COVID-19 Diary – 20th March – Normality

20/3/20

The last day of something approaching normality, as I had to go back in to the office to sort a few last things out before the campus virtually shuts down from Monday, and my daughter went into school for the last time in a long time (not a key worker me, that’s for sure),

Despite the apparently normal structure of the day, the signs were all there that this day was actually far from normal. The half-empty train, unheard of on my line at that time of day. The majority of shops in the city centre closed until further notice. The largely student-free campus. The message from a relative asking me to pick up a few groceries as they are fully self isolating due to a cough.

It was not a productive work day, as those still there dashed around frantically trying to prepare for running a University from mainly off campus for perhaps the first time in its’ history, and my focus was on making sure I was set up for my new routine of working from home and childcare from Monday.

Today bought the much needed announcement that all pubs, restaurants, cinemas, libraries etc. were ordered to close. Many had already closed voluntarily of course, but some tried to remain open, keeping their business going the best they could. Asking the British people to voluntarily avoid the pub was never likely to go well.

Also the announcement by the chancellor that the government would pay 80% of the wages of workers who would have otherwise been laid off during the pandemic. An unprecedented move, and seemingly impressive until you realised there was nothing similar for self-employed or zero hours workers. Rishi Sunak receiving a lot of praise despite still not doing enough. Part of it is that mere competence looks impressive when stood next to Boris Johnson, the second worst person who could be running a country during a major crisis (I’m sure you can figure out the first). Sunak already looks on course to be Tory leader some day, but a lot can happen over the coming weeks and months to change that.

 

Music Recommendation Of the Day : Dream Girls – Text Me Back (Chirpse Degree Burns)

Joyous feminist punk from earlier this year, one of my favourite singles of 2020 to date

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