Other views from England


I was interested that you play bridge on line . Our group does this with BBO but we combine it with a Zoom so the four of us can talk, one hand on the iPhone and one on iPad for the bridge . We limit it to twelve hands an evening twice a week , about an hour and a half . I also play on BBO as an individual but find it quite frustrating at times . As you know weak no trumps are generally favoured in the UK but I have had to learn how to cope with strong ones and how to bid with say 12 points and no five card suit . Also some players can’t take being got down and the host can then remove you from the table!! One of our group has learned how to send messages to that host and tells them they are a poor loser who has had too much to drink ! It makes him feel better .

a Bridge friend, a retired lung consultant, in Leeds 2/5/2020


Things are pretty in the UK.   The continuing lack of PPE in many areas is scandalous. 
We are fine.  We have been self-isolating for about a month but are so fortunate in living where we do.  A local grocery shop delivers and various friends do supermarket shopping for us.   We managed to get one Waitrose delivery early on.  We are officially on the Sainsburys over 70s list but despite promises no slots ever seem to be available.  We are doing a lot of gardening and trying to improve our social media skills.  D managed an online facebook church service on Sunday which was fine.  She then took part in a Zoom church coffee morning.  She found it very confusing. She didn't know most of the people, had no idea when she was supposed to be talking and had no idea who was talking to her.  Not a great success!

D has been busy organising PPE supplies for a care home in Reading where a 99 year old friend resides.  They had two Covid patients and almost zero PPE.  The poor manager was having to order supplies herself despite the home being part of the Abbeyfield group of 130 homes.  Having dealt with totally ineffective middle managment we got on to the group's CEO to ask what was being done.  He said that it was all under control and supplies were on their way.  He would say that wouldn't he!  A different story from the home itself !!  We have now sent the home about 150 home-made fabric masks and 12 home-made (3D printed) plastic visors.  We have also ordered sugical masks, plastic face shields and a remote digital thermometer on Amazon and Ebay albeit at a price and the first batch of these masks was delivered today.  Through a friend we put the Abbeyfield CEO in touch with a manufacturing group in Hong Kong.  If we can do this why can't the Government!!!

Our daughter is a Macmillan nurse in a hospice in Reading.  They have similar lack of PPE!!  D has managed to organise some 50 locally manufactured plastic visors to be sent to them today.

The attached article explains the relationship between our Government and its scientific advisors.  The Chief Medical Officer and Senior Scientific Advisor seem reasonable people but the advice is always too little too late.  They were slow to announce the shut-down (allowing the Cheltenham race meeting to continue could well account for the Covid hot spot in Gloucestershire),  they were slow to order adequate PPE, they missed the boat in the European bid for ventilators, they were slow to order sufficient test kits, slow to realise that care homes were vulnerable.  Overall they have been slow to take notice of what the rest of the world is doing.  The two Union flags at the daily briefing broadcast to the nation seem to say 'we are British, we will do it our way'.

Our Government seems almost alone in the world in not advocating the wearing of masks.  The arguments against masks seem very spurious to us. The view seems to be that it is something that Chinese and Japanese tourist do and not part of our culture!  At least London Mayor Saddiq Kahn is now advocatoing their use on public transport and in shops. No doubt it will come but as usual too late.  We are heading for some of the worst mortality figures in the world.

a retired doctor 17/4/2020. He then became ill himself, in spite of having completely self isolated for 4 or more weeks

In summary I continued with high temps and feeling dreadful and as I wasn't getting any better after two weeks it was reluctantly decided that I needed to go into hosp for further investigations.  Those images of your Madrid Hospital were very much on my mind!   I went into an investigation ward.  Very good and safe management. There were obvious covid patients around me but we were pretty well screened off from each other and the barrier nursing techniques were excellent.  I had a battery of investigations that were inconclusive.  These included a covid test that was negative but that was two weeks after the onset of symptoms so not very meaningful.  Anyway within 24 hours my temp dropped and I suddenly started to feel better.  So either the various antibiotics prescribed by my GP had kicked in or the disease process had burnt itself out. Out of hosp after 36 hours and for the past two weeks I have been gradually improving.  Still a bit weak, and breathless on exertion but I'm getting there.  It's so wonderful to feel well.  Daphne and I had to then isolate from each other for two weeks , not easy!  So we are still none the wiser as to what it was.  I shall have an antibody test as soon as it becomes available so at least that will say whether or not it was covid.

the retired doctor 27/5/2020



"The daily death toll here continues, they announce the figures with other relevant news during daily government press briefings. I think the total so far is about 37,000 but sceptics reckon it could be double that. A blame game is setting in with so called experts denouncing actions and steps that should have been taken, you just don't know who is right or wrong. If you watched yesterday's news you will have seen the beaches in Devon crammed with day trippers, astonishing.
We had a lovely day out at Worthing on Monday, a great run down and celebrated our anniversary with bacon baps from a beach side café, yummy. Took a 4 mile walk along the front, not many folk around so reckon we chose the best day.

On Tuesday we took the car in to have the wheels and tyres swapped over (winter to summer): what a performance with social distancing measures. The showroom had been cordoned off with taped corridors, arrows on the floor and Janet & John instructions. We had to wait in our car to be summoned, hand over the key which was then sanitised and then exit through another door. It felt like a military field hospital but on the whole well organised, same routine again later in the day. This is a sign of the new norm? hope not.

A big dust up is coming about reopening of schools, unions and local authorities vs the government, I reckon they will be lucky to get 50% open. Most other kids won't re-start until September, the poor parents, I really feel for them. Much talk of holidays and air bridges to safer destinations but we won't be taking to the air anytime soon. Seems a crazy idea.

Yesterday's job loss announcement by Rolls Royce is a tragedy for all those folk and the Derby economy. The worry now is that unemployment levels will double this year. The amounts of money being spent to support all this are eye watering, we will be paying this off for decades. One sensible economist said recently that all sovereign debt should be cancelled to enable the world to rebalance and recover, bet that will not happen though!

I had a nice long video chat with a cousin in Jo'burg, South Africa : he is continuing to work from home and they are managing alright. He reports that the Covid case numbers there are remarkably low because of stringent lockdown measures. I find this very surprising given the density of the people in the townships, but well done nevertheless. He said that his daughter was now at Pretoria university and he recently went to pick her up. During the journey he was stopped a couple of times by the police in road blocks." - A report from a friend 1/5/2020  




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