Like millions of others around the world, Gulf News Foreign Correspondent Mick O’Reilly is currently under Covid-19 lockdown. This is what life is like in social isolation in Ireland, where there are strict rules about who is allowed out, where, and under limited circumstances.
Sunday April 10, 9am
IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE?
ANOTHER THREE WEEKS AND COUNTING
Today I am in lockdown for two weeks. And the government here in Ireland has just announced that the lockdown regulations will stay in force until Tuesday, May 5. No one is surprised, and even then there is much talk about how and when the economy will begin to open up.
It is Easter Sunday, a special time of the year for the world’s Christians, but also a festival that truly does mark the beginning of spring. It’s a time for renewal, new life, for planting to begin in earnest, a time when the weather changes, a time of hope and optimism.
And because it’s Easter Sunday, I thought I’d change the format of this blog, just for today. Hey, a change is as good as a rest.
U, V, W, L OR A SWOOSH?
Economists speak their own language. That;s why they are using terms like ‘U’, ‘V’, ‘W’, ‘L’ or ‘swoosh’ to try and figure out what the recovery from this pandemic will look like.
Here are some scenarios being debated the them. I’ll try and explain it as simply as possible.
THE BIG ‘V’
Ok, so this is the best cast when it comes to recover. It’s a sharp drop off – and it has been – followed by a sharp recovery. The drop off in March, April, May or even June has or will be quite dramatic – and because we’re all eager to get back to having things as quickly as possible, the pickups then in the following four months will be equally dramatic.
THE BIG ‘U’
Ok, so this is shape on the graphs when the fall off has been dramatic, there are a few months of flat activity, and then it all picks back up again. The big question is how long is that flat part of the ‘U’ going to be? This seems more likely than the ‘V’, if only because there will be a knock-on effect from the pandemic that will take time to recover. Call it economic shock, if you will.
THE DOUBLE DIP ‘W’
So, the is the shape economists take about when there has been a sudden dip in activity, just like in the first part of the bid ‘V’ above. Because governments have pumped a lot of stimulus into their national economics, activity picks up right away. The danger, however, is that the boost is artificial and that companies and corporations, builders, sellers, buyers and traders, can’t sustain it – the money put it might not be enough to kickstart the economy or the levels of money being put in can’t be sustained, there’s a falloff in economic output – the second ‘V’ that makes up the ‘W’, will mean that the real recovery will be further off. But it will come. And if there’s a second wave of the pandemic in the late summer of autumn, then the ‘W’ is more likely.
THE BIG ‘L’
We don’t want this. It’s a sudden vertical drop – which it has been – but then the horizontal line stays flat. That means there will be a prolonged downtown that will take a long time to recover from. ‘L’ is not good for anyone.
You know that Nike logo? The swoosh? Will this is the term economists use when they take about a sharp drop but with a slow and steady recovery that will take time to get things back to the way they were. And as the lockdowns are eased and we get back to doing things as we did before, demand will rise and we’ll recover over time. Just the sooner the better.
WASH YOUR HANDS
Public health authorities have been stressing that one of the key ways to defeat this coronavirus is to wash your hands often using warm soapy water. And this meme brings the point home. It was sent to me by a former colleague on WhatsApp. If your children like dinosaurs – most kids go through a phase of liking them – then share it with them
WHAT I’M WATCHING
BACK FOR MORE
Netflix is bringing back its widely talked about docuseries Tiger King for one more episode.
The streaming giant announced Thursday that it would release an eighth episode of the show, titled The Tiger King and I for today, Easter Sunday..
The episode is an after-show hosted by comedian Joel McHale, who is featured in Netflix’s announcement wearing themed attire of a cowboy hat and a leopard print shawl.
McHale said he interviewed people from the show, including John Reinke, Joshua Dial, John Finlay, Saff, Erik Cowie, Rick Kirkman, and Jeff and Lauren Lowe.
“I talk to a lot of people involved in the project,” McHale says in the video. “To see what’s happened in their lives since the release of the series. It’s eye-opening and, hopefully, funny.”
Tiger King was released by Netflix on March 20 and follows a group of people who own tigers.
The series specifically chronicles Joseph Maldonado-Passage, or “Joe Exotic,” a keeper of big cats in Oklahoma who allegedly orchestrated a plot to kill Carole Baskin, a woman who runs a facility called Big Cat Rescue and had lobbied to shut down operations like his.
And I can’t wait.
