Surviving Covid has to be done together

As cases of Covid rise, the Northern Ireland Executive meets today, reportedly to consider a circuit breaker to reduce community transmission, as concerns continue to be raised about the effect of lockdowns and shielding on mental health and jobs. We know that mental health is seriously affected by lockdown, businesses with fewer customers are likely to fail or at least require redundancies to survive, and the prioritisation of Covid has had a serious effect on elective Health Service treatments.  Yet, …

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“Build Back Better” – how do we turn soundbites into a successful reset and recovery?

Sinead McLaughlin is the SDLP’s economy spokesperson, deputy chair of the Assembly’s economy committee and a Foyle MLA. Covid-19 will continue to damage our collective health and our economy for a long time to come. Many businesses will fail and, even more sadly, many more people will die from coronavirus.  Yet it should not be too early to consider recovery. The SDLP has put together four principles for that recovery – a new deal for young people; a new localism; new connectivity; …

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Singing Happy Birthday to the Experts

Of course, the Daily Telegraph’s front page scoop that crack epidemic modeller Neil Ferguson broke lockdown rules to visit his paramour is a dead cat story designed to deflect attention from the UK having the worst COVID19 death toll in Europe. The Telegraph has form in trying to destroy Ferguson’s credibility, but that doesn’t mean this wasn’t a real front page news story, and it doesn’t mean that Ferguson shouldn’t have resigned; in fact, it’s greatly to his credit that …

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Addiction in a time of crisis…

Mental health is suffering as we remain in lockdown. Those with poor mental health coupled with an alcohol/drug addiction seem to have worsened over recent weeks manifest in more and more bizarre and risky behaviours and an increased need for; antidepressants, anti-psychotics and anxiolytics. It’s time to rethink how we deal with addiction associated with poor mental health because we might not be getting it right. Addiction NI, the local charity that does what it says on the tin, last …

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Schools: Locked down, separately…

On 12th March, from the steps of the President’s Guest House in Washington, Leo Varadkar announced that schools across the Republic of Ireland would be closed to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. His statement echoed concerns that had been raised by teaching unions and parents in Northern Ireland and increased pressure on the Assembly to follow suit. On 18th March, First Minister Arlene Foster declared that NI would by closing all schools with effect from Monday, 23rd March, …

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Does Smoking Prevent Covid-19 or is it a myth?

The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive and unrealistic…… We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. JF Kennedy 1962 There are many myths emerging as we struggle with the SARS-CoV2 virus pandemic. President Trump again covers himself in glory with his latest; suggesting intravenous disinfectant as a treatment option. Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D are all appearing as disease preventors but there is little evidence …

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Be good to yourself. This isn’t easy for anyone, not even for me…

So we are in day eleventy Wednesday of lockdown and I’m at the stage where I need someone to text me each morning to tell me what day it is. Also I need a brass band to parade through my house to wake up the teenagers.  Although in these days of social distancing I suppose an impromptu performance in the garden would be more appropriate. Can’t say I’d be popular with the neighbours though.  In an outstanding feat of achievement …

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Public relations misfire: transparent and desperate…

On Wednesday at the national daily briefing, the UK government visibly acknowledged its anxiety over its COVID-19 response to date as talks of an Inquiry mount, just days after a Sunday Times article highlighted a series of spectacular blunders that prompted a detailed 2,000-word rebuttal. The tell…? Wheeling out the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter GCB, CBE, DSO, ADC. One would be forgiven for thinking it relatively benign, given that the military has been squarely involved …

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Anyone want a swig of Toilet Duck?

In these times of global crisis, it is reassuring that we have a strong leader of the free world. Donald Trump is many things, a humanitarian, a philanthropist, a voice for the downtrodden but best of all he is a scientist and medical genius. The latest advice from the Golden Sage is we can cure Coronvirus by injections of disinfectant and UV light. Trump's coronavirus disinfectant comments are 'dangerous', doctors say, after the U.S. president said during a White House …

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Invite your friends or family to dinner by video. And other Covid-19 tech tips…

As you may know, TV Dinners is what Americans call ready meals. But how about a video dinner? I was chatting to a friend the other day to see how he was getting on during the big pause. He lives with his family in Belfast but his mother lives alone in Armagh. To make his mum feel less isolated he came up with a novel solution. Every night at dinner time he video calls his mum on his tablet, then …

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The FT estimates actual UK Covid-19 deaths at 41,000. Also QUB research shows Republic’s Covid-19 death rate is two-thirds that in the North…

Who knows what to believe anymore. There is so much data floating around it would make your head spin. The latest number-crunching from the number wizards over at the FT has the actual UK death rate over twice as high at the official rate. The coronavirus pandemic has already caused as many as 41,000 deaths in the UK, according to a Financial Times analysis of the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. The estimate is more than double …

