A Driving Instructor's Blog

COVID-19

Virus imageNottingham has the highest rate of COVID-19 infections in the country. We were put on Tier 2 this week, and it looks very much like it has been decided that we go to Tier 3 on Monday. That’s serious. More serious than Tier 2. And it was already serious before that.

The biggest cause of COVID-19 spread is people not following the rules (at the very least, it is people carrying on like nothing is wrong, which is what happened during summer and well into the early part of Autumn). Certain neighbourhoods in Nottingham are unfortunately populated by people of limited general intelligence (some are populated by people of limited actual intelligence, but this isn’t just about Broxtowe). I’m talking about the kind of people who, for whatever reason, think they know better than a world filled with genuine, qualified experts on infectious diseases and treatment.

One of the biggest contributors to this group is students.

Every year – without fail – Nottingham has huge problems at the start of the university term as students arrive and immediately blow huge amounts of money getting pissed and going around in childish costumes for freshers’ week. The streets where they live are literally paved with… broken glass. And, if you’re lucky, full bin bags of garbage that get ripped and kicked everywhere. And fast food packaging. And gas canisters and discarded sharps. And no matter how anyone might try to deny it, all this is true of many student areas. I see it with my own eyes when I pick pupils up there. It isn’t all of them, of course. But it is a hell of a lot of them.

A couple of years ago now, a house with a maximum occupancy of (if I remember) ten held a party which 250 people attended. As a result, a wall collapsed – pretty much exploded from the pressure of people – which could have been much more serious than it fortunately was. The event was typical, even if the outcome was more extreme than usual.

Nottingham University is currently bigging up the fact that its number of COVID-19 cases is falling. Yes, any fall in new cases is good, but when the University still has three times more cases than the county as a whole, let’s not kid ourselves that there isn’t really a problem. Because since the term began, there have been numerous reports of students crowding on to trams with no face masks and no distancing when the pubs shut at 10pm. There have been numerous reports of students holding house parties – the most publicised one being the one where the organiser was fined £10,000. When three times as many of these people is infected, there is a serious problem. And still they keep saying ‘the majority are behaving’. Stop that! It doesn’t matter if it is technically ‘the majority’ who are behaving. What’s far more important is the size of the very large minority who are behaving like arrogant prats. And that is why we have the damned problem!

That brings me on to the latest story illustrating how ‘the majority’ is behaving itself. Bear in mind this is on top of all the other stories about partying, boozing at weekends, crowding trams, and the idiot a couple of months ago who was also fined for holding a party.

In this case, four complete wankers/wankerettes were each fined £10,000. When police turned up to a reported party, despite being initially told no one was there, 30 people were found hiding in a house. That was when these four came out with the immortal lines that police were ‘spoiling their fun’, and that they should be having ‘the time of their lives’.

THIS is why we have a problem. I only hope they are on Mickey Mouse courses, because God help us if they’re medical students, or ones studying proper subjects. Fortunately (in a way), they’re Nottingham Trent University students – albeit third year – so the likelihood of them being on serious courses is somewhat less. But you can’t be certain – this is the same University whose biology students killed a hedgehog several years ago by attaching so many tracking devices to it it couldn’t move. And Nottingham Trent University refuses to reveal how many positive cases it has ‘to protect’ the reputation of these morons.

In another report on the same story, NUT says it is ‘investigating’, and the outcome of that means the students involved could ‘face a range of sanctions, up to and including expulsion.’ Frankly, the only acceptable outcome IS expulsion. They lied to police and engaged in an act which will inevitably result in further deaths (although those deaths won’t be able to be pinned on these twats, and NTU will defend them to the hilt if it keeps them).

Expel them now.

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NHS COVID-19 Test KitAs if COVID-19 wasn’t good enough at spreading with the current help it’s getting from QAnon believers, anti-vaxxers, and students/young people with under-developed brains, Birmingham City Council has found a new way of helping it along.

The method involves passing out used COVID-19 test kits to people needing them.

