What’s really wrong about Dom’s lockdown trip

Fintan O’Toole nails it:

So why does his odyssey during lockdown produce a whole different kind of emotion? Because it reaches into the innermost experiences of millions of people. It cuts right through to the pain of a loved one dying alone, of grandchildren growing distant, of precious human bonds being forcibly severed. It grabs hold of that torment and it squeezes the meaning out of it.

We endure these things individually because we understand ourselves to be also enduring them collectively. Cummings’ actions – and, even more, Johnson’s valorisation of them – strip away the second part. The big, communal and institutional structure that gives a value to the millions of individual sacrifices has been kicked away – in Johnson’s defence of Cummings, the only value is the individual “instinct” of the members of the ruling caste. To use the Blitz analogy that England apparently cannot escape, it’s fine to leave your lights on during the blackout if you’re an important person with documents to read.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/26/cummings-contempt-lockdown-rules-public-catholic-church-ireland#maincontent

Flour

10kg flour bags
Aw yiss

With everyone stuck at home, flour has tended to be in somewhat erratic supply since the lockdown started. Especially strong flour, which I haven’t seen in weeks. Anyway, Tesco are trying to get ahead of the demand curve with these ten kilo bags.

Probably as restaurants and bakeries aren’t buying these sizes there’s a surplus. Good value of you’ve somewhere to store it!

Lockdown helps eradication battle against other diseases too

Every cloud:

Having already lasted seven weeks, the lockdown also mitigates one of the biggest challenges usually facing sexual health clinicians: it can take up to a month from potential exposure to HIV for current tests to return a definitive result. “If nobody has had sex which has put them at an HIV risk for at least four weeks,” says McOwan, “there will be nobody in this blindspot who might otherwise be missed.”

When taking regular treatment, people who are HIV positive have an undetectable viral load and therefore cannot pass on the infection. New HIV infections had already been dropping nationally, in part because the NHS is increasing public access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a drug taken by HIV-negative people before and after sex that reduces the risk of getting HIV. In 2012, there were an estimated 2,800 new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men in the UK. In 2018 the figure was down to 800, a 71% fall.

“If we can now find the remaining people with HIV through testing and put them on treatment,” says McOwan, “we could remove anyone who is infectious from the population with long-lasting effects. We won’t get this two-month window of no sex again.”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/13/covid-19-crisis-raises-hopes-of-end-to-uk-transmission-of-hiv

Teamwork

Interesting article about teamwork and personalities, it’s always been important but I think that the current all-remote-working situation in the IT industry has made it all the more essential:

But even though teamwork is everywhere, we continue to train people — whether in education or in the workforce — for primarily individual and technical skills. As someone who’s worked with teams for the past 25 years in the corporate world and written two books about teamwork, I think that needs to change. And that’s why I’m going to share with you the three simple virtues that make for a good team player.

The first and by far the most important is humility. If you want to be an ideal team player and if you want to be successful in life, you really need to be humble. Most of us know what humility is — it means not being arrogant or self-centered but putting others ahead of ourselves. It’s such an attractive and powerful thing.

When somebody lacks confidence and makes themselves small, that’s not humility. To deny our talents is actually a violation of humility, just like it is to exaggerate them. The writer C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote, “Humility isn’t thinking less of ourselves, it’s thinking about ourselves less.” (Editor’s note: That quote has long been misattributed to Lewis.)

The second is equally simple: You have to be hungry. This simply means having a strong work ethic. People who have an innate hunger about getting work done are typically much more successful on teams and in life. This quality is the one that you probably have to develop earliest in life; when I work with people later in life who never developed it, it can be harder for them to build it. Being hungry is not about workaholism, though. Workaholics are people who get their entire identity from their work. People who are hungry just want to go above and beyond what’s expected; they have a high standard for what they do, and they never do just the minimum.

The third attribute is what I call being smart. But it’s not about intellectual smarts; this is about emotional intelligence and having common sense around how we understand people and how we use our words and actions to bring out the best in others. This is so important in the world, and being smart is one of those things that people can work on and get better at.

You need to have all three qualities to be a great team player.

via Delilah, who always finds good articles.

Emerging Science of what Covid-19 does to a human body

Fascinating overview of what the current state of knowledge is. It’s a rapidly changing field out there, and this is science working full-tilt in ‘all it’s messy glory’ (via kottke ):

I’ve been hearing that although Covid-19’s attack begins in the lungs, it is as much a vascular disease as it is a respiratory disease — and there is some evidence emerging to support this view:

If COVID-19 targets blood vessels, that could also help explain why patients with pre-existing damage to those vessels, for example from diabetes and high blood pressure, face higher risk of serious disease. Recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on hospitalized patients in 14 U.S. states found that about one-third had chronic lung disease-but nearly as many had diabetes, and fully half had pre-existing high blood pressure.

Mangalmurti says she has been “shocked by the fact that we don’t have a huge number of asthmatics” or patients with other respiratory diseases in HUP’s ICU. “It’s very striking to us that risk factors seem to be vascular: diabetes, obesity, age, hypertension.”

What struck me most about this piece is the sheer energy of the vast network of minds bent towards understanding this thing with the hope of beating it as soon as possible. This is the scientific method at work right here, in all its urgent & messy glory.

It’s Working

Forty days into the national epidemic and the word from Prof Nolan, who chairs the large group of mathematicians modelling the course of the disease, is mixed.

Yes, the impact of the very disruptive restrictions embraced by the public has been profound, but no, we are not there yet – the rate the virus is spreading has been cut by three-quarters, but it needs to be driven down even further.

For that, Prof Nolan of Maynooth University said, very strong social distancing measures were going to be needed for a very long period of time.

According to the mathematicians, Ireland was originally headed for a peak of 100,000 Covid-19 infections per day.

Now thanks to the actions of citizens, confirmed infections are running at just 500 per day and an enormous amount of sickness and death has so far been prevented.

https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/0410/1129733-covid19-coronavirus-restrictions/

“100,000 per day”, that’s one scary model.

Act now!

Fascinating post from kottke:

Jewell explains a bit more about what we’re looking at:

The graph illustrates the results of a thought experiment. It assumes constant 30 percent growth throughout the next month in an epidemic like the one in the U.S. right now, and compares the results of stopping one infection today — by actions such as shifting to online classes, canceling of large events and imposing travel restrictions — versus taking the same action one week from today.

The difference is stark. If you act today, you will have averted four times as many infections in the next month: roughly 2,400 averted infections, versus just 600 if you wait one week. That’s the power of averting just one infection, and obviously we would like to avert more than one.

So that’s 1800 infections averted from the actions of just one person. Assuming a somewhat conservative death rate of 1% for COVID-19, that’s 18 deaths averted. Think about that before you head out to the bar tonight or convene your book group as usual

Pretty clear.