Read more…The FT estimates actual UK Covid-19 deaths at 41,000. Also QUB research shows Republic’s Covid-19 death rate is two-thirds that in the North…

COVID-19 Spread In Both Irelands, the UK and Selected Countries: Early clusters difficult to flatten:

The COVID-19 cases for April 20th have been used to draw two maps: one showing the rate of incidence of counties and councils relative to their jurisdictional average, and the other showing the rate of change over the April 15-20 period. The ‘rate of incidence’ map shows essentially the same pattern as did the earlier two maps (for April 9/10 and April 15). Once a county or council got off to a bad start with respect to the number of …

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Oil prices have crashed so low that they will pay you to take it away…

The price of a barrel of oil is in freefall. From the New York Times: Oil that is scheduled to be delivered in June fell 12 percent Monday to about $22 a barrel, but at the same time a benchmark for oil to be delivered next month was essentially deemed to be worthless. Owing largely to a quirk in the way that oil prices are set, the May benchmark actually fell into negative territory, suggesting people who had oil to …

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The Sunday Times puts the boot into Boris Johnson’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic…

I am sure Boris was feeling bad enough recovering from COVID-19, opening yesterdays Sunday Times I am sure did nothing to lift his mood. Coronavirus: 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster was the headline and just to reinforce the point the subheading hammered home the main accusations – ‘Boris Johnson skipped five Cobra meetings on the virus, calls to order protective gear were ignored and scientists’ warnings fell on deaf ears. Failings in February may have cost thousands of …

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Modern life has lost the daily sense of ebb and flow…

Who would have thought that walking is almost as good for depression as taking an antidepressant?  As we all now know from the Government’s Coronavirus advice, exercise is not just good for our physical health but also for our mental health.  And not just any old exercise, the best is green exercise, exercise surrounded by nature. Creation feeds our souls and spirits.  Looking at the birds of the air and considering the lilies of the field reassures us of God’s …

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More Musings from a Beginner Beekeeper in Lockdown…

Friday 3rd April When did the world last stop like this? The World Wars? The Spanish Flu? But it wasn’t the same handbrake skid to standstill. When’s the last time so many noticed the sound of birds singing, or the small bright blooms of spring? Or had the time to notice the details of life? Bees are detail. Bees are full-stops. Before I started beekeeping, I thought I’d seen lots of bees. But I hadn’t – not properly. Drones – …

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COVID19 Spread In Both Irelands, the UK and Selected Countries: Cases Rates of Change by County and Council:

The rate of increase of Covid19 cases on the island seems to be slowing down in the greater Dublin and Belfast metropolitan areas. However, Donegal and Derry & Strabane have had a large rate of increase, as have Monaghan and Roscommon. Also, commuter-belt counties around Dublin-Wicklow have also had increases greater than average. Dublin, Wicklow, Belfast, Lisburn & Castlereagh, Cavan, Westmeath, and Monaghan are the only counties or councils whose cases per head of the population is above their jurisdictional …

Read more…COVID19 Spread In Both Irelands, the UK and Selected Countries: Cases Rates of Change by County and Council:

It’s all about the test: Counting COVID-19 deaths *updated*

Who is and is not being counted in this daily reported figure? What are the regional variations and why? We explain below.

Two sets of COVID-19 data are regularly being produced:

(1) Daily reports on the deaths of people who had tested positive for the virus (mostly dying in hospital, though may include some people discharged to care homes); and
(2) Weekly reports based on COVID-19 being listed on death certificates no matter where the person died — but there’s a delay to account for the registration process. (The Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency intend to provide a further level of breakdown to include deaths in care homes.)

View from New York – 15 days later – the new normal…

After submitting my first, then second (and I assumed last ever) posting to Slugger on the C19 pandemic from my viewpoint in Brooklyn, New York, I figured I was done. The headlines out of Ireland and Britain have already begun to reflect the horrors across the pond here in the US, and there seems to be no need to revisit what is now the day-to-day reality for all of us. Whether it be the hard-to-fathom daily statistics on staggering C19 …

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So what are the total UK Covid-19 deaths? 10,000? 20,000? Does anyone know?

You would imagine it would be a simple enough process to track how many people are dying from Covid-19 but it seems like a lot of things in life it is more complex than it first appears. The government stats are 10,000 but they only track deaths in hospitals. But with experts saying around half of Covid-19 deaths are in care homes, this means we are vastly undercounting deaths. Then what about deaths in the community? The people who die …

Read more…So what are the total UK Covid-19 deaths? 10,000? 20,000? Does anyone know?