People who do have developed brains will already see the problem, but for the others who insist on denial, what happens is that a bunch of people who suspect they have COVID-19 enough to need a test get a testing kit, use it, send it off, and then the kit is given to someone else to use. Bear in mind that a testing kit essentially consists of a swab that you wipe around your throat and nose.

Naturally, the method is most effective when you do it in an area which already has higher infection rates. And the news article indicates some people given these used tests have already used them – it’s kind of like a surrogate French Kiss with someone you don’t know who is already quite likely to be infected because they took a test. Birmingham City Council maxed out on the effectiveness of this new method of contagion by giving the used tests to at least some students.

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Virus imageIn normal times, when someone goes out on their driving test, it is quite possible for them to ‘fail’ before they even leave the test centre if they mess up on the bay park, for example (or try to take out the test centre gate on their way out). However, in the vast majority of cases the test still continues for the allotted time of around 40 minutes.

Occasionally, if someone has a meltdown, the examiner might decide to terminate the test early. In Nottingham, the examiners are all decent people, and what they usually do under such circumstances is guide the test back to the test centre and terminate it early there. Only in the more dramatic cases (or with one examiner at Watnall, who I haven’t seen for a while) do they do an abandonment, leaving the car wherever it is at the time. This can happen when the candidate is simply unable to continue or to drive safely. The last one of those I had was some years ago, where the the candidate had committed a simple mistake, which she realised, and which – in the examiner’s own words – was not a serious fault anyway, but she went on to have a full breakdown, was in fits of tears, and simply couldn’t continue.

In normal times, I have no issue whatsoever with whatever the examiner decides (even that one at Watnall). Some pupils, though, are furious to discover that even though they ‘failed’ early on, they were still given a full 40 minute test. ‘What’s the point?’ is their usual question, whereupon I explain that that’s the system, and they’ve paid for 40 minutes of test time and it makes sense to get the experience in full. Examiners are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

Right now, of course, we’re not in normal times. No normal tests were carried out between the end of March and August, and since they restarted there are obviously a lot of extra details we all have to be aware of, making them far from normal normal.

The majority of test candidates are young people, and the majority of young people are students. Unless you live under a rock, or in accommodation provided by QAnon, it won’t have escaped your attention that there has been a huge spike in the numbers of positive COVID-19 tests, and many of those are among students. Conversely, the majority of driving examiners are not young people, and many of them are in the demographic where the prognosis for a positive COVID-19 test is not good – for them, and quite possibly members of their immediate family.

As I have explained in recent articles, in the last month I have had to stop lessons for a student whose sister was sent into quarantine after members of staff at the school she worked at tested positive. I stopped lessons for another who was sent into quarantine after a staff member at his workplace tested positive (and I discovered today he also became positive last week). Another texted me last week to tell me he had been sent home from school to quarantine because his teacher had tested positive. And I have heard that an examiner has had to quarantine because someone took a driving test a couple of weeks ago and tested positive the following day (and that one raises a lot of unanswered questions about the candidate, their morals, and their intelligence). I also spoke with one of my student pupils who went home at the start of the lockdown and has recently come back, and he tells me his accommodation outside the university has numerous people who are positive and supposedly quarantining.

The COVID-19 infection path is complicated, and doesn’t follow the simple rules most people don’t understand even then. Technically, it would be possible just to come into contact with a single viral particle and get infected. However, the risk of infection increases in line with the number of viral particles you are exposed to, the frequency of exposure, and the length of time you are exposed to them. It’s a triple whammy. The more infected people there are, and the more time you spend around them, the greater the risk. It’s the same principle for most viruses and infectious agents, and COVID-19 is no different – other than there being no vaccine for it yet. This is why we have the various measures in place for trying to manage it, and it is no wonder that responsible people and organisations are following them, instead of trying to argue that they are wrong.

