Not even a global pandemic can bring Sinn Fein to welcome help from the Brits…

Sinn Fein’s recent criticism of Stormont’s Health Minister Robin Swann was a curious occurrence in even more curious times. The UUP MLA’s decision to utilise the UK military to support logistic functions like distribution of PPE and construction of a NI Nightingale facility, was layered with realism, a sense of urgency and for once, relative political neutrality.  And yet, Michelle O’Neill criticised the decision, based not on the intended use of the UK military, but on the lack of consultation that …

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COVID19 Spread In Both Irelands, the UK and Selected Countries: The Geography of COVID19 in Ireland

The map below displays how your county or council is doing in terms of COVID19 cases, relative to the jurisdictional average for COVID19 cases. The approach taken is to work out a county’s /council’s share of its jurisdictional population, and then work out its share of jurisdictional Covid19 cases, then divide this ‘case’ percentage by the population percentage. That will tell us whether the county/council is above or below average. <br> The map shows how the greater Dublin and Belfast …

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Milkmen, breadmen and big knickers…

It’s all gone retro, we’ve got a milkman again and not a moment too soon. It all came about by the power of social media, I found the local supplier listed and hey presto, 4 litres of milk twice a week, thank you very much. Milk is high priority in this household, I have two teenagers and they’re both cereal killers. I know who the milkman is, he’s a familiar figure in our local area delivering milk to shops. One …

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How not being a 90s Supermodel can help in lockdown…

Back in the heady days of pre-lockdown (remember them?) a friend and her son had asked us to join them for dinner. I politely declined and suggested they visit us instead. You see, I like to compare myself to the supermodels of the 90s who wouldn’t get out of bed for less than £10K. I don’t do evenings. My reluctance to go out in the evening is unrelated to any financial incentive or indeed my appearance, I simply can’t do …

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Covid-19. The View from New York – 10 days later…

On March 30th, Slugger was kind enough to post my “View from New York” and when I wrote it, I was probably motivated in part by shock and anger and how quickly the C-19 crisis had escalated on my doorstep, and by the horrifying headlines and statistics I was seeing reported every hour. Also, I was concerned about what was about to unfold “back home”. My mum used to say that her mum used to say that, “Whatever happens in …

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COVID19 Spread In Both Irelands, the UK and Selected Countries: Both Irelands possibly plateauing for new cases; NI death rate less bad than RoI’s; Global situation: disimprovement:

The deaths per million curves for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland continue to flatten. New cases appear to have stabilised somewhat.The Republic of Ireland has 71.96% of the island’s population, but 75.58% of the COVID19-related deaths. This divergence has increased in recent days. Is the better performance of the North regarding COVID19-related deaths a function of having the NHS rather than the two-tier system in the South? Simon Coveney seemed to be essentially accepting this when he stated …

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John Prine, US folk and country songwriter, dies aged 73 due to Covid-19 complications…

I have no idea if the name John Prine resonates with many out there is Slugger Land. But it did with the Boss Over here on E Street, we are crushed by the loss of John Prine. John and I were "New Dylans" together in the early 70s and he was never anything but the lovliest guy in the world. A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages. We send our love and prayers to his family. — …

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The Loyal Orange Institution may not be on parade this year, but there is still an important role for us to play in society at large…

As April arrives to borrow a phrase that’s popular now, the Loyal Orange Institution (LOI) would be ramping up its efforts in preparation for the Twelfth. This year however, the 2020 Twelfth will not go ahead. As things stand and if we are lucky the UK and ROI will hopefully be emerging from the epidemic in July with the lockdown being slowly released, it would be entirely irresponsible to have 17 large scale Twelfth demonstrations across Northern Ireland and an …

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Never before? The Spanish Flu and COVID 19…

Boris Johnson is not the first British prime minister to fall ill during a pandemic. In September 1918, with the First World War far from over, David Lloyd George succumbed to the Spanish Flu. Johnson is not the only world leader affected by Covid 19 and a century ago, a global range of politicians was also affected by influenza; while still suffering from the aftermath of his severe infection, Lloyd George visited the Paris peace conference in 1919, only to …

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What sort of a society does that make us if we feel certain lives are more valuable than others?

