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February 2021
Public journal

February 2021

22 February 2021

“One of the most precious abilities that humans possess is the capacity to learn from mistakes.

One of the deepest tragedies is to refuse to admit to a mistake, and lose that opportunity to do better.” — Prof Alice Roberts, 1 February 2021

Headline says Scientists have taught spinach to send emails — slightly disingenuous, as it uses IR that a camera then picks up and sends an email. But still, if I get one I'm going to name it Audrey. What could possibly go wrong?

“If you get ten years for breaking travel quarantine rules, what should the sentence be for taking almost a full year to introduce them?” — Tom Peck, 9 February 2021

Poverty in the UK is 'systematic' and 'tragic', says UN special rapporteur: what does this say about the political decisions taken by the government (in power for over a decade), that being in work still doesn't provide enough income to feed, clothe, and house your family safely and adequately — that they have to choose which one to prioritise? Why is the economy structured in such a way that some jobs are so low-paid, so working families have to rely on food banks and charity?

... but this time, we have vaccines!

A calculated leak to the press about the first date lockdown may start to lift.

I may not have a bug in whatever room they hold their Cabinet meetings (... or do I?!), but it doesn't take much thinking to deduce the reasoning behind this plan of (in)action.

  1. It's coming to a warmer time of year — infections fall when it's warmer out.

  2. We have rapid-result lateral flow tests (false negatives being an issue, but let's not split hairs over missing potentially 30% of infectious cases).

  3. We have a vaccination programme rolling out relatively smoothly.

  4. All dates given for phases after schools open depend on what happens to infection rates — they believe they aren't over-promising anything this time.

So while case rates continue to fall (but are presently still high), they're banking on the first three things to bring numbers down sufficiently to say they've got the national epidemic under control and that no new national lockdowns will be necessary, just targeted measures to respond to localised outbreaks.

(Let's not talk about importing new cases from the leaky ship that is the border quarantine policy, shall we?)

If I was the praying type, I'd be praying and crossing all my fingers and toes this gamble works. Because in the face of a government so ideologically opposed to improving anything state-funded (i.e. 'socialist'), thoughts and prayers are all we've got.

“A ‘big bang’ school reopening brings 10 million people back into crowded buildings with no social distancing and inadequate ventilation... The Government has had two months to put extra mitigations in place to stop the growth in infection in schools and colleges that was seen from September to December... It is no good political parties talking about these safeguards when they know very well that they have not been put in place and will not be put in place by 8 March. Words are cheap. Actions are needed.” — Dr Mary Bousted, 22 February 2021