Warning - Rant Post. May contain nuts.
There is a definite anticipatory frisson in the air and the media is awash with 'independence day' references, swathed in patriotic red, white and blue. The reason, for those who don't live in the UK, is the restoration of the "ancient, inalienable right of free-born people of the United Kingdom, to go to the pub". From tomorrow, pubs, cafes, bars and restaurants will be throwing open their doors for the first time since 23 March, to await an influx of parched and desiccated, zombie-like patrons, moaning and shuffling uncertainly through their hallowed portals.
A few days ago, HMTreasury (who you'd think would know better) tweeted “Grab a drink and raise a glass, pubs are reopening their doors from 4 July,” while a graphic carried the message: “Pubs are back!”
The resulting Twitterstorm, opining that the tweet was in remarkably poor taste, given the current UK Covid-19 death toll of 44,000 (and rising) caused the inadvisable tweet to be removed, but not before it had been re-tweeted and disseminated all over the interweb to widespread derision and condemnation.
This total lack of taste/empathy/discretion/diplomacy exemplifies the government's response to events over the past 4 months. You could almost be forgiven for thinking that Boris has been taking lessons in statesmanship from his US counterpart.
Boris belatedly put out a statement re the re-opening of pubs, addressing the great British public, renowned for their common sense, with the sage advice...."Don't overdo it....."
Wonderfully consistent, is Boris. Always the dispenser of crystal-clear, completely unambiguous advice.
I am supremely confident that by lunchtime tomorrow, legions of pub-goers will be sitting sedately, maintaining social distance, chatting quietly over their pre-ordered pints.
By closing time, having visited several favoured drinking dens throughout the day, in order to spread their largesse evenly, thereby boosting the economy, there will be absolutely NO fights breaking out and definitely NOT a combination of blood and vomit sluicing though the streets. Underused emergency services will be stood down, and A&E departments the length and breadth of the country will remain echoingly empty.
<insert eye-rolling emoji here>
Perhaps the government is hoping that if we all get absolutely bladdered, we'll forget about the 20,000+ deaths in UK care homes, seeded by discharging elderly patients from hospitals without being tested.
Boris apparently loves history, so he will no doubt be aware that during the Middle Ages, victims of the bubonic plague were used for biological attacks. Infected corpses were catapulted over castle walls with obvious, catastrophic results. The parallels are obvious.
It beggars belief that there was no joined-up thinking... lack of testing, lack of PPE. All efforts directed at protecting the NHS to the detriment of the less 'glamourous' poor relation, social care, specifically care homes. Some might think of it as deliberate,wilful negligence, (naming no names of special advisers who may or may not make up their own rules as they go along, safe in the knowledge that their 'boss' would take a bullet for them).
Still, Boris doesn't do scrutiny. Really hard to make a catchy 3-word slogan out of... probably.
Meanwhile, we have the dubious distinction of having the highest death toll in Europe, and we're in a world-beating 3rd place globally, behind the US and Brazil, with their own irresponsible, populist, grandstanding leaders.
Back in April, the UK watched aghast at the escalating daily death tolls in Italy and Spain, their ICU units overwhelmed and mortuaries overflowing.
No way that would happen here though.
Perish the thought.
Because... British exceptionalism, herd immunity, unicorns.
Still..... good to be beating Europe at something though.
For those of us who are more concerned about our inalienable right not to be infected with a deadly virus, the apparent abandoning of anything approaching a common sense approach to infection control means that things are rather less cut and dried.
This morning, for the first time since mid-March, we drove to our local Lidl. As we entered the car park, a chap was walking through wearing a full-face plague-beak mask, which was somewhat startling, but then, this IS Hastings, so, you know.....fair play.
I opted to stay in the car, but PP got PPE'd up, homemade mask and surgical gloves. I'd have been happier if she'd had a full hazmat suit but you can't have everything.
After a record-breaking brief foray, she was back, dousing her hands and credit card in antibacterial gel and saying that everyone was very well behaved, lots were wearing masks and it wasn't as scary as she'd thought it would be.
Scotland is going to make masks compulsory in shops from 10th July, when social distancing rules will be loosened. I do wish that England would follow suit, but Boris won't impose it until it's too late and we're in the grip of a deadlier second wave. There's probably an inalienable right about it somewhere, plus we have the awe-inspiring daily examples of US Covid-deniers who scream at/cough over/spit at/shoot people who politely ask them to wear a mask.
Because 'freedom' apparently.
And the 'fact' that if they breathe in their own carbon monoxide for longer than 10 seconds, they'll suffer irreparable brain damage in all three lungs.
Not sure how anyone would know, but there you go. Natural selection in action.
The concept that wearing a simple fabric mask helps to protect other, more vulnerable people from being infected by asymptomatic carriers cuts no ice. Doing something for others? That's practically communism.
Really hope that if/when they succumb to Covid-19 (and the infection rate in the US is currently sky-rocketing) the doctors, nurses and surgeons treating them, who wear proper medical grade N95 masks (which DO inhibit normal breathing to a certain extent and which the general public shouldn't have access to anyway), for up to 12 hours a day, all the while carrying out life-saving procedures to save their ungrateful, sorry asses, don't respond in kind and abandon all infection control measures because they don't fancy it. Also hope they all have belt and braces health insurance in place, as really ill Covid patients who survive have been receiving eye-watering bills, including one poor bugger who was handed a 181-page bill totalling $1,122,501.04!!!
Also Trump won't wear a face mask because he says they make him look like the Lone Ranger. Am I the only one who sees a serious flaw in his usually inarguable logic.....?
Just. Wear. The. Damn. Masks!