Merry Christmas/festive season

 

If anyone’s reading this, wishing you a safe and happy Christmas/festive season and all the best for 2022.  Thanks for reading!   I thought I’d only be writing this Covid blog for a few months, but it’s been 21 months now, and it doesn’t look like there’ll be an end to it any time soon, so stay safe x.

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Here we go again? Week 2, December 13th to 20th 2021 inclusive

Monday, December 13th

I am thoroughly fed up.  My new computer was supposed to be being delivered today, but now they’re saying “7 to 10 working days”, so it doesn’t look as if I’ll have it before Christmas, and the IT guy won’t be able to come in the first week of January because I need to self-isolate before my next-but-one hospital test.

Also, everyone at work is upset about how badly we are being treated.

And it sounds as if the United Covid outbreak’s in the first team, because the club have spoken to the Premier League about postponing the Brentford match.  Also, the Champions League draw was a fiasco and had to be redone, but we’ve ended up with Atletico Madrid.    And Emma Raducanu’s now got the lurgy.  It would just say it all if the Sports Personality of the Year had to accept her award whilst self-isolating.

Long queues are forming as most people try to get their boosters, but we’re being told that Omicron is spreading even more quickly than the original virus did back in March 2020, before anyone was vaccinated.  One person in the UK’s already died with it.  It’s more or less certain that more restrictions will be announced for Scotland tomorrow, and you have to think that the same may happen in England before long.

I’m sorry for all of us.   This virus is evil.

 

Tuesday, December 14th

11 days to Christmas.  My life’s up in the air anyway, until I get confirmation about the operation, but now it seems like life in general’s back up in the air because of the bloody Omicron variant.  The red list’s being scrapped again.  Which is good for some people, but very frustrating for people like my friend’s mum – she was visiting relatives in South Africa when all this started, had to come back because of work and spent thousands of pounds which she couldn’t afford on a quarantine hotel, only to find now that, if she’d waited another couple of weeks, she could have avoided it.

People in Scotland are being asked to limit the number of households with whom they socialise, and to keep their Christmas celebrations as small as possible.

The United v Brentford match is definitely off.  Just hope things are OK for the Brighton match on Saturday.  And a number of theatres have cancelled shows due to Covid outbreaks.

Everyone is so fed up.

The “Plan B” measures are being voted on in Parliament tonight.  They’ll pass, because Labour’ve agreed to back them, but up to 70 Government MPs could vote against them.  It’s just a nightmare – we don’t know how bad Omicron could be, so we don’t know whether these measures are necessary are not.

 

Wednesday, December 15th

United are back in training.  Fingers crossed for Saturday,.

I had my MRI scan on the wretched fibroid this morning – which was horrible, because the scanner makes awful noises and I’m not good with awful noises.  I wish miserable Chris Whitty would stop saying that hospitals might all close down in January.

Meanwhile, Omicron is spreading apace – particularly in London, but apparently now in the North West as well – even amongst people who are double vaccinated and boosted.  I just can’t believe that we’re right back in the sh*t again.   And, again, we have politicians squabbling instead of trying to work together!  78,610 cases today – the highest daily number on record.  That’s nearly double the level we’d been averaging for months.  This is not good, folks.  This is not good.

 

Thursday, December 16th

If it weren’t for the tennis, I really think I’d cry.

  1.  United v Brighton is off.  My nephews haven’t been able to go to Old Trafford since before the pandemic, and were coming early for Christmas so that they could go to this match.  They are so upset and disappointed, and so am I.  Not to mention the fact that there’s now a fixture pile-up.  The FA said yesterday that no more matches were to be postponed, but I have no idea why they said that, as Burnley v Watford was called off soon afterwards, followed by Leicester v Spurs.
  2. The Queen’s cancelled her pre-Christmas family lunch – this horrible virus is spoiling people’s Christmas plans for a second year in a row.
  3. France has banned travel to and from the UK, except for “compelling reasons”.
  4. My younger nephew’s school’s sent out information about what to do if schools have to go back on to online learning after Christmas.  Boris won’t close schools again unless he absolutely has to, but some schools have got so many teachers and kids off that they’re struggling.
  5. 88,746 cases today.  Bloody hellfire.
  6. 745,183 boosters were given yesterday, which is something.

I just can’t believe we’re here again.

 

Friday, December 17th

The good news is that Rafa came through his comeback match with no obvious problems.  The bad news is that Andy beat him, 6-3 7-5, but, OK, I suppose he was bound to be rusty.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Lowry last night was brilliant.  However, again there were issues with people not wearing masks.  Being a Thursday night, it wasn’t that busy, but it will be at weekends, and for the matinees once schools break up.  The review of the pantomime in the MEN mentioned how few people were wearing masks.  It really is frustrating.