As I have repeatedly said, the situation we are in is far from normal. Rightly or wrongly, the decision was made to try and resume some level of normality following the lockdown. That eventually led to the resumption of driving tests – along with a raft of changes to how they are carried out. These include:

  • masks must be worn
  • test centre waiting rooms are closed – largely because they’re being used by examiners who are socially distancing in their workplaces as best they can (and even if they’re not, having ADIs in there would raise major distancing and sanitization issues)
  • tests are ‘terminated’ as soon as a serious/dangerous fault is committed, and the candidate is directed back to the test centre
  • instructors cannot accompany tests
  • instructors cannot listen in on the debrief

The reality – in Nottingham, anyway – is that there is absolutely no issue using the toilets in the test centre if you ask (I should say, ‘ask nicely’, but then I am always polite with examiners). As long as you are wearing a mask and don’t try to climb on the examiner’s shoulder by hanging through the door, there would appear to be no real issues with listening to the debrief from a safe distance, Even if you don’t, the examiner will likely have a quick chat outside. The only downer to all this is that if it pissing down with rain, you’ll get wet while the test is out unless you’ve taken steps to deal with it (and I have).

This is how it is in these very un-normal times. People tend to forget that it’s only been like this with driving tests for a couple of months, and with a vaccine likely on the way, it probably won’t be like it for that many more. I mean, Christ! Assuming there is a vaccine by Christmas, it means that we’ve had to struggle for barely a year with the whole pandemic (notwithstanding the false dawn in the middle, which has caused the resurgence we have today). And as much as I hate bringing the past into things, people had to put up with much, much worse restrictions and conditions during – and for a decade after – the Second World War. Standing in the rain for 40 minutes is hardly on the same scale.

But people are different today, and THIS is why we have problems. To start with, there is a large number of ADIs who are apparently card-carrying QAnon members and anti-vaxxers. From what I have seen, those who usually spend the better part of their time criticising DVSA over every single matter are the ones most likely to be among these. The word ‘contrarian’ springs to mind. Consequently, they know best about masks. I mean, within 5 minutes of the rule being sent out, the message boards were immediately filled by contrarian ‘what if…’ questions, and it would appear that 90% of instructors only teach people who have asthma, and have asthma themselves – even though a genuine asthmatic would not have that much of a problem with a mask in the first place.

The reason I know that is that shortly after I started lessons again, one of my pupils had an emergency  test booked. She has health conditions and is asthmatic, so I phoned her and explained the rules that had been sent out. I explained that unless a specific exemption had been mentioned at the time of booking, there was – from what I had heard from other instructors – the possibility that her examiner might refuse to go out. She resolved the issue for me immediately by saying ‘oh, I’ll just wear a mask then’. She did, and she passed. She also needed to use the loo as we arrived, and an examiner came to the door as she approached and let her in without question. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there really are people out there who genuinely cannot wear mask, but it’s nowhere near as many as some would like it to be, and asthma is not an automatic barrier unless it is accompanied by a dose of attitude.

Then there’s the waiting room issue. Yes, I would like to sit in the warm. But I can see with my own eyes that the examiners are using the waiting area (at Colwick, anyway) as an office space to help them socially distance inside. So, at the moment – in these un-normal times – there is no waiting room. It isn’t like I’ve not experienced a test centre with no waiting room before. There wasn’t one when when the Chilwell centre was first relocated, and there wasn’t one when there was a centre in Clifton. And none of them in Nottingham are actually located that close to a café or other place with refreshments (unless you include a pub in Watnall, which I have never seen any instructor enter). Of course, once this waiting room thing was publicised, we quickly discovered that most driving instructors apparently suffer from any or all of arthritis, rheumatism, dodgy bladders, and a variety of other ailments for which one of the specific triggers is apparently not being able to sit in the test centre waiting room.

Now we come to test terminations. Naturally, as well as being experts on every other subject (even though they never agree on the answer to simple driving-specific issues), it turns out ADIs see themselves as compensation lawyers, too. They’re actually trying to bolster each other up into starting petitions because it’s ‘grossly unfair’, and some sort of money-making scam by DVSA. They blame the backlog of tests on DVSA, readily apportioning blame when one of their pupils can’t get a test until next year.