THESE NUGGETS WILL CHEER YOU UP
SIKH TEMPLE DELIVERS CHEER
Volunteers from a Sikh temple in south Dublin have offered to cook and deliver hundreds of free meals to vulnerable families, police and health workers for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Members of the Sikh Gurdwara say they can produce up to 500 vegetarian meals a day if necessary for people in need around the city from the temple’s kitchen.
The decision to offer the free food stems from the Sikh tradition of ‘langar’ or sharing meals, says Ravinder Singh Oberoi, one of the volunteers at the temple.
“It comes with the tradition we follow that food is for the poor. It was started by our first Guru Nanak; it’s a free kitchen for anyone. Worldwide there are Sikh organisations providing free meals to the needy. It’s in our blood that we want to help. On this occasion with a lot of people suffering, we decided as Sikhs we can help in some shape or form.”
There are currently ten volunteers in the temple’s kitchen cooking vegetarian meals made up of rice, chickpeas and lentils. These meals are then boxed up and delivered to those in need, says Singh Oberoi.
It just goes to show how multicultural once-Catholic Ireland has become.
AT LEAST WEAR A MASK!
Face masks aren’t mandatory everywhere, but strict rules on wearing them have been enforced in the Czech Republic – even for nudists.
The European country has started to relax lockdown restrictions.
But police have been forced to tell people that even if it’s ok to sunbathe in the buff, they needed to at least wear facemasks.
“Unfortunately, many of the sunbathing citizens were gathered in large groups, and some were not wearing face masks,” Czech police said. “Citizens are allowed to be without clothes in designated locations, but they still must cover their mouths, and only gather in appropriate numbers.”
The message seems to have been heeded. The statement said a subsequent police patrol found that of 150 people encountered, only half needed reminding about masks
The naked truth is social distancing works.
YOU CAN’T KEEP KEITH DOWN
A 101-year-old man has returned home after being treated at a hospital in England for the coronavirus.
Keith Watson was admitted to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch for surgery last month and tested positive for Covid-19.
He was discharged during the week and a post celebrating the recovery from the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been shared thousands of times on Facebook.
It said: “This is Keith, he’s 101 years old.
“He went home today after beating Coronavirus.
“Well done to everyone on Ward 12 at the Alexandra Hospital for looking after Keith so well for the past two weeks!”
Watson’s daughter-in-law Jo Watson told the BBC the reaction had been “a bit mad”, adding “ We didn’t know anything about this Facebook page until a member of the family had it pop up and it’s gone a bit mad.”
That’s the fighting spirit!
THE BRIDE AND THE GLOOM
For Indonesian couple Mohamad Nurjaman and Ugi Lestari Widya Bahri, their wedding meant the most important day of their lives, to be celebrated in front of hundreds of happy guests.
But the coronavirus pandemic forced a change of plan: Instead, the pair exchanged vows on Friday in a solemn ceremony attended only by eight close family members Other relatives watched a live stream of the 40-minute wedding procession from their homes.
Although there is no official Indonesian ban on mass gatherings, authorities have warned against them in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus across the country after at least 3,512 people were infected and 306 died.
“If you asked if we are disappointed, definitely,” said 31-year-old Nurjaman, speaking after the traditional Muslim ceremony in Tangerang, neighbouring the capital Jakarta.
“But we must accept, because this is not only affecting one or two people. We just have to accept the situation.”
The couple have been dating for two years and started to plan their wedding last October. But the reception for 500 guests that was supposed to take place in an event hall in a university in Jakarta on April 12 will be postponed indefinitely.
It brings a whole new meaning to marrying in sickness and in health.
WHO YOU GONNA CALL? GHOSTBUSTERS!
When coronavirus hit and tourists stopped coming to Thiago Firmino’s Rio de Janeiro favela tour, he decided to act. Unwilling to wait for officials to react, he donned a white suit and set about disinfecting the streets of the Santa Marta slum.
Having watched with horror as the virus spread round the world, Firmino, 39, launched a scheme to sanitise the Santa Marta favela.
Dressed as a “Ghostbuster,” Firmino leads the latest in a growing number of community-led programs to combat the spread of a virus that many expect to wreak havoc in Brazil’s poor, densely-packed slums.
“I wouldn’t call it heroic, but we have a ferocious attitude,” said Firmino as he took a break from spraying the stairways and back alleys of Santa Marta to the applause of quarantined residents.
“The favela is always forgotten. Anything that happens in the city, the favela is always the last to receive any benefit. Healthcare is precarious and the question of public hygiene and trash is also precarious.”
Around 4,000 people live in Santa Marta, one of Rio’s most iconic favelas.
