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.
Solidarity to the LGBTQ community in Poland, fighting back against increasingly anti-LGBTQ rhetoric from the conservative government and the Catholic Church.
Activists are being arrested, people are protesting in the street.
Let’s make sure that their voices are heard.
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
In a world where misinformation is the norm, we’ve all got to become data experts to keep on top of the facts of the pandemic.
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 questions about the timeliness and accuracy of the data, but it’s probably the best thing we’ve got.
In terms of testing, the 7-day average (as at 5Aug) of actual tests being done across the UK is sitting at 170K per day. That still doesn’t seem high enough, but it does seem that we are seeing a steady increase in the number of tests being conducted. There’s also talk of how to make testing data available at Local Authority level, which seems well overdue.
The number of new cases being detected is one to be keeping a close eye on. Looking at the 7-day average, we hit a low of 546 new cases per day on 5Jul. Since then, it’s been creeping back up – as at 5Aug, the 7-day average was up to 831 new cases per day. That’s clearly cause for caution. The numbers aren’t rising exponentially, which is some comfort, and we’d expect to see an increase in cases detected in line with increases in testing. However, the bottom line is that a lot of people are still acquiring the virus each day.
We also have data on how many people are being admitted to hospital. In the UK, we currently have 1,067 people in hospital (because of Covid-19) and 67 people on ventilators. These numbers have been gradually coming down since the peak back in April. If we drill down to London, it looks like the 7-day average is sitting at 5.7 people being admitted to hospital each day (as at 2Aug).
In terms of deaths, we’re still seeing significant numbers of deaths each day – around 100 people. Most of these deaths are happening in England, with some in Wales. If we drill down to London, the 7-day average (as at 4Aug) is sitting at 1.3 deaths per day.
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 – which has a population of around 350K – has recorded a total of 1,010 cases of Covid-19. As at 5Aug, the 7-day average was 4.1 new cases being recorded each day. The trend line indicates that infection rates peaked on 3 April, but it is concerning that we’ve clearly seen an increase in infections following the relaxation of lock-down. In recent days, the highest we’ve seen was on 4Aug when 13 cases were recorded. The numbers in this local area seem so small that it would be interesting to know where they’re coming from. One scenario is that infections are going largely unreported because people are either asymptomatic or experiencing mild systems and aren’t presenting to health services.
It’s clear that this virus is still very active in our community and is killing people every day. We need to keep pushing for more testing and better data. It seems pretty clear that masks can help minimise transmission. Let’s wear masks.
Covid-19 in Australia
I’m keeping a close eye on Australia as that’s where most of my immediate family live.
There’s been 21,084 infections and 295 deaths across all of Australia – that’s low figures when you compare it to the experience of most other countries.
But, after seeming to have responded well to the initial onset of the pandemic, Australia is almost back at step one in trying to contain community transmission of Covid-19.
Australia operates a Federal system, so most of the decision-making happens at State level.
The state of Victoria – where most of my family live – is currently experiencing a significant spike in community transmission. In an attempt to get on top of things, the entire state is back in a total lock-down. That’s six million people. Everything shut, and a strict curfew. They’ve also closed the state borders. That’s a big deal. They’re said that these restrictions are going to be in place until mid-September. They’re not messing around.
Ms Rona versus The Queers
There’s no denying, 2020 has been absolute shit-show. Sure, there’s only a few months to go, but I’m trying to do my best to salvage whatever fragments of joy I can get my hands on.
It turns out that global pandemics are no walk in the park. I’m not – in any way – making light of the devastation caused by Covid-19. People have died. Jobs have been lost. We’re at the end of the beginning and there’s plenty more pain to come.
One of the super-powers that us queers have is that we’re a pretty resilient bunch. We adapt, we innovate, we survive. We’ve been reading up on viral loads long before it was cool.
Have we seen any examples of queer excellence shining while Ms Rona has been hogging the limelight? Sure we have – there’s been some ups and down, some winners and losers, some selfish tops and some messy bottoms. Let’s get into it.
- Shea Couleé – she’s an all-star, but we knew that already. It’s her leadership on issues that matter to our community that take her next-level.
- Masturbation. Is there such a thing as too much? I’m trying to go for quality, not quantity.
- Gays that can sew their own masks. The creative gays are always essential in a crisis.
- Socialism. Sometimes, capitalist free-markets fall apart. Furlough has got to be in the running for word-of-the year.
- Fan-subscription porn – we’ve all started a channel, now we just need some subscribers.
- Netflix. There seems to be a lot on there, but not necessarily anything you want to watch. Regardless, they’re definitely one of the winners in this pandemic.
- Glory holes – officially recommended by health experts as a safer way to have sex.
- Troye Sivan – he’s dealing with a breakup and navigating lock-down and he’s doing it through some awesome new music.
- Men who can grow a moustache.
- Ellen DeGeneres – her motto is #BeKind but turns out that working on her show isn’t much fun.
- The rainbow flag – we don’t have a monopoly on the rainbow, but co-opting the rainbow flag to symbolise your support for the NHS erases us and our history.
- Racist porn-stars. No longer tolerated by an industry keen to take out its trash.
- Bathhouses/Saunas – almost impossible for them to reopen while social distancing restrictions in place. Huge loss for our community.
- All the gays that work in hospitality, tourism, theatre, and the creative industries – that’s pretty much all of the gays.
- The swim-briefs we were saving for a gay beach vacation (although, we still have an eye on Gran Canaria in October).
- JK Rowling. Stop. Attacking. Trans. People.
- Systemic racism.
Always good to see Keiynan Lonsdale in action, and he’s bringing his best mean-girl attitude in Work It – a family-friendly dance movie on Netflix.
I’d like to pretend that someone talked me into watching this, but that would be a lie. I’m a sucker for a feel-good dance movie where a group of misfits come together and overcome whatever.
Is Work It the best dance movie ever made? No. Is it worth watching? Maybe. Is Keiynan Lonsdale everything that I wish I was but clearly are not? Undeniably.