recently that Aberdeen has been through all this lockdown business once before. In 1964 there was a typhoid outbreak and schools were closed, there were travel bans, and people died. The source of the outbreak was a single tin of corned beef. Meat is… Continue reading Music, privilege, and virus incubators

Outbreak #COVID2019

The Prime Minister now has coronavirus, as does the health secretary, and the chief medical officer is isolating after experiencing symptoms. They're dropping like flies. It begs the question of whether they've all been following their own advice of social distancing and washing hands. Boris Johnson videoed the announcement about testing positive and shared it… Continue reading Outbreak #COVID2019

Lockdown with exercise #COVID2019

We are now in lockdown. I had hoped it wouldn't get to this but it seems people have not been obeying the 2m distance rule and so the government yesterday banned anyone from leaving their homes unless it's to go to work, get essential supplies (food or medicine) or go out for exercise. It is… Continue reading Lockdown with exercise #COVID2019

A bumblebee, extraordinary changes for the UK, and thoughts on mother’s day for the most abused of all mothers

I got stung by a bumblebee yesterday for the first time in my life. Since all our usual Saturday activities were cancelled I took the opportunity to do some gardening and as I put on my gardening gloves I felt a sharp prick. Thinking it was a spider (I'm terrified of spiders and yes I… Continue reading A bumblebee, extraordinary changes for the UK, and thoughts on mother’s day for the most abused of all mothers

Physical distancing for 12 months #COVID2019

The behavioural and social interventions implemented by the government over the past couple of weeks will be in place for 12 months, according to this article from the government website - Consensus view on social and behavioural and social interventions. But there may be periods during this time when some restrictions will be partially relaxed… Continue reading Physical distancing for 12 months #COVID2019

Phantom symptoms

Am I the only one who has been feeling my forehead, palpating the glands in my neck, and imaging various other phantom symptoms, wondering whether I've caught the virus? Probably if you're not sure whether you have a fever you don't have a fever. Nevertheless, I decided to take my temperature just to make sure,… Continue reading Phantom symptoms

Science press briefing #COVID2019

There was a good press briefing today with Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance in which they explain the reasons for the decisions the UK has made since the start of this outbreak. It starts at around 5 minutes. Chris Whitty explains the strategy, "The idea that we're going to put this virus back to… Continue reading Science press briefing #COVID2019

University staff now working from home #COVID2019

Ben is working from home starting today. After the Christchurch earthquakes, he was unable to access his office at the university for several months. This time he has had advanced warning and so yesterday he didn't leave the office until after midnight because he was packing everything he needs to work from home. The earthquakes… Continue reading University staff now working from home #COVID2019

More restrictions for the UK #COVID2019

Yesterday more restrictions came into effect for people in the UK. We are now being told to self-isolate for 14 days if anyone in our household is showing symptoms. This means if one of us gets sick we all have to stay home. That seems reasonable to me. The government also advised people not to… Continue reading More restrictions for the UK #COVID2019