For f***’s sake, people. It is what it is. We’re in the middle of a pandemic which has killed 50,000 people in the UK in little more than six months, with every sign it has come back for a bigger go. It spreads by close contact, and examiners are in one of the worst positions imaginable for it to do that. We only have our own pupils to deal with. They have to deal with all of us, and all of our pupils. And as I’ve already pointed out, a fair few of us are, unfortunately, militant deniers, anti-maskers, and anti-vaxxers – and that’s on top of being inveterate DVSA-haters. Examiners are therefore far more at risk from these nutcases than I am. I just stay away from them, but examiners can’t.

My justification for starting lessons again in late August/early September was based on the low number of infections being reported at the time. The risk of coming into contact with an infected person was low. My justification for stopping lessons again now is that the number of infections has gone through the roof, and every one of my pupils either knows someone or is someone who is infected. The risk of me becoming infected is virtually guaranteed if I continue.

And none of that makes me want to start f***ing whingeing about wearing a mask, not being able to use the waiting room, or having a test return early if someone screws up. Because as I said.

It.Is. What. It. Is. Right. Now.

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Virus imageIt has always been patently obvious that wearing a face mask will reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 around. Even an oily floor rag wrapped around your face would reduce that risk. That’s because if you have the virus, and cough, sneeze, or even spit while you’re talking, the mask will catch the larger droplets that are laden with it.

The morons of this world only see things in black and white, though. If a mask doesn’t totally eliminate the spread of the virus, then as far as they’re concerned it doesn’t work, and there’s no point wearing one.

And that’s where the problems start. Because unless the majority are wearing them as requested, there really is no point to them. Those who won’t wear them spread it around in buckets, and since masks are intended to protect others from the wearer – not the other way round – those who are wearing them are not protected.

It’s a tricky concept for the typical halfwit. The whole premise of protecting others is anathema to them.

But a university in Canada has shown that wearing masks can result in almost half as many new cases of COVID-19 each week. They have put a number to what has always been obvious to anyone with an IQ greater than that of cheese.

Of course, those who think their immune system fed with Vitamin D and a holistic diet will keep them safe, or those who think it is all a hoax and an issue of government control, or any combination of QAnon conspiracy nonsense, will still argue against it. They think they’re clever, but they’re not. They’re just… morons.

We need hefty fines for non-compliance.

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Dodging virus in The MatrixNottingham’s number of COVID-19 cases has gone through the roof. We’re now sixth fifth fourth worst in the country and rising for cases per 100,000 (we went through those struck-out positions as I was drafting this). We have been told to go into local lockdown mode in anticipation of a formal announcement, and I am already cancelling lessons.

I had a pupil text me just as I was getting ready to start calling people, and he informed me he’d been sent home from school and had to quarantine for 14 days, because a teacher had tested positive. I last saw him a week ago. That’s on the back of another pupil who didn’t have a lesson this week (or last) because someone at his workplace had tested positive, and I’d seen him the week before that. And those were on the back of another pupil who recently started again after a two-week quarantine, because his sister worked at a school which had been hit with several cases among teaching staff. I’d seen him the week before, too. And from what he told me when I called earlier to cancel his lessons (and if I deciphered his teenaged mumbling correctly), his school now has cases.

To make matters worse, I have heard on the grapevine that an examiner at a Nottingham test centre took someone out on test, and that person then tested positive the following day. Although the examiner is quarantining, they cannot get a test unless they become symptomatic, which is f***ing stupid – if they do develop symptoms, what about everyone who has been in contact with them, and all their subsequent contacts, in the meantime? It also raises the big fat question of how and why the idiot learner who tested positive in the first place actually managed to arrange a COVID-19 test. They must have been suspicious or at high risk of being infected in order to do so, so what the f**k were they thinking taking a driving test?

Right now, it seems like I’m in The Matrix, bending this way and that to dodge more and more bullets coming my way.

