Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Corona Virus COVID-19 Government Not Helping.

I saw the other day that if Coronoa virus does spread and people suspect they have the virus, then they should self-isolate and stay indoors and reduce or eliminate contact with others.

For working people the problem is many companies don't pay sick pay. So what do you do?

Do you self-isolate for two weeks and lose two week's pay (and possibly end up not paying rent or mortgage for that month), or do you carry on working and risk spreading the virus to your work mates and their families?

If the risk to health is so grave, the Government really need to step in and underwrite the lost wages of those genuinely suffering from Corona infection. Better to state now that Government will pay people to stay at home and will compensate companies so that they can pay the wages of workers having to isolate themselves.

Spurious claims can quickly be eliminated because the test can be done quickly on anyone presenting flu-like symptoms. Basically you get flu, phone 111, they send out a team to test and then 2 or 3 days later you get the nod to crack on and go back to work or to self-isolate.

The bad news is you've probably infected a bunch of close contacts already, but at least the spread is contained and not increased.

But I know if people know they will lose pay, they will continue to go into work.

This is especially true of retail workers who are amongst the lowest paid and worst protected regarding sick pay. They will be amongst the workers only just staying above water and paying the monthly bills. They will not have any savings able to carry them over a month or two of isolation. The infection rating of a COVID-19 carrying shop worker is way over the standard. They have the ability to infect a huge number of people.

Shop workers may be the worst infection risk, but then Nurses and Care workers have regular contact with very poorly people: the people most at risk of dying from a COVID-19 infection. And care workers, again are not paid sick pay and are low paid, sop they are also likely to work from month-to-month and just about pay the bills.

As I stated earlier, IF this outbreak and it's repercussions in terms of infection and mortality, then the Government need to be proactive and make sure those infected people stay away from the rest of us.

Better a Government support scheme than the images coming out of China of people being dragged kicking and screaming to plague wards.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Boeing 737 Max: A 'Plane Made by People That Don't Know How to Make 'Planes?

After the two crashes of the 737 Max and it's subsequent grounding, it would only be right and proper that the FAA do due diligence and go over the aircraft with a critical eye.
After all, was there anything else along with the MCAS system that Boeing slipped past the regulators?

Well, it seems the FAA are unhappy with a number of aspects of the 737 Max. Obviously MCAS itself appears poorly implemented, but the modifications to MCAS threw up other issues with the flight control software systems.

Now it appears the FAA have concerns about the routing of wiring within the aircraft. Given that the 737 is design that has been made since the 60's, how have Boeing not just routed wiring in the same old locations?

The more that comes out about the 737 Max, the more it appears there were several departures from previous 737 iterations. Yet Boeing is on record making out that the Max is just the same or as similar as possible to previous versions.

It makes you wonder if the people involved in the 737 Max project had any experience with the previous models. Did Boeing sack everyone and put new inexperienced team on the job? Did the team have any experience in making an aircraft before? What seems certain is that there are many aspects of the 737 Max that the FAA weren't aware of and are unhappy with now they are coming to light.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) Update

So Novel Corona Virus (2019) has an official title now: COVID-19. Not as snappy as NCoV but hey, officialdom isn't renown for it's snappiness...

So, an update: The Southampton school was deep-disinfected because some kids had a cold when they came back from Singapore. Fair play, better safe then sorry.

Mr Super-spreader has been given the all-clear and sent home. He's no longer infectious. Hopefully.

There's a prisoner in Bullingdon jail that is suspected of having the virus after being shipped over from Thailand. We'll see how that pans out.

A bunch of people (apparently foreign tourists) in London are in isolation at St. Thomas' after having flu-like symptoms after coming back from the far East.

So, thankfully it appears the UK is on top of the situation.

Thankfully we closed down direct flights from China some days ago. I was surprised to see a video that insinuated that the USA hadn't closed down air links to China. A bad move, considering anyone can walk through the border without symptoms but still be carrying the virus.

Even indirect flights might be a risk as it's a way of subverting the bio-security afforded by the closure of direct links.

I've actually got a car part coming from Hong Kong. Hopefully it'll be in the post long enough so the virus won't be a risk factor. ;-) Maybe I'll give it a wipe with a disinfectant wipe, just in case...

