Real Talk. News. Views. Opinions.
Wherever you are in the world, there’s a lot going on – there’s a lot to keep up with.
One way to try and avoid feeling overwhelmed by everything going on is to remember that the personal is political. What you’re experiencing matters. What you’re feeling matters. Your perspective and your opinion matters.
Here’s what’s happening in my world.
I don’t understand what JK Rowling is doing. I don’t understand why she has decided to turn her massive Twitter platform against Trans people, and specifically against Trans kids. Another day, another tweet ‘questioning’ whether kids with gender dysphoria are being subjected to ‘conversion therapy’ by medical professionals who help them through the transition journey.
What does Rowling get out of this? Why has she appointed herself as an anti-Trans spokesperson? What makes her an expert on gender dysphoria? I don’t have answers to those questions, I simply can’t get my head around why she’s so relentlessly focused on Trans people.
I’m not an expert on gender dysphoria or the Trans experience, but if you listen to Trans people – and medical professionals – it’s impossible not to be moved by the trauma of gender dysphoria and the challenges and difficulties involved in trying to get the help needed to deal with that. Having someone with as powerful a voice and platform as JK Rowling actively question your existence is beyond hurtful. It’s a deliberate act of emotional abuse.
If Rowling’s motivations were purely driven by her concern for young kids, and wanting to make sure that young kids were being cared for and supported during difficult times, how is taking to Twitter helping that? She’s got a lot of money. She’s got a lot of influence. She could set up a charity that tackled Female Genital Mutilation or raised awareness about the challenges faced by Intersex kids, or helped feed people in poverty. Anything. Surely, anything would be more helpful than using Twitter to attack Trans kids.
I’m not a doctor. I’ve got the white coat for role-plays, obviously, but there’s a lot of people who are a lot more qualified than I am who you should be listening to when it comes to Covid-19. Make sure you’re getting your updates and insights from experts who are informed and know what they’re talking about.
Confusingly, it’s not always our political leaders that we can turn to for accurate information – the US and the UK are obvious examples. One of the skills that we all need to develop in this new-normal is critical analysis. We always need to be questioning – Does this person know what they’re talking about? How objective are they? What’s the context of this information? Does this information apply to me?
Covid-19 in the UK
Now that the UK government has stopped daily briefings about Covid-19, it’s up to each of us to try and stay on top of the facts. Front-page media reporting isn’t always particularly informative in terms of providing an accurate picture of what’s going on.
In an alarming move this week, the UK government has announced that it’s no longer going to publish the daily number of individuals being tested. They’re going to continue to publish the number of tests being conducted, but not how many individuals – one person could be tested multiple times. The government is being accused of stopping the reporting to cover up the reality that they’re not testing enough people. That’s quite likely. My sense is that what’s probably more likely is that they just don’t know – the data collection seems to be a bit of a shambles so they probably just can’t keep track of who they’ve tested. Either way, it’s unacceptable.
The best data source that I’ve found so far is the government’s Covid-19 page on its website. It’s not the easiest thing to navigate, and there’s lots of (increasingly alarming) questions about the timeliness and accuracy of the data, but it’s probably the best thing we’ve got.
In terms of testing, it looks like the reporting has been enhanced in the last day or so. We’ve now got a break-down in the different types of tests being conducted – there’s four different types. We’ve also now got a breakdown of the levels of testing being conducted within each nation that forms the UK. The 7-day average (as at 30Jun) of actual tests being done across the UK is sitting at 170.6K per day. That doesn’t seem high enough. We need more testing, more information, more data.
The number of new cases being detected continues to fall, although increased testing would give us more confidence that this is a meaningful trend. The 7-day average is now under 1K. As at 30Jun it was sitting at 749 – so, we’re still seeing over 700 people acquiring the virus each day. Testing is also critical in order for us to have confidence in these numbers. If we’re not testing enough people, then we don’t know how many cases have not yet been identified.
We’re still seeing a lot of people being admitted to hospital. The 7-day average (as at 20Jun) is sitting at 379. Each day, we’re seeing 379 people admitted to hospital because they’ve acquired Covid-19. As at 7 July, we had a total of 3,018 people in hospital with the virus and 231 of those are on ventilators. But there seems to be a big lag on these hospitalisation numbers – looking at the data provided it seems that these numbers don’t include anything that’s happened after 23 June. I don’t understand why real-time data isn’t available.
In terms of deaths, the 7-day average (as at 1Jul20) is 97. It’s encouraging to see that number below 100, but let’s not forget that 97 people are dying each day because of Covid-19.
We’ve now also got data for cases at Local Authority level. As a bit of a data-geek, I find this kind of stuff fascinating. I can look at the data for Hackney & City of London – where I live. This tells me that, since the beginning of the virus, this Local Authority region has recorded a total of 807 cases of Covid-19. The last recorded case was on 3 July. The trend line indicates that infection rates peaked on 3 April.
We can also look at data for deaths on a regional level. So, when we look at the data for London, this shows that 6,699 Covid-related deaths have been recorded in London. The peak was on 6 April. Covid-related deaths in London have been in single-figures since 25Jun (when 10 were recorded).
I totally get the need to be looking at how to get people back to work, how to get kids back to school, and how to restart the economy, but – as we’ve seen in Leicester and in other countries – that’s a pointless exercise if you take your eye off the ball in terms of containing Covid-19. This virus is still very active in our community and is killing people every day.
Covid-19 in Australia
I’m keeping a close eye on Australia as that’s where most of my immediate family live.
Australia seems to be at a different point of the Covid-19 pandemic than pretty much everywhere else. It’s probably only New Zealand that has been more effective in closing its borders, minimising infections and minimising deaths.
Australia operates a Federal system, so most of the decision-making happens at State level – each state following their own timeline. There’s only been 8,755 infections and 106 deaths across all of Australia – that’s remarkably low figures when you compare it to the experience of other countries.
However, they’re very clear that they’re not on top of the virus yet. The state of Victoria – where most of my family live – is currently experiencing a spike in community transmission. It’s low-level compared to what we’re seeing in other countries, but given that they have practically eliminated Covid-19 from the rest of the country, it’s an alarming development. The problem seems to be that they didn’t have enough controls of returning travellers that were being quarantined in hotels. The latest move is that the entire city of Melbourne – the state capital – is going back into lock-down. That’s five million people. They’ve also announced that they’re closing the border between the states of Victoria and New South Wales. My parents live in a border town that is half in one state and half in the other, so that’s going to be interesting.
I’ve watched a lot of Drag Race over the years, but – objectively – there’s a lot to love about the Canadian edition.
I complimented Ming on his abs – which look awesome when he appears in the show. He says that the secret is to trace the outline of the muscles with Vaseline and then give them a light misting of water. I’m thinking of giving that a try – first step, get abs.