COVID-19 testing is a shambles. By now, anyone who wants one should be able to get one. They should be able to test themselves at home. There should be no backlog of any kind. But there are problems everywhere within that list. Tests are taking days or even longer to be carried out. The backlog is such that the system is overloaded. Some results are not being returned. Samples are being lost even before being tested. Testing kits are going missing or not being used – even though the government is classing them as ‘tests done’ to try and make itself look better than the carve up it really is. And that is why the examiner – someone who is right at the top of the list of people who really ought to be tested for at least a dozen reasons on an almost daily basis – can’t get one unless they endure the risk of ending up in an ICU first.

The two main reasons we now have this situation in Nottingham is 1) pubs and restaurants, and 2) students. People have been behaving as if nothing is wrong since the main lockdown was eased, and since the students came back, they’ve been behaving as they do every year with knobs on. The kind of people who are going to pubs – students are high among those – lose any sense they might have had to start with once they take a sip of beer. And since they didn’t have much sense, the fall into stupidity is so much greater.

Nottingham University is somehow managing to do its own testing, and it was revealed recently that 425 students and 8 teaching staff have tested positive. Most of them will have been freshing it up all week. Nottingham Trent University is refusing to say how many of its students are infected, but it is almost certainly of the same magnitude. There have been numerous reports locally of students not adhering to distancing guidelines or wearing masks, especially on the trams. Several house parties have been broken up, the most significant one involving that guy who was slapped with a £10,000 fine a few weeks ago.

All of that makes this story is almost unbelievable. Nottingham University – like all other universities – was absolutely desperate to get students back, along with the £9,000 each of them brings in (or £15,000, I believe, if they come from the Pacific Rim). And now – in one of the very halls which is the location of a COVID-19 outbreak – it wants to move students out and into alternative accommodation (other halls, or a 4-star hotel) because the halls they’re in are a fire risk!

You simply could not make this up. The level of incompetence being demonstrated is off the scale.

Then, as I was finishing up this article, I was reminded once more of how being clinically stupid doesn’t stop you from becoming a driving instructor. Someone on a forum has claimed that their ‘God given immune system is better than masks’. They have also added later that COVID-19 has been ‘downgraded from a HCID to… no more than the flu/common cold’.

This is a clear demonstration that being a complete f***ing imbecile is no barrier to being an ADI.

Faith in your immune system as a barrier to COVID-19 is part of the anti-vaxxer canon. It is usually supplemented by a belief that Vitamin D and diet will provide the necessary Aegis which protects the bearer from absolutely anything. Anyone who cites any one of these ‘solutions’ is, by definition, completely clueless. The more so when they start talking about ‘government control’.

HCID stands for High Consequence Infectious Disease. It is a technical classification, and any assessment of a candidate involves a box-ticking exercise. At the start of the pandemic, not enough was known about COVID-19, in particular the level of mortality and how to test for it. As it turned out, the mortality was not as large as initially feared, and a greater understanding was built up. Consequently, it was no longer given the HCID classification. However, the government – all governments – have never said that it isn’t dangerous, and only one government, led by someone even more stupid that the person who reckons their immune system can repel it, has tried to claim it is ‘just the flu/common cold’.

COVID-19 is still classified as a serious public health emergency. It can – as evidenced elsewhere in this article – spread quickly. And it can only have escaped the attention of the most clinically stupid among us that around 50,000 people in the UK have died from it. And it is not – and never has been – the same as ‘flu or the common cold’. It isn’t flu or the common cold (even those two are completely different from each other). That’s why it has a different name.

Masks do not protect the wearer. That has never been their purpose. They protect others from the wearer, by reducing the number of droplets ejected from the nose and mouth. Masks do not eliminate contamination. They just reduce it. And refusing to wear one because you think you know better is criminally irresponsible.

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Virus imageAn article in PA Media declares “students should not foot blame for Northumbria [university] outbreak, pupils and parents say”.

It quotes a mother – Sara from Kent (and it’s no surprise she ‘didn’t want to give her second name’) – who saw:

…no evidence of security checks…

No one patrols the corridors to see if there are parties going on, so students are breaking the rules with impunity…

So how in f**k’s name does she reach the conclusion that students ‘aren’t to blame’?

If the immature morons are ‘partying with impunity’, which they’ve been told not to, then they ARE to blame. Absolutely and categorically.

