Covid-19 Diaries – April 20th

The Nook Cranny shop has finally landed on my Animal Crossing island. Like a Judas, the price I paid for building the shop was thirty pieces each of wood, hardwood, softwood and iron nuggets. The various woods were easy. The iron nuggets flummoxed me, since all the rocks, which had previously been ubiquitous on my island, suddenly disappeared. It took several days of game play (roughly an hour a day) to have the eureka moment that perhaps I should fork out on Nook miles tickets and fly to other islands, where there might be iron nuggets aplenty – and there were. I had to fly to three different mystery islands to accrue my 30 nuggets.  I also asked the three inhabitants of each island to come and live on my island, much against my better judgement and I now find I have to build three houses for these individuals, who’d rather not begin life in a tent! The absolute cheek of it. I’ve also added another room to my tiny house for the mighty sum of $380,000!  YIKES (accompanied by a shocked Animal Crossing reaction feature.)

I play Animal Crossing as I play my life. Therefore, the first thing I do is dutifully pay off my loans as soon as possible – but the latest loan gave me the jitters, even though Animal Crossing is not real. My young, cute, cartoon alter ego is now sporting a sort of middle-aged twin-set, with a middle-aged plaid scarf thrown in and a ‘tulip hat’ which wouldn’t look amiss on Miss Marple.  I didn’t realise I’d subconsciously gone with this combo until she came bouncing out of her house looking like some aged toff from the latest issue of Horse and Hounds. I just need to find out how to make her lustrous, dark brown hair turn grey (probably via another hideous wasp attack) and I can then fully identify with my virtual self.

animal crossing 1

I’ve furnished my home with the few items I’ve thus far been allowed. They’re not ideal, particularly the purple rug I got as an unwelcome surprise from the spivvy camel, but here I’m displaying a sense of entitlement so many of us feel in the West. My furniture is functional (by which I mean it’s not functional at all, being it’s not real) and I should be content with my lot. Since earning another room I’ve had to swap my furniture around a lot and went with using my small extra room as a cosy bedroom.  The bigger room is a mish-mash, and methinks the log table should really be outside but no-one has offered me a proper dining table yet. I received a Hogwarts style flag to hang on my wall, as a reward for achieving 20,000 points for my home décor skills. Admittedly the flag doesn’t go at all with my bunny clock but needs must. Most of my décor comes from the mad Easter bunny period, during which most of the holes I dug produced eggs, and eggs mysteriously grew on trees, and all my clothes were majorly egg themed.  It all got a bit eggshausting to be honest.  At least now the shop is here, I’ve managed to get rid of my cityscape wallpaper, bought from the dodgy camel and sold for an eggstortionate amount of bells (this transaction took place during the interminable egg period.)  I had rather grown to like my skyscraper walls of late, but decided to go with the only two wallpapers on offer at Nook Cranny.

animal crossing 2

animal crossing 3

I have latterly gone into a YouTube wormhole and entered the parallel universe that is the BOFFINS slagging each other off re: The Virus.  My new favourite medic is Dr Jay Bhattacharya, a Professor of medicine at Stanford University.  I like Dr Jay because it is his considered opinion that The Virus is only as lethal (oh, the frightening words the medics use) as the flu. He conducted a rapid month-long study during March, recruiting 3,300 candidates via Facebook Ads and tested them all for Covid antibodies. Now, I’ll add here, that I am familiar with scienctific studies, via experience gained during son no.3’s MSc and I’d like to point out that your average science study can be far from accurate. There are all kinds of ‘things’ that can interfere with results. Things like: bias, human error, equipment error, not to mention that results can be manipulated to fit the author’s agenda.  I think this can even be done with statistical modelling, judging by the son’s experience of machine learning modelling and bog standard graphical data: lines of best fit and so on (this is me mumbling a bit as a lay woman.)

Dr Jay admits that most of his recruits came from the middle-class, thus eliminating a vast section of the population. But his study showed that the ‘population-weighted prevalence of antibodies was 2.81%’ in his sample.  A weighted mean is a kind of average apparently. According to Dr Jay the seemingly tiny 2.81% result of his testing is good news, for it means that Covid is far more widespread in the population than recorded cases show.  Dr Jay is of the opinion that Dr Anthony Fauci (Trump’s Covid medical advisor) who stated publicly and alarmingly that Covid is ‘ten times more deadly than the flu,’ should not have made such a statement without knowing the ‘denominator.’  The denominator is key, the dissenting boffins cry, for without a figure representing the total population, we are in the Covid-19 dark. Dr Jay believes the CFR (case fatality rate) for Covid is 1/1000 and not 1/100, as Fauci predicted.  Still, in the UK, even that fraction means you’d be looking at over 60,000 deaths and doesn’t it kind of take away any trust in the ‘experts,’ when the boffins in the same field can’t even agree.

Talking of numbers, because The Virus, as we know, is nothing but a numbers game. Every time you watch Sky (which I now try to avoid, like The Virus plague) remember that to each and every one of the heavily coiffured, heavily made-up, fetchingly-dressed women that adorn the Sky newsroom, reading out those death statistics is their dream job. They thrive on it, so much so that they like to repeat the numbers every ten minutes or so, in case you’re getting death-rate-fatigue.  Feeding off the hidden torment and silent grief of those actual people that are daily reduced to a number across your screen, our newsreaders feign a suitable sadness before handing over to an ever increasing army of very young, very attractive fledgling newsreaders (all female and all doing their dream job) who then repeat the latest death toll, some in large, NHS-type (appropriately) spectacles (for extra gravitas) whilst not forgetting to now state that, ‘remember there are people behind these numbers’ – something they previously didn’t think to do.  Yes, lest we forget which, depressingly, those of us who make it through this will do when it’s all over.

Is lockdown and the economic crash all a kind of madness?  Have we gone through the looking glass,  where the fearsome Covid-19 Jabberwocky lives?  Only to find it can be defeated by a child. Sometimes, I think so, but what do I know – probably as much as the clueless experts.



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