A Driving Instructor's Blog

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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