But hopefully as we reach the limits of the quarantine/incubation period, the UK will emerge COVID-19 clear.

Then we just nuke China... sorry, I mean hopefully the Chinese can get on top of the virus and get back to normality.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

The Gamechanger: Novel Corona Virus.

The New infectious disease, the Novel Corona Virus that originated in the Wuhan region of China, is a real gamechanger amongst infectious diseases.

The more we hear about it, the more it seems the "precautions" advised by the World Health Organisation and the various foreign governments are following the curve, rather than ahead of it.

Standard procedures for this sort of thing used in the past for the SARS and MARS outbreaks don't work with NCoV.

Both SARS and MARS weren't infectious until symptoms emerged. That's why an effective method of spotting infected cases at airports and the like was to use temperature sensors.

The first scary thing with NCoV is that those sort of checks don't work with NCoV. Patients are without symptoms (asymptomatic) and still infectious. So a carrier can walk around without a temperature, or a cough or any other symptoms and still spread the virus.

That means the virus is hard to contain. If it's spread without symptoms, ANYONE could be a carrier no matter how healthy they look or feel. The only way to contain it is to contain and isolate the area of the outbreak.

For cases that arrive in new countries, the only effective way to contain the virus is to close down the area around the cases and let the virus run it's course. The current practice of taking patients to hospitals outside the infected area is bad. Believe me, it's very bad. You just end up creating new hotspots.

Travel into and out of infected areas should be stopped.

In the UK we've already seen how a person can pick up the virus in an area away from the initial outbreak (in this case Singapore), then flew to France (possibly infecting a new bunch of people on that flight), he then stopped off in France infecting a whole ski-chalet's worth of people, one of whom flew back to Spain (again possibly infecting a flight's worth of people). The Brit then climbed aboard an EasyJet flight back to the UK, most likely infecting another bunch of people because by now we know he was infectious from the cases in France.

The Brit then infected another person in the UK. There's now a link with a Doctor's surgery in Brighton and a school in Southampton. The details are sketchy at the moment, but if this is true, then the virus is already out in the wild in the UK. We may never isolate the virus or stop it from spreading. Not without drastic measures.

But even if this person infected 10, 20, 30 or even a hundred people on the flights he took between countries and then infected a bunch more wherever he landed, this UK case proves the infectious nature of the virus. The WHO infection rating of 2-3 is way off the mark. How many other people will these new infections go on to infect?

The second scary thing about NCoV is that if you are infected and survive, unlike the flu, you don't get immunity. China has already reported instances of re-infection. Whether this is just people with colds wrongly diagnosed as NCoV sufferers going on to contract NCo after being dragged onto plague wards with NCoV sufferers, or whether it truly is re-infectious we have yet to really confirm. But governments should be treating it like it is. The best defence is not to get infected, so isolation of infected areas needs to happen and happen quick.

The thing is, if the virus is re-infectious and kills off a small percentage of it's victims. You can be in the first wave and survive, a small percentage dies. In the second wave of re-infections, another small percentage dies off. But if you don't get immunity from previous infection, that cycle continues until there is no-one to infect. EVERYONE DIES FROM NCoV EVENTUALLY.

The third scary thing about NCoV is (and it is only supposition at the moment), but if satellite pictures coming out of Wuhan are correct, there is a chance that even dead bodies are infectious. It seems that China may now be burning dead bodies  on a large scale. This suggest that even dead bodies are not safe to handle and the only way to "sterilise" them is to burn them.

That suggests the virus can live without the host being alive for some time. A very scary thought.

Not only for the management of the bodies of victims, but also for the spread of the virus. If it can live on without a live host, then it can live on door handles and other public surfaces for some time and be passed onto people without direct contact.

The Final scary thing is the incubation period seems to be very long. Initially it was thought to be 12-14 days before patients exhibited symptoms. But reports suggest that patients can actually go as long as 24 days without exhibiting symptoms but still be infectious. So in China, patient that had been released from quarantine after not exhibiting symptoms, went on to not only become symptomatic, but also infect any close contacts at the same time.

The more information we get about NCoV the more scary it gets. The more it seems a very efficient virus. Spreading easily, hardy enough to infect without direct contact and able to re-infect. Fatal in a small number of cases, but with the ability to re-infect ad-infinitum and chip away at the numbers of victims until there are no hosts left.

