It’s Still about the Virus

US virus spread is increasing with Trump continuing to press for the states to open up their economies. He has pardoned his friend Stone who was convicted of lying to the Senate. By the end of the month he is promoting the use of masks.
The introduction of security laws in Hong Kong by China is widely condemned. US pressure to get HUAWEI out of 5g infrastructure has meant the UK has decided not to allow them participation here. This was largely due to the US banning their chips in HUAWEI products.

The Brazilian president, who downplays the virus and refused to wear a mask, has tested positive.
In the Uk, the chancellor, Sunak, announces plans for stimulating the economy including government subsidies for eating in restaurants Mon to Wed during August. The government has confirmed plans to get all children back to school in September. Travel, without the need for 14 day quarantine on return, has been announced for 70 countries. Spain is removed from the list on 25th July. Changes were introduced for 24th July including the opening of covid prepared gyms and pools and the requirement to wear masks in shops.
There are localised virus outbreaks (mainly in factories where distancing is difficult or in crowded multi occupancy household areas) resulting in restrictions in Leicester, Blackburn and Greater Manchester.

000’s Cases Deaths
Feb March April May June July Feb Mar April May June July
World 85 863 1985 2957 10550 17744 3 43 234 382 519 682
UK 0 22 171 249 283 303 0 2 27 37 40 41
USA 0 193 1099 1855 2730 4714 0 5 64 109 130 157
Brazil 0 6 85 515 1408 2666 0 0 6 29 60 93
India 0 1 35 190 586 1697 0 0 1 5 17 37
Spain 0 96 239 265 273 324 0 8 25 28 28 28
France 0 52 130 152 165 188 0 4 24 29 30 30

Football Restarts

USA virus level is increasing with easing. Trump is desperate to get the economy going. The police killing of a black guy has resulted in demonstrations across the country and some riots. Some demonstrators at the white house were cleared by police using tear gas so that Trump could get a photo opportunity at a nearby church. Racial demos are occurring worldwide with some in the UK.  In Bristol a ‘slaver’ statue was pulled down. There’s a danger of a bandwagon effect. I don’t agree with some voices that promote rejection of British historical realities and values (Empire etc).
Some kids are back in school – infants reception & years 1 & 6. Teens seem to be suffering particularly with the loss of education and the loss of contact with friends and social activities. There’s no plan for full school return before september.
Worldwide the pandemic is accelerating. Brazil has taken second place in the world for number of cases. The Beijing area is in lockdown after an outbreak in a large market.

In the UK, travel and staying over announced as OK from 4th July. Football restarts with empty stadia on the 17th June with an accelerated schedule with Liverpool rapidly winning the premiership.
Rashford gets the government to commit to free meals for needy kids who cannot go to school.
The government plans to establish travel corridors to avoid quarantine for travellers returning from approved countries.
Holiday bookings are up.

Virus status at month end

000’s Cases Deaths
Feb March April May June Feb Mar April May June
World 85 863 1985 2957 10550 3 43 234 382 519
UK 0 22 171 249 283 0 2 27 37 40
USA 0 193 1099 1855 2730 0 5 64 109 130
Brazil 0 6 85 515 1408 0 0 6 29 60
India 0 1 35 190 586 0 0 1 5 17
Spain 0 96 239 265 273 0 8 25 28 28
France 0 52 130 152 165 0 4 24 29 30

