Red alert, day 14. Suffolk confirmed cases up to 35, Tower Hamlets at 71 as of 9 am 25 March. Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets has been closed after people would not keep their distance. A total of 104,866 people have been tested yielding 11,658 positives and 578 deaths.
I am understanding Defoe’s (reality based fictional) narrator on Journal of the Plague Year better. Collecting statistics is calming, gives the illusion of control.
Freelancers getting 80 percent of earnings is a done deal announced by the Chancellor today, though there will be many of the newly (like me) and precariously self employed who will slip through the cracks. An expert on Ed Miliband’s podcast with Geoff Lloyd, Things to be Cheerful About, suggests relaxing the means test for Universal Credit to even things out. (Did you know Ed Miliband is still in Parliament, he just doesn’t say anything? He saves it for the podcast. Gordon Brown meanwhile is calling for a world government.)
Some things to be furious about: doctors and nurses still working without proper protection, the US disbanding its epidemic task force after Trump took over, the UK government failing to sign onto an EU program to source more ventilators. It is mysterious how convention centers are being turned into tidy, well equipped field hospitals so quickly. Even more mysterious is why the mortuaries went up first. Carole Cadwalladr wants answers (click through for video).
While consumers forlornly seek packets of pasta and tins of beans, wholesale food suppliers to dining operations have a surplus going bad.
There are now so many Zoom and Jitsi and Facebook Live meetups and watch-me-drink!s and exercise classes and lectures and readings and sermons and concerts going that people are starting to declare themselves double and triple booked.
Blackboard Collaborate crashed for classes today. I ended up moving mine to Zoom. I also had to replace the batteries in the microphone and I noticed before class that I’m at the warning level for monthly broadband usage. 3 has closed its offices and customer service hotlines so not sure how to work this out if I end up completely blocked.
If self employment is turning out to confer security, I think precariously employed academics ought to be able to set up as self employed in the future. This would permit us (them) to also deduct more work expenses, I would think. An important mental benefit would be the feeling of self determination and better negotiation of roles. Self employment experience could also help people to plan moves out of a crowded sector and on to other things as needed. Probably not going to happen because of the pain of paying estimated taxes and one’s own social security. But we really are contract employees and it’s sometimes painful to pretend otherwise.