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Lockdown

Well. Isn’t this an odd place to be in.

So we saw SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19 coming at us a few weeks out thanks to medical twitter, but like most things of this nature, no matter how much warning you get, it still hits before you’re ready for it. $DAYJOB had closed offices in affected areas some time ago, and were encouraging anyone who wanted to work from home to do so in Dublin for a while and we were preparing for a sudden closure – things like planning what we needed to bring home from the office, when we’d pull Calum out of school, that sort of thing. We did a slightly heavier shop on the weekend than normal so we had two weeks of food in the house so we could just close the door and not go anywhere while we waited to see what happened next or if we developed symptoms.

And then 24 hours before our plan was to kick in, events overtook plans and the entire country was told to go home, isolate themselves from everyone outside the house, and slow the spread of the virus. And since not everyone watches medical twitter or worries for a hobby, this came as a bit of a shock and people resorted to the emergency behaviour that worked for earlier emergencies which had interrupted supply lines (like heavy snow and brexit). Cue heavy demand for toilet paper as the entire nation collectively loses its, well, shit. That’ll pass over a few days as the retail sector proves (becuase few are listening to mere words) that we’ve had two years of worry over brexit and supply lines which led to a lot of increased robustness and buffer sizes, so that’s not going to be a problem. Meanwhile, I can save all my energy to worrying about what happens next, because, y’know, everyone needs a hobby.

The thing is, while this virus is about as dangerous as walking across the motorway unassisted, what we are watching is the certain death of the world we were living in up until Thursday morning (and which has been dying in a wave spreading out from Wuhan like a wave for the last five months). This pandemic doesn’t look like it’s going to be a short sprint affair, the nearest vaccine is a year or so out. Sociopathic plans of gaining herd immunity with a live virus aside, we’re stuck with massive disruption until then. That’s going to result in fundamental changes to life as we knew it. Before 9/11, I sat in the jump seat behind the captain of the 737 landing us back in Dublin airport after a flight from the UK, just for asking to do so, and that was normal. After 9/11, asking would get you on a security list or two, if not actually arrested. Even if the pandemic magically stopped right now, it’s already had an impact an order of magnitude larger than 9/11, both in lives and societies and economies. To imagine we’ll go back to the normal we knew last week is somewhat overly optimistic.

As to what actually happens after the entire world gets an object lesson in how the universe doesn’t have any regard for ideology or politics, and how you can’t cut funding from healthcare for decades and still save everyone when a new disease hits (something that climate change was predicted to increase the frequency of some time ago), and how voting in people who aren’t competent to do important jobs can bite you down the line — well, that’s the interesting bit in May you live in Interesting Times, isn’t it?

Good luck everyone. Hope we’re all here in a year laughing at how this thing was a huge overreaction. But for now, I’m staying home.

Sláinte

Hey, at least I can still go to the shed…

BTW, in case you’ve not seen this already:

6 Comments

  1. Now we need the web for home work and distance learning but it will be occupied by Netflix, Youtube, advertising, silly comments and pictures on social media, etc.
    And all this consume more power than the world air travel/transport industry (before the flight cancellations).
    Suddenly we find out that our medical drugs are made in China for short term profit.
    All this because of the “invisible hand” religion.
    Etc.

  2. Mark,

    Well put and what we are all going through. At least you have a functioning government, we are at least 9-10 months away for it to even be possible. The best we can hope for is the Rs use the Bush-Obama model of 2008 and step aside after the elections.

    If my company doesn’t shut down soon I expect to be infected as I work in a small dark box with folks that have traveled the world. It may be time to retire.

    BTW, had to go pick up my meds today, the grocery was a mad house of panic buying. Luckily the pharmacy was separate from the grocery.

    Take care and good luck,

    ken

  3. Netflix and Youtube aren’t the things to worry about, and there’s a lot of capacity on the backbone networks. The main use of capacity is spam, believe it or not. The problem will be corporate VPNs being put under stress, and a huge push to ratchet up privacy-violating things like Zoom’s tracking whether or not you’re watching the window it’s showing in or if you’re reading something in a second window.
    They’ll adapt – we all will – but there may be some disrupted days ahead of us first.

  4. I can tell you Ken, we’re all hunkered down here watching news from the US and the UK and it’s terrifying to watch. Can’t imagine how terrifying it must be to be trying to cope with on the ground. Stay safe lad, this one’s going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

  5. I heard today (20/3/2020) on tv that Netflix was asked by EU Commission to lower the output and Netflix would have accepted.

  6. Yeah, they’ve disabled HD for Netflix and Youtube. No harm really, you don’t notice it most of the time. We made do with lower resolution on broadcast TV for decades than Netflix and Youtube are streaming *after* disabling HD 😀

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