There’s no point singling out individuals who have toed the line. Even in normal years, some students don’t get involved in parties and stupid stunts. They’re there to get a degree and that’s all. But every year, a significant number of them are geared up to behave like assholes. They’ve only gone to university to behave like assholes. That’s how university works. Jesus. If you’ve enrolled on a Mickey Mouse course outside of the core sciences or arts, what other reason would you have to be there? And it’s even worse this year, with those guessed grades that got them in. It’s a case of ‘party hard because I’m going to flunk it, and I need something to boast about in three years’ time for my CV’.

In this case, it’s Newcastle. And I know for an absolute fact that choosing Newcastle for most students is based on the rumours of the nightlife up that way. It comes up every time I end up teaching someone who wants to go there – it’s the main reason they want to.

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Virus imageMy feelings on this government, the Tories in general, and Brexit are well known. But I don’t go so far as to blame them for everything. Only the things they do wrong.

The new Test & Trace app is now available. I downloaded it with no trouble, and it runs with no problems that I can see on my  HTC U11 (come on, HTC, I want a new flagship) from 2017. All you have to do is enter the first part of your postcode and allow a couple of permissions and it is set up. However, the way the app works means that it has to be installed on relatively new phones which have the necessary Bluetooth features on them. Note that I said the necessary Bluetooth features – not Bluetooth per se. The iPhone 6, for example, was released in 2015, and Apple stopped supporting it and earlier models this year. So in other words it is obsolete, and no one in their right mind should automatically expect any new app to run on that phone.

The Test & Trace app doesn’t.

Matt Hancock has gone on record as saying an ‘upgrade’ maybe needed to access the app. Rightly or wrongly he’s going to get slated for this. It’s his ‘let them eat cake’ moment. But how is it his problem? It’s like complaining that you can’t play a C60 cassette in a CD player, or a VHS cassette in a DVD machine (though it’s worth pointing out people did complain when those two things were current issues).

I’m not saying the app is perfect, or that it works properly – I don’t know, and time will tell – but the vultures are out in force over it simply because they can’t download it on to two tin cans joined by a piece of string. It only works on iOS 13.5 and later – and that counts for 70% of the iPhone-owning public. It will only run on Android Marshmallow or later – again, from 2015 – and that covers over 80% of Android users. It doesn’t run for the tiny minority using Windows, Blackberry, or anything else. It doesn’t run on phones which aren’t ‘smart’ (think ‘original Nokia’). And you can’t use it if you don’t have a phone at all – and believe me, there will undoubtedly be some people who are in that bracket who are complaining.

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Virus imageThis is a real example from a couple of weeks ago.

I’m teaching a brother and sister. The sister is virtually test-ready, and has been since before the lockdown in March. However, she is having problems with passing her theory test, so we have put lessons on hold until she gets that sorted (and she’s doing daily private practice with her mum). Shortly before the lockdown began she got a job as a teaching assistant in a Nottingham school.

Her brother started with me when I began working again last month. He’d only had one lesson when he texted me and told me his sister had been sent home because one of the teaching staff had tested positive for COVID-19 (it quickly turned into three). His sister was awaiting her test result, so we cancelled his lesson for the following day. He texted me again to tell me that his sister had tested negative, but she still had to quarantine for 14 days (the guidance at the time on the NHS website). However, his mum had called 111 to find out about everyone in the house and been told that no one else needed to quarantine!

That is (or was) stupid. If the person testing negative had to quarantine because (in the words of the NHS website), ‘you might develop symptoms’, what if they do develop symptoms? By then it would be too late.

I knew what I wanted to do, but I decided to let him make the call. He knows my situation as carer to my parents, and I made a condition before his lessons commenced that if there was any suspicion either of us had been near an infected person, we needed to be honest with each other. He’s a decent lad (a very decent family, in fact), and he said he wouldn’t mind holding off for 14 days. So that’s what we did.