The amazing thing is I see no action from governments to get a handle on the problem. Right now, the situation is fluid and the more we hear about NCoV, the more it seems the "standard" precautions are inadequate.

If I was an isolated country with no cases, somewhere like Iceland, I'd close the borders now. No-one in or out. No flights, no boats, nothing. If necessary for up to 6 months. Let the rest of the world find out how infectious the disease is and how deadly it is.

For the rest of us, well only time will tell. Hopefully on one of the waves of infection the virus will mutate into a harmless version, or possibly it mutates into a version that allows our immune system to recognise the virus and create some immunity.

Without it and without some pretty serious quarantine measures, we are pretty much toast.

We certainly need to get some truthful and open information from the Chinese authorities about numbers of infections, mortality rates, infection rating, re-infections rates, incubation period, longevity out of the body and other information about the virus, otherwise how could we hope to ever contain it. W eneed to be ahead of the information curve, not behind it.

A final note is about the conspiracy theories about NCoV, especially the rumours about it being a Bioweapon accidentally released. It has all the hallmarks of one: being hard to spot, hard to contain, highly infectious, hardy and finally fatal. But a natural-occurring virus transferring between species also has the same traits.

Normally a virus doesn't kill it's host and probably in the original carrier (Supposedly Bats) and probably in the host organism it doesn't kill them all off. But when transferring to humans, there is no such guarantee. The virus could wipe out this new host quite easily, unless it has the chance to mutate into a less deadly version, or something happens to trigger our immune system to fight it off.

It's not necessarily the trait of a bioweapon, just the risk you take when you transfer a disease from one host to another. Bad animal husbandry is a very effective way to initiate this transfer between species. Just remember that the next time you eat one of your eggs from a battery hen...


Doing a mental exercise here: just think if the Government gave out advice to anyone in contact with an NCoV carrier to self-quarantine. Who would pay their wages while they were waiting the two weeks or a month to see if they had contracted the virus? How would the government stop or encourage people to stay indoors?

Given the severity of the virus and the infectious nature, surely another step for the government would be to underwrite any loss in pay and/or benefits for those that had to self-quarantine?

Otherwise people will just go to work as normal.

Friday, 7 February 2020

The Absolute Contempt of The Political Elite.

The contempt of the Political Elite knows no bounds. Here in the UK we had 3 years of the elites trying to overturn the referendum result to leave the EU. Three years in which they used Parliament in league with the speaker of the house John Bercow to try and reverse the Brexit vote.

After seemingly siding with the voting population and enabling article 50. It's almost as if they knew a general election was coming up later in 2017.

However, after enabling article 50 and then saying they would honour the referendum result in the election of 2017, we had attempt after attempt to try and get a second referendum, they tied Parliament up in knots refusing any legislation to leave the EU. Some MPs changed sides or created new parties and basically shat on the voters that put then into Westminster.

We even had non-politicians involving themselves in the political process. Gina Miller used the courts to give MPs a say in the process, which spectacularly backfired on her. She was also involved in the case to prevent the proroguing of Parliament. For 5 extra days. Having won that case, Parliament sat for that extra week and used the time to do sweet F.A. Well worth taxpayers money to defend in court and pay the attendance money to the MPS and Lords.

Parliament for two years was a shambles, brought about by the political elite in the UK refusing to accept the decision of the people. MPs thought they knew better, they thought the people had made the wrong choice.


Of course 2016 had another bombshell popular vote. The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the USA.

And again, the political elites on both sides of the political spectrum in the US were appalled. How could a non-politician be voted into such a position?

Again they thought the people had made the wrong decision. Again they were against the people. Again, they plotted (and continue to plot) to overturn the vote by the people.

Ostensibly led by the Democrats, but not really opposed by the Republican side, there was the initial "Russiagate" investigation. Which came to nothing.

Then when "Russiagate" petered out and no wrongdoing could be found, the Democrats started the impeachment process, with no evidence whatsoever. It was doomed to fail, but  hey, it was worth the Political Suicide of the Democrats. Now the people have seen what desperate measures the political elite will go to in order to overturn popular public decisions. Will the public vote for those politicians in enough numbers next time?