Let’s hope there won’t have to be a sequel!
OLD SOLDIERS NEVER DIE…
A 99-year-old Second World War veteran who survived Covid-19 has been given a guard of honor by nurses as he was discharged from hospital.
Albert Chambers, who will turn 100 in July, is due to arrive back home this weekend after recovering from the virus at Tickhill Road Hospital in Doncaster, northern England.
Chambers was admitted to the hospital three weeks ago after injuring his wrist in a fall. While there, he began to show symptoms of Covid-19 and tested positive for the virus.
But, despite the fears of his family, he recovered, and nurses at the hospital saw him off with a guard of honour – a moment that was captured on video and shared on social media by the NHS Northeast and Yorkshire health trust.
During the Second World War, Chambers served in the Coldstream Guards and was captured by the enemy after being injured in a bomb blast in North Africa. He was transferred to Fallingbostel in northwestern Germany, where he spent three years as a prisoner of war in its Stalag XI B camp.
It’s certainly proves he’s one tough trooper still.
THE LOCKDOWN DIET
FLUSHING OUT MY LIVER
Day 15 of Dr Joshi’s Holistic Detox: “21 days to a healthier slimmer you – for life.”
I have less than a week to go, but it’s time for another liver flush. Grapefruit justs, lemon juice, enough water to bring it up to 150mls, then add two tablespoons of olive oil, turmeric, 2cms of ginger root grated, and two cloves of garlic, grated. Gulp it down, then a cup of fennel team and rest for two hours. Make sure to drink 2 litres of water too. Yuck. But it’s supposed to work. Did I tell you I miss coffee.
THE STOCK SHOCK
LOOKING AFTER MY NEST EGG AT EASTER
On Friday, there was no trading. My portfolio now stands:
Net worth: £10753.13
Just East Takeaway, 100 shares: £7502.00
Totally, 250 shares: £2793.00
Cash in hand £458.15
% Gain +7.53 per cent
£ Gain +£753.13
I’m happy with the results from two weeks of trading. I’ll keep sharing with you for as long as I’m writing this daily lockdown blog. A reminder that it’s all pretend, I started with £10,000 (about Dh45,000) in play money, I don’t pay brokerage fees, there’s no minimum amount of stocks as long as I have the funds to do so, the stocks are listed on the London Stock Exchange, and I can only buy stocks at the end of the trading day.
THE IDIOTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
PARTY THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
Police across the United Kingdom were called out more than a thousand times last weekend because Covidiots across the locked-down nation were out and about ignoring rules to stop the spread of the pandemic.
In Manchester alone, there were reports of 494 house parties and 166 street parties. And police said that some of the parties had bouncy castles, DJs and fireworks.
It’s one thing to put on a big spread for a party – another for a party to be a big spread for this pandemic.
BOOK HIM, DANO!
A mayor in Hawaii has a choice word for the Florida man accused of trying to flout Hawaii’s traveller quarantine: “Covidiot.”
Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami isn’t taking credit for coining the word borne out of the Covid-19 pandemic, but said, “I may be the first elected official to bust it out in public.”
Bobby Edwards, of Boynton, Florida, was arrested last week after police say he landed on the island without proof of accommodations. A statewide order requires those who arrived in the islands to quarantine for 14 days.
Edwards, 31, “was exhibiting belligerent behaviour toward airport personnel and toward officers during his arrest,” police said. “Edwards was also showing significant signs of intoxication and was not being cooperative.”
WHAT’S THE FRENCH FOR COVIDIOTS?
French police have fined and sent packing a group of rich Britons who landed a private jet at Marseille Provence Airport in a huge breach of coronavirus regulations and common sense.
The group of seven men and three women landed at Marseille Provence Airport, near Marignane airport, about 30kms outside Marseille. Incredibly they had helicopters on stand-by for the onward journey.
Authorities were alerted to the inbound flight from coronavirus-struck Britain and officers intercepted the group on landing.
The group were accused of illegal movement and fined by the gendarmerie – then sent packing back to Britain.
It all goes to prove that money can’t buy common sense.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
I’m not an expert, but I might be able to help you make a bit of sense of this. And we can all get through it together. Isn’t this what this is all about.
Send your questions for me to Readers@gulfnews.com.
That’s it for now. Let’s check in with each other tomorrow. I’ve used reports from news agencies and outlets like Reuters, the BBC and others to put this blog together. And remember, stay safe.
Mick O’Reilly is the Gulf News Foreign Correspondent based in Europe