one more shop

Red alert, day seven. Suffolk has 10 confirmed cases, Tower Hamlets has 25 as of morning on March 18. Counts were updated twice today.

Westminster floated a lockdown leak in the morning and debunked it in the afternoon. Johnson talked about “turning the tide” in 12 weeks and finished by saying that journalists were not keeping social distance during press briefings (probably true).

Yes. An emergency powers bill is going through Parliament and facilities for dealing with dead bodies are being measured. (The army has had to step in in Italy.) There are temporary morgues going up around the country. Meanwhile, according to Twitter, a major New York hospital has 100 masks for one department for two weeks, and exposed doctors and nurses are continuing to work because there is no alternative.

All UK schools are closed and summer GSCEs and A levels are cancelled. Not clear how university admissions for next year will work. In coming years some are sure to cite Vera Brittain’s opening to Testament of Youth: “When the Great War broke out, it came to me not as a superlative tragedy, but as an interuption of the most exasperating kind to my personal plans.”

40 Tube stations are closed including all of the Waterloo and City line and a scattering of other places, many in posh neighborhoods where I suppose essential workers aren’t expected to live. There is no night Tube anymore. TfL is ramping down other rail lines and buses.

Michel Barnier (Brexit negotiator) has tested positive. Prince Albert of Monaco has tested positive. An Amazon worker in Queensland has tested positive.

Hah, well I still have plenty to do. I gave my first online lecture today. The feed cut out several times. Out of 55 enrolled students, between 10 and 25 were on, peak. I don’t know if it was effective or diverting but at least I was not as self conscious as I expected. I’m posting recordings. The online test is now a 48-hour short-essay/long-answer take-home assignment, and takes place a week later than it had previously been rescheduled for owing to the UCU strike.

Yesterday a local outdoor group, mainly older people, cancelled activities in e-mail to members. A member promptly replied that he intended to “stick up two fingers, maybe more to Boris and his cronies” by continuing to socialize as much as he can and to “support the local economy, not ruin it.” This’ll be why we can’t have nice flat curves. (He was sat on promptly by several other members though.)

In Ipswich this morning only the Chinese grocery is advising customers to keep their distance (staff had masks and gloves as well). Other supermarkets are stopping customers from buying multiples. Shelves cleared of high demand products (paper roll, canned goods, pasta) are not being restocked; it isn’t clear the supply chain is exhausted or if they are holding back till the panic passes or rationing is instituted. My gym has closed and, in a nice gesture, frozen memberships. (But what about the staff?)

I am overwhelmed by the number of people on my feeds posting e-working resources! e-teaching resources! charitable sharing ideas! free content! content for sale! exhortations to buy content! exhortations to buy takeout food! grocery hoarding shaming! suggestions to the government! healthcare ideas! parenting stories! competitive parenting preens! (the best of these was the parent searching for an online Ancient Greek tutor) exhortations to keep a journal of these trying times! write-ins! so many write-ins! other resources for increasing your writing productivity so you can keep up with everyone else who is now considering their quarantine a sabbatical! It’s all riotous until someone gets sick and dies or we have to terraform our apartments to grow potatoes.

Posted on by Diana ben-Aaron
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