You see, that’s me. I realise we are in the middle of a pandemic which has killed 50,000 people in the UK so far. I realise that we are not back to normal, and won’t be for a while yet. And I know I have to try and make sure I don’t bring the virus back home to my parents. And that’s in spite of having a net negative income if I’m not working. It all comes down to where my dial is set on the side of morality. But it seems that not all driving instructors would take the same approach.

Someone asked about a similar situation (though it might have been a shit-stirring hypothetical one), and asking the question ‘what would you do?’ A frightening number – mainly the same ones who spent the better part of the summer stating they were going to work because no one had specifically said they couldn’t (even though they never actually did work) – appear to have taken the Ernie’s College-o-rama online medical and epidemiology course during the lockdown, and are now expert enough to decide that just because a school has closed down due to a COVID-19 outbreak doesn’t mean they’re going to stop work for two weeks.

Others manage to reason that 2 + 2 = 5. Apparently, if a school gets a positive and sends everyone home, it’s an ‘overreaction’, since not all the kids have been in direct contact with the positive subject – and certainly not your kid, of course. These ‘experts’ don’t have a clue. All it boils down to is not wanting the hassle of having the kids home from school, and just wanting to earn money as if nothing’s wrong right now. Their justifying ‘explanations’ are fabricated and twisted to fit in with that.

Take a look at the simple simulation below. The initial red dot is an infected person, and all the blue dots are uninfected people. Once they start moving, if a blue dot touches a red dot (there is more maths involved based on probability of infection by direct contact), it also becomes red. Just look how quickly it spreads to everyone.

This is exponential spread. Apply it to a real situation, and it doesn’t matter one jot whether your kid came into personal contact with the infected one directly. If that initial infected kid had subsequently infected others who hadn’t yet been tested, how the hell can you be so certain your own kid isn’t also infected through contact with them? Did Ernie’s certificate gift you with telepathy or something? Your kid could have been in contact with anyone who was carrying COVID-19 depending on whereabouts in this scatter the positive result was found. That’s why they send everyone home, and not just one. They have to.

Furthermore, with the new Test & Trace app recently launched, these same graduates from Ernie’s reckon that a diary is all you need if you’re a driving instructor. Looking at that simulation again, how in God’s name does writing a pupil’s name in a diary and knowing their home address in any way manage their movements when they are not in the car with you? Or inform you of those they come into contact with?

This is why we are where we are today with COVID-19. You’ve got people who are expecting the virus to fit in with what they want, and they twist the laws of nature to try to justify what they’re doing without understanding a bit of it. And as a result, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly.

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COVID-19 Infections 2020 (to September)The BBC has an article titled ‘Covid: Is it time we learnt to live with the virus?’ It also has a comments section open in that story.

At the same time, there is another article resulting from today’s government announcements which says that if we don’t do something, we could be looking at 50,000 new cases a day by mid-October, and 200 or more deaths per day once that stage of the increase kicks in.

Comments left in the first article include the following:

[boycie] Just let everyone catch it. The whole country cannot be held back once again for the sake of the few.

[Nick B] …it’s very sad that people have died from this. But locking down and unlocking down continually is no answer.

[Andrew C] …lock yourself down if you want to but don’t expect everyone else to do the same.

[Point_of_view] Do you really think it is people partying and protesting outside that is causing the bulk of transmissions? The main mechanism of transmission has been in people’s homes, inside.

[Ben] Is it time we learnt to live with it? Yes. Further lockdowns are going to do so much more damage than good.

[Richard] Yes, lockdown doesn’t work.

This is a very small sample, but it illustrates the crass stupidity and selfishness of what is quite possibly the majority of the British public – the same public that has put us where we are with the second wave right now.

The first commenter, ‘boycie’, fails to recognise that it is already proven that you can catch COVID-19 again. It has also been shown that resistance (‘immunity’) in those who have had it begins to wane after just 2-3 months. In other words, there is no such thing as ‘immunity’ at all – it is so short-lived that it is of no practical benefit. He also fails to recognise that anyone who got ill the first time may well have suffered damage that means they’re now one of those with an ‘underlying condition’. For them, a second infection will probably not be as mild as the first. This character, ‘boycie’, therefore appears to be completely happy to send his parents or grandparents to their graves just so he can carry on like nothing is wrong – and all because of his stupidity and ignorance.