Its All About The Virus

Fortunately the lockdown weather has been good – 6 weeks sunshine, one a bit rainy
UK reaches 30k dead by 5th may. On the 9th some UK easing –  go to work if you can safely but work from home if you can.  Target for start and end primary classes to return and  limited secondary on 1st of June.  Some shops planned to open 15th June. Testing planned for all with symptoms. Track and trace started. Deficit £62b April.
Johnson aid cummings breaks lockdown rules with a trip – gets stonewalling support from Johnson.
Europe starts easing
Trump claims that USA has ‘World best testing’ at White House briefing which resembles an electioneering event. Under press questioning from an asian woman he insults her and walks off ! A black man was killed by police sparking riots and a “Black Lives Matter ” movement. Trump promotes an unproven covid drug and paints protesters as violent mobs.
Little Richard dies.
Plane crash in Pakistan
China plans to introduce a widely criticised security law in Hong Kong which will significantly reduce freedoms.
Virus status month end
000’s Cases Deaths
Feb March April May Feb Mar April May
World 85 863 1985 2957 3 43 234 382
China 78 82 83 83 3 3 5 5
Italy 3 106 205 233 0 12 28 34
USA 0 193 1099 1855 0 5 64 109
Spain 0 96 239 265 0 8 25 28
UK 0 22 171 249 0 2 27 37

Boris is News for the Wrong Reason

Coronavirus dominates the news and peoples lives. It continues its worldwide spread with most countries trying containment then lockdowns.
On the 6th Boris is taken to hospital after 10 days with a high temperature and within days he is in ICU! He is out on the 10th but doesn’t leave hospital until  the 26th. It is estimated that he will need at least two weeks recovery.
Nightingale hospitals (converted arenas to deal with a surge of cases) open in London & Birmingham within 10 days of starting building work.
A local hospital nurse dies.
There are issues over the provision of protective equipment (ppe) to key health workers – the main issue seems to be the requirement for a massive distribution task.
There is no mass volume testing yet. The government commits to 100k/day by month end – which it achieves.
Trump continues to be a clown. His daily briefings becoming marketing exercises for this year’s presidential election. When journalists question his actions his reaction is to attack and abuse them. Maybe this goes down well with his electoral base. On the 14th he stops funding the WHO accusing them of being China centric. One of his more classic moments was the suggestion that they might find a way to inject disinfectant as it is so good at killing the virus. He is pressing for an end to lockdowns so that the economy can restart. Fortunately the state governors are in charge of those decisions.
Spain Norway and Germany start opening their economies by relaxing some of their controls.
Oil demand has collapsed causing the trading price to go negative for a time

Virus status month end:

000’s Cases Deaths
Feb March April Feb Mar April
World 85 863 1985 3 43 234
China 78 82 83 3 3 5
Italy 3 106 205 0 12 28
USA 0 193 1099 0 5 64
Spain 0 96 239 0 8 25
UK 0 22 171 0 2 27


UK plans for dealing with the virus seem to be in place. The focus is on flattening and delaying the peak demand on hospital ICU while increasing its capacity, avoiding a health service collapse. The oft repeated tag line is “Stay at Home-Protect the NHS-Save Lives”.
Italy is on lockdown with serious issues in the north.
Worldwide there is fast expansion of infections.  Football off UK and Europe then most sports events are cancelled worldwide. Olympics deferred 12 months
UK moves from contain (identify then trace contacts) to delay (distancing and isolating). Seems to be working.

  • 16th stopped social contacts.Europe closes borders
  • 20th UK shuts pubs, restaurants and cafes
  • 23rd significant lockdown – all shops except food/essentials. “Shielding” (ie isolation) of 1.5 million vulnerable – 750,000 volunteer to provide assistance.
  • 26th Only allowed out for essential shopping, one hour exercise or essential work or it cannot be done from home. No meetings of more than two people. Social distancing outside household groups
  • Massive government spending program to support people – £330bn support to businesses. 80% employee furlough from government. similar for self employed
  • Virus growth 25% daily UK. Italy has a major issue, about two weeks ahead of the UK
  • USA overtakes china for cases – trump a joke, his daily briefings turning out to be self justification events in a year when re-election looms.
  • Boris is performing well at daily briefings flanked by scientific and medical leaders. The theme is that action will be driven by the science (which is not perfect and still requires subtle political judgement)
  • Boris, the chief medical officer and the health minister all go down testing positive for the virus. The health minister is back within a week, Boris is not.