I have temporarily sidelined two articles I have penned for Slugger to instead discuss the Covid-19 epidemic and how it questions our morality and values. I have always been hugely passionate about history and I sometimes wonder how I would have reacted to wrongdoings of the past if I was in that situation. The persecution of Jews at the hands of the Nazis, the discrimination that many black people faced (unfortunately some still do) and societies treatment of minorities including …

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The Plight of the Sole Director during Covid-19…

In the wake of the coronavirus epidemic the government announced unprecedented measures to keep the economy afloat. These are largely rooted in Keynesian and new monetary theory policies. The purpose is to keep money in the businesses that supply our economy with the goods and services demanded by consumers. First, we had money set aside by the exchequer to the tune of £300 billion for loans that would relive larger to medium sized businesses and the SMEs that needed such …

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COVID19 Spread In Both Irelands, the UK and Selected Countries: An Improving Picture in Ireland and the World; Not So Good in Great Britain and USA:

The latest figures show that, despite the divergent public health approach of the UK compared to the WHO recommendations, the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland COVID19 death rates for April 5th are very similar. Northern Ireland has 28.04% of the island’s population, and it has 28.51% of the island’s COVID19-related deaths. Moreover, Northern Ireland’s ‘deaths per million of the population’ and ‘cumulative cases per million of the population’ curves are flattening at a rate similar to the South. And …

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A beginners guide to self-isolation…

This is my kickback at the numerous self-important posts on twitter, full of pap, endlessly telling everyone how to work from home, how to structure your day, how to set a timetable for home schooling.  Well my online friends, if that’s your shtick look away now.  I am particularly well qualified in this area as I’ve been mostly housebound with disability for 5 years.  All this has been courtesy of a bite from a tiny tick, the size of a …

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Musings from a Beginner Beekeeper in Lockdown…

Monday 23rd March 2020 The Prime Minister announces at 8.30pm that the UK is to go into ‘lockdown.’ People are permitted to leave the house once a day for exercise, to shop for essentials or to go to work – only if that work cannot be done from home. The country is told to ‘Stay At Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.’ Tuesday tests the country’s resolve and throws out buckets of spring sunshine. After a winter of strong winds …

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Better news after Swann’s savaging. But we need more local reporting in depth. Urgently

We’ve now  received more positive news about the running story in the last 24 hours, like Randox is now supplying NI directly. The running story is course  essential. but  needs to be set in context  Why aren’t the regular media producing the sort of comparative analysis  just supplied by Ian James Parsley?. The political argy bargy distorts the  real story that matters. It’s amazing the Executive can’t get this act together to  produce this sort of report as  a matter …

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A personal brush with CoVid-19….

A Single Death is a Tragedy; a Million Deaths is a Statistic.    Attributed to Joseph Stalin at the Tehran Conference by the author Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko. When one is writing non-fiction, the books one inevitably buys pile up. Last week an order of new shelves arrived and by Sunday I was ready to put up a few banks of them in the least cluttered part of my library and decant the tall forty inch piles collecting on my stairs and around …

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Medical myths in a time of Covid-19…

One aspect of the Covid19 pandemic is the steep rise in associated myths.    This is not unusual.  In time of crisis we all cling to what we believe and we believe new things more easily;  these certainties give us security and hope.   Indeed, government in its covid19 messaging is itself controlling our behaviour in what I believe to be a more or less responsible manner.    Scaring us into staying home and normalising this behaviour is key to their public health …

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By all means, hold the UK government’s feet to the fire. But collaboration with the Republic is no magic bullet.

We can hardly be surprised when the fault lines opened during this emergency.  As a society still in recovery from a different sort of crisis, let’s admit we all – all –  need help to avoid reverting to the old sectarian ding dong. Social media is a virus in itself and social distancing is its incubator. The first thing to hold onto is that we really are all in this together. The second is that things can only get worse …

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Widespread Covid-19 testing needs to happen NOW!

It is imperative that testing is extended to the community at large. The British government was totally at variance in stopping testing, in the first place. WHO recommendations amplified by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghrebreyesus,  whose mantra was  “Test Test Test “,    likened the position the Government took to  “fighting a fire blindfold”,  or as Prof. Gabriel Scally stated on  BBC Radio  – “letting it rip”. The absolute tenants of modern epidemiology are absolutely clear, in that gathering the evidence of …

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We must co-ordinate Northern and Southern responses to Covid-19…

To quote W.Edwards deming “In God we trust, all others bring data”. When I wrote my first article for slugger in February, I did an overview of Covid 19 and how epidemiologically it may be difficult trying to manage an outbreak on an island with two different approaches. This review will review the current public health approaches to managing Covid. There is a lot more evidence about what works, what doesn’t work, and what may work. Epidemiology is a science …

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