Following the postponement of United’s match (and, incidentally, four more Premier League matches have now been postponed), the boys decided that they would like to go to Sale Sharks.  I don’t really get rugby union, but, OK, whatever.  However, it was a European match against a French team, and has now been postponed as that git Macron won’t give sports teams exemptions from the new travel rules.

Wales is closing nightclubs after Boxing Day.

Hospitality businesses and theatres are reporting huge drops in bookings, and are asking for the furlough scheme to be reopened.

A number of people, especially those with school age children, have said that their mental health really can’t take another lockdown.

As I said yesterday, I just can’t believe that we’re here again.

 

Saturday, December 18th

The computer guy has got my new computer.  Fingers crossed that he can get it sorted ASAP, because there are a lot of reports about a 2 week lockdown after Christmas.  The Netherlands has just imposed a lockdown.  And a “major incident” has been declared in London.

Yet more matches bit the dust today, but Salford City v Stevenage survived, so we went to that, then out to the Anatolian Grill later.

Rafa lost to Denis 😦 .  But only in a final set tiebreak.  You can’t expect too much too soon, I suppose.

 

Sunday, December 19th 

Went to Hollingworth Lake this morning.  Nice sunny day.

 

And I’ve got my new computer.

Restrictions have now been imposed in Denmark.  And Germany’s saying that anyone entering from the UK’ll have to go into quarantine for 2 weeks.  And there’ve been anti-restriction protests in Belgium.

We’re getting towards a million boosters a day … but infection rates are sky-rocketing.  Locally, they’re at the highest rates ever recorded, although that doesn’t mean much because not that many tests were being carried out in March, April and May 2020.   Hospitalisations are now ticking up in London, and there are concerns over what’s going to happen if large numbers of hospital staff are off self-isolating.

It does now look very likely that further restrictions will be imposed.  We could even be looking at at a two week lockdown after Boxing Day, although, TBH, I’m not sure a) what good that’d do and b) if people’d stick to it anyway.

When will this ever end?

On a happier note, Emma Raducanu is Sports Personality of the Year.

 

Here we go again? Week 1, December 6th to 12th 2021 inclusive

Monday, December 6th

I had my booster this morning.  It was Pfizer – they were actually using Moderna as the default one for boosters, but I was nervous about that because my friend was ill for several days after having it, so they said I could have the Pfizer.

I’ve got the dates for the scans and other tests.  I am really stressed about it all, especially the one in January which will be under anaesthetic, but at least it’s all been booked in.  I’m struggling badly with being at work at the moment – there is no privacy at all, nowhere to take a moment if you need one.  I assume that anything bad would have showed up at the first scan, and they wouldn’t leave it till January if they thought anything bad had been missed, but these things are always stressful, and I just want it over with.  A former colleague of mine, who sadly died last year, had an operation postponed twice and did his best to work every day whilst waiting, even though he was in a lot of pain.  Most people are obviously braver than I am!

 

Tuesday, December 7th

Boris has said that the Omicron variant seems to be more transmissible than the Delta variant.  And Storm Barra is about to hit us.

 

Wednesday, December 8th

The weather is vile, and the Ashes series has got off to a bad start 😦 .

There’s a lot of talk about imposing additional restrictions because of the Omicron variant.  There’s a press conference at 6, so maybe something *is* on the cards.   Meanwhile, there’s a fuss going on about whether or not staff at 10 Downing Street held a Christmas party last year.  It does sound as if they did, and obviously that’s not very impressive, but it was 12 months ago and we really need to be focusing on what’s happening now.

 

Thursday, December 9th

Well, we are now on Plan B.  So we are supposed to be working from home.  But my bullying employers have refused to agree to this, even though it’s government guidance.  I am so angry.  We worked from home perfectly well during lockdown.  They just do not give a s**t about people’s safety.  All through lockdown, everyone did their best, with no support, no offer to pay towards the gas, electricity etc that people were using, and not even so much as a Christmas card, and now this.  You are supposed to work from home if possible.  We have all got remote links set up, so it is perfectly possible.  There wasn’t even any discussion about it.

 

We also have to wear masks in theatres and cinemas, and other places such as hairdressing salons and banks, and will need Covid passes for nightclubs, indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people – so this includes Premier League football matches.

On top of everything else, my computer is playing up.  I think it’s time for a new one – this is Windows 7 – but am hoping the repair guy (who is coming on Sunday) will be able to keep this one going in the meantime.

Oh, and we drew 1-1 with Young Boys last night.  And Carrie and Boris have had a baby girl.