Stats vs Last Month (000’s)

Cases Deaths
Feb March Feb Mar
World 85 863 3 43
China 78 82 3 3
Italy 3 106 0 12
USA 0 193 0 5
Spain 0 96 0 8
UK 0 22 0 2

Now it’s the C Word


  • Virus continues to spread
  • UK seems to have a viable plan to delay and minimise the peak of the epidemic while trying to boost the capacity of the NHS
  • Cruise ships having problems with docking plus many cases on board
  • Cases spreading worldwide – declared a pandemic
  • Shares down about 30%, oil prices collapse
  • Over 70s (that’s me!) advised to take special care
  • Cases at the end of February
    • World 84615
    • China 77835
    • Italy 1128
    • USA 68
    • Spain 58
    • UK 23

Trump impeachment fails as expected due to republican majority in the senate
Boris changes cabinet composition – Javid resigns as his treasury advisers are merged with number 10
MC appeal against Uefa penalties for breaking financial rules
Storm Dennis = wales & borders flooding
Syria idlib bombing continues as refugees flood to the turkish border
Wales 6 nations 3 losses
European Union exit negotiators adopt opening positions

We won’t need to use the B word again

UK left the EU at 11pm 31st January with transition period to end (by law) on 31st December. Boris adopting hardball position to trade talks – good for him!
US assassinate leading iranian general. Iran retaliates with missiles to US bases in Iraq (a limited response) but accidentally bring down a civilian aircraft with a missile at the same time.
At Davos trump labels climate push as ‘prophets of doom’. Democrats pursuing a futile impeachment path (although he’s obviously guilty). USA looks more like a banana republic.
Rapist convicted of 120 crimes
Harry & Meghan decide to give the up royals thing and move to canada – do I care….
Australian fires covering large areas
Turkey earthquake
Assad pressing to retake remaining rebel areas with assistance from russia and little resistance from others
Chinese Corona virus spreading worldwide – death rate 2% but it’s highly infectious
Liverpool are now uncatchable at the top of the premiership

It may be over

Boris gets a major election win with an overall majority of 80. Won by persuading midlands and north labour voters to “lend” votes to him and focussing on “Let’s get brexit done”. Labour lost through Corbyn image, making excessive spending commitments and, probably, a too left wing agenda.
The first stages of a Brexit bill are passed including a legal commitment to final exit by the end of 2020
A New Zealand volcanic eruption kills several tourists
Serious bush fires engulf much of south east Australia with temperatures at 40C

Unbearable electioneering nearly over

New speaker elected – can’t be worse than the last
Election – parties competing for who can spend most. Labour clear spending leaders – if these loonies get elected we are all doomed (Mr Mannering…). Boris avoiding interview with Neil – don’t blame him, Corbyn’s was an embarrassing car crash. Fortunately there are only another few days to go.
Flooding in Yorkshire and fires in Australia precede the international climate conference. Until someone persuades China, India and the USA to take action it’s a waste of time. The UK is irrelevant in the overall picture.
Hong Kong riots precede election triumph for the pro democracy movement. Probable waste of effort vs chinese government attitude.
England qualify for next stage of Euros after beating montenegro by 7 then kosovo by 4
Trump impeachment progresses but since the senate is republican controlled it will not happen. Democrats probably hoping to affect the next election.
London bridge terrorism saw three killed plus the terrorist and heroic efforts by the public to stop him

Is Brexit about to be done?

Rugby world cup in Japan – Wales beat Australia and Fiji then France to reach semis where they lost to South Africa. England beat New Zealand but lose the final to South Africa. A hurricane disrupted the schedule.
US pulls out of Syria. Turks invade Kurds in Syria “to create a buffer zone”. Russia steps in to provide support.
England lose to Czech Republic in disappointing game but win convincingly in Bulgaria despite racist activity in the stands. UEFA response underwhelming.
On 17th EU deal agreed but dup will not support. A vote caused an MP amendment that leads to more delay and EU extension to 31st January. 2nd reading of the bill passed but schedule not. Government pause activity and when EU delay announced try bill for elction. Not passed (fixed parliament act). Introduce simple bill for date change of an election to 12 Dec and Labour shamed into agreeing!
Thank god its only 12 weeks.