As I have said many times, if my parents caught COVID-19, it would almost definitely kill them. If it didn’t on its first try, it would on its second. In a civilised world, you do not play that card on purpose. You do not even consider it – even for the short time this government did at the start of the pandemic, with its ‘herd immunity’ idea. Because we now know that ‘herd immunity’ from natural infection with COVID-19 does not exist, even if the ignorant ‘boycie’ types of this world are still stuck in the past and believe that it does.

‘Nick B’ and ‘Richard’ demonstrate ignorance in a different way. The chart at the top of this article shows the infection rates for the duration of the pandemic up until nearly the end of September in the UK. It seems fairly obvious to me that if you don’t do anything to try and limit how something spreads, there is no way that a thing the size of a COVID-19 virus has any ability to choose a cyclical or wave-like approach, such as we are seeing. It just spreads wherever it can. Therefore, almost the whole reason the numbers fell after the first peak was because action was taken to try and limit it. And almost the whole reason it is rising again now is because that action was reversed last month, and people who are theoretically far smarter than a COVID-19 virus started booking holidays to Spain and Greece (and other places where it was prevalent), and caused whole flights to have to be quarantined as they shipped it back to the UK. Almost the whole reason it never fell to zero was precisely because of people like ‘Nick B’, ‘Richard’, and the prats living it up in Zante or Ibiza, who most likely flouted or ignored the rules that were brought in even in the early days.

‘Andrew C’ probably couldn’t even spell ‘epidemiology’, let alone have the first clue what it involved. If any individual is going to dodge receiving a COVID-19 bullet, they have a much better chance if there are fewer bullets flying around to start with. ‘Andrew C’s’ solution is like saying everyone can run around going ‘yee-haaa’ and shooting at whatever they want, and anyone who doesn’t like it is at fault, and should stay at home and try to keep out the way. That’s fine, as long as there are no stray bullets – like grocery delivery drivers and postal workers – going from house to house.

‘Point_of_view’, like all the others, doesn’t like being locked down or told what to do, so he tries to justify that with cherry-picked details. How the hell does he think the virus gets into a home setting in the first place? It doesn’t just magically appear out of thin air – it has to be brought in. People like these commenters, who think they know more than the scientific experts, are the cause. They’re outside, pissing around like there’s nothing wrong, nipping off to the Balearics, then coming back and not isolating. They pick it up, then they take it home. The whole household becomes infected. But then, if any of that household has the same ridiculous beliefs as the commenters here, they will also go out, and the same cycle repeats in multiple households. It’s how exponential spread of the virus occurs, and is exactly like what that prat, Layton Migas, did when he came back from Ibiza, didn’t isolate (when he should have), and caused Bolton to be locked down.

‘Ben’ is one of those whose life revolves around money – his money – and nothing else, and who resents any restrictions. He is prepared to put that money above the lives of the 50,000 who have already died, and the additional deaths that are inevitable as a result of his ‘I don’t wanna’ approach.

That’s what it comes down to with all these people. They just ‘don’t wanna’, so they come out with these pathetic and uninformed excuses.

The country is in a f***ing mess for all sorts of reasons. Right now, COVID-19 is the biggest reason. And – right now – there is no ideal solution. The government is trying to balance letting people die, with letting businesses (and individuals’ finances) collapse. It is physically impossible to support both sides of that equation, and I don’t envy anyone who has to try. Right now, there is no solution, and I wish idiots like ‘boycie’, ‘ Nick B’, ‘Andrew C’, ‘Point_of_view’, ‘Ben’, and ‘Richard’ (plus the millions of others who think they know best – even though they can’t spell or use good grammar) would stop trying.

For me, if it was a choice between my business or my parents’ lives, my parents would come out tops every time. I just have to accept that there are people who are so materialistic (or whatever their motivation) that they see it differently.

We need a vaccine.

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