 

Friday, December 10th

We are now being told that there are signs of “vaccine escape”.  Why these silly terms have to be used, I don’t know.  It makes it sound as if a hundred doses of the vaccine have climbed out of a lab window and gone to the pub.  However, I think we get the idea, and it’s not good.   *But* – apparently you should be OK if you’ve had your booster.  So we’re back to the virus versus vaccines race – can we slow the spread of the Omicro variant

Sturgeon’s telling people in Scotland to cancel Christmas parties.  We’re not being told that in England, but I’m hearing from some friends and relatives (my miserable office, needless to say, wasn’t planning a Christmas party anyway) that their parties have been cancelled.  I’m desperately sorry for the hospitality industry, but I also understand the concerns of the people making the decision to cancel.  I do *not* understand the people whingeing that Boris is a liar for reintroducing restrictions when we were told that we’d got on an “irreversible road” out of them: it isn’t his fault, or indeed anyone else’s, that this wretched new variant’s appeared.   It’s just so demoralising.  Snakes and ladders, again … we’ve just gone right down a nasty big snake.

There are rumours that more restrictions could be on the way.  It’s expected that the Omicron variant will spread rapidly.  After weeks of new cases being around 40,000 daily, they’ve shot up to nearly 60,000 daily.  And yet my callous, uncaring employers refuse to let us WFH.

On a happier note, I went to Lightopia at Heaton Park this evening.  It was lovely.  And it didn’t rain.

 

Saturday, December 11th

Great.  The desktop has now packed up completely.  The IT guy has tried and failed to resuscitate it.  I’d already accepted that I needed a new one, but I was hoping it’d last out until then.  There’s never a good time for these things to happen, but a fortnight before Christmas is a particularly bad one.

I went to the pantomime today – Aladdin, at the Opera House.  It was a great pantomime, and I had a bagel and a scone (er, so healthy) at The Vienna Coffee House beforehand, and a walk round the Christmas markets.  Town was pretty busy, and, by the time I was heading home, the Christmas markets were heaving.

It’s now compulsory to wear masks in theatres, unless you are exempt for medical reasons.  And I think young kids are exempt, which is stupid as the highest rates of infection are in young kids.  Well, I thought 80-85% of people would comply, and 15-20% wouldn’t.  Wrong.  Only about 15-20% of people were wearing masks.  The theatre company had sent out e-mails, and an announcement was made before the performance, and staff were reminding people at the doors, but most people just took no notice.  I’m not sure what else you could ask the theatre staff to do – they could hardly challenge that number of people.

I get that a lot of people are fed up.  This has been going on for nearly two years.  We were told that restrictions had been lifted, but now some of them have been reimposed and it looks likely that more would follow.  And we were told that vaccinations would be our way out of this, but now we’re being told that two doses of vaccine may provide as little as 2% protection against the Omicron variant.  I do not envy the people having to make the politicians.  The scientists are shrieking that Omicron’s going to overwhelm the NHS and we need to go back into lockdown, but, in addition to the economic impact, I just don’t think people’d stick to it.

The good news – apart from United beating Norwich, 1-0 – is that, if you’ve had a booster, your level of protection against the vaccine should be fairly good, as much as 75%.  But Omicron is said to be spreading more quickly than the original virus did at the start, before anyone was vaccinated.  And there are big local discrepancies in the percentage of people vaccinated.

Eeh, I am fed up.  Everything was going pretty much OK, and, in the blink of an eyelid, we’re back to talk of another lockdown.

 

Sunday, December 12th

My new computer has been ordered.  Fingers crossed.

Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the F1 drivers’ championship.  Bleurgh.

And Covid.  Ah yes, Covid.

  1.  My reward for being one of the minority of people who actually wore a mask all through yesterday’s pantomime was to be woken up several times in the night by horrendous catarrh.  I was OK after wearing a mask on the trains to and from Scotland, but I suppose modern railway carriages are rather better ventilated than Edwardian theatres are.
  2. I stayed in the fresh air when going out today – to Styal.
  3. The Covid alert level has been raised from 3 to 4.
  4. Anyone fully vaccinated who comes into contact with a Covid case is now supposed to take LFTs for 7 days.
  5. Some people are in hospital with the Omicron variant.
  6. I’m hearing about a worrying number of people who’ve tested positive despite being fully vaccinated and trying to be careful.
  7. Over 1/2 million boosters were given today.
  8. The trouble is that we’ve got no idea yet just how problematic Omicron is going to be.  It seems certain that it’s very infectious, but how many of those who catch it are likely to need hospital treatment, at a time of year when hospitals are under pressure anyway?  Where do you pitch things?  Impose additional restrictions, which will upset some MPs who are already objecting to “Plan B”, alienate some sections of the public – everybody is *so* fed up –  and probably risk non-compliance, especially if it affects Christmas, and risk sending the economy down the toilet?   Or leave things as they are, and risk hospitals being overwhelmed if Omicron turns out to be really bad?   It’s just a nightmare.
  9. There’s been a Covid outbreak at United.  And Spurs.  And Chelsea.  And Norwich.  And Villa.  And QPR.  And West Brom.

I am so sick of Covid.