Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed the Julie Andrews’ memoirs. Tina was disappointed with the most recent (#26!) in the DCI Alan Banks mystery series. Jean reviewed two classic fantasy novels: Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett and Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones.
I’ve been following the COVID-19 news, but mostly in the US and, especially, Missouri. One reason for developing a fascination with another country is to gain a different perspective. So, I took a look at what’s going on in the UK.
The National Health Service (NHS) declared a Level 4 Incident, their highest crisis rating, for COVID-19 on March 3.
The UK talked more about herd immunity than the US or the rest of the world. There’s a case to be made that we actually want healthy, young people to be exposed to the virus. Since this coronavirus is new, none of the human population was immune at the beginning of the outbreak late last year. That’s part of why it spreads so easily. If more people become immune, the disease will spread more slowly. This video does a good job explaining this line of thinking:
St. Louis, in particular, took an aggressive approach to containment, so the above strategy is a completely different way of thinking to me. Our schools have been closed for several days. Restaurants are closed now, with only carry-out and delivery allowed. Large meetings were canceled last week and most of us who had responsibility for smaller meetings, canceled ours, too.
The issue, here, was lack of testing. COVID-19 tests were rolled out slowly in the US, in general, and the first tests went to the coasts, not the Midwest. Our officials seemed to assume that coronavirus was already spreading in the population, even when we only had three confirmed cases.
The fact that our current county executive is a doctor may be a factor in our region’s proactive approach.
The UK took a different tack this week. The herd immunity idea didn’t go over well with the British public and the data started looking scary. They asked people to work from home, if they can, and to stay out of pubs and clubs. They asked that older people self-isolate and that the entire household of any infected person self-quarantine for fourteen days. They are, finally, closing schools today.
These measures are less stringent than St. Louis. The UK, so far, is acting more along the lines of our state government. But Missouri has fewer cases than the UK, a smaller population, and a lower population density (fewer people per square mile).
On a lighter note, coronavirus hasn’t reached Ambridge yet. Ambridge is the fictional village at the center of the world’s longest-running soap opera, The Archers. They had a very dramatic week after a gas explosion at the country house hotel injured one of the main characters. The Archers, generally, takes some pride in getting late-breaking news into their story line. There’s a notice on their Facebook page that they are working on how to continue production safely, but they have several weeks worth of episodes ready to go. So, it looks like Ambridge will remain blissfully unaware for some time to come.
How is coronavirus impacting you? I’m socially isolated with my husband. We’re taking on the role of primary problem-solving team for my 83-year-old mother-in-law, so we want to stay healthy for her.