In the UK, ALL the turncoats that changed party or created new parties and shat on their voters in the 2017 election were removed from office. In some cases so badly they lost their deposits. The most famous being Jo Swinson, the Lib-Dem party leader who was very public in saying her party would just ignore the 2016 referendum and just continue to stay in the EU. Wrong move as it turned out.

In the USA, if I was a democrat politician that had been very vocal in trying to overturn the publicly elected President, I would be having sleepless nights. The people might have something to say about your conduct and your attitude to democracy.

Finally the real indicator of the Snooty, stuck-up, condescending attitude of the Political elite was highlighted by Nancy Pelosi's tearing up of Donald Trump's State of the Union speech. A stunt she had planned in advance.

This is a President democratically elected by the people. By tearing up the speech she highlighted her contempt for the democratically elected leader of the US and the office of President. She doesn't care, she just disagrees with the people's choice and nothing else matters. She thinks the people are wrong and she will do everything she can to overturn their decision.

She showed her contempt for the President and the contents of his speech including the praising of those who put their lives on the line in the name of duty, she showed her contempt for the numbers of new jobs created by the President's policies.

She showed her contempt for everything the President stands for and the people that voted for him.

Just like with Brexit, it is not for her, or her fellow politicians to say whether the people of the USA were wrong to vote for Trump or not. It is her job to accept the democratic will of the people and get on with her job. Without contempt or prejudice.

So, 2020 will be interesting. Will the Democrats now accept the will of the people and accept the President is here at least until the next election? Will they try and pull another stunt to remove him from office? Will (as the conspiracy theorists theorise) Donald Trump be assassinated?

Anything is possible in the next 12 months.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Brexit Day.

Well folks, here it is: Brexit day is upon us. As of 11pm tonight, we will no longer be part of the political union of Europe.

So for the next 12 months we should be in regulatory alignment, but politically we will be free.

For this 12 month period, we need to negotiate the sort of Canada++ deal that David Davies was originally working towards before Theresa May and Ollie Robbins threw a spanner in the works at chequers.

Back then I said that if Europe requires regulatory alignment in order for us to trade with them, then there should be an independent standards regulatory body that businesses who wish to trade with Europe sign up to and voluntarily submit to inspections in order to police the standards required to trade with Europe.

So only companies that trade with Europe have to adhere to EU standards for goods and services entering the EU from the UK. It also means that goods and services destined for the EU are guaranteed to comply before they cross the borders, so therefore shouldn't require extensive border checks and if a secure method can be found to transport the goods, no checks should be necessary.

That way businesses that don't need to trade with Europe, don't get saddled with unnecessary beaurocracy.

The regulatory body can either be financed by the companies themselves (as a condition of trading with Europe), or by the UK and EU governments in exchange for tariff-free trade in both directions.

The important thing is the rest of the UK gets on with doing business within our borders and with the rest of the world without EU intervention.

UK fishing grounds need to be for UK fishermen only. If there is no other option, then limited access with small quotas to be granted by licence to a small number of fishermen. Certainly no industrial fish hoovers, no electric stun ships and no Spanish trawlers.

Anyway, as we begin to part ways tonight, I will raise a glass of Russian Vodka. And Coke.

Onwards to a new, independent horizon.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Impeachment: The Democrats Lost the Argument a Long Time Ago.

I rarely comment on US politics, as I don't have the in-depth knowledge or contacts over the pond that allow me too much insight.

But the current impeachment inquiry looks like a busted flush. It looked doomed to fail before Congress decided to embark on the hearsay-laden witchhunt.

Had they quietly ditched the "Russiagate" thing back in 2017 and regrouped to then a couple of years later bring up Ukraine and start impeachment, then they may have had a chance to sway the people. Had they had real, tangible proof.

But three years the Russian thing went on for. Three years and millions of dollars spent, for what? A couple of minor scalps and nothing of substance.

So "Russiagate" fails, and unable to pull Trump down with the economy (up) or jobs (also up) or security (no illegal wars), within months the Ukraine thing emerges. The Democrats hoping above hope that the people would think that "Actually, maybe the Democrats were right, they just got the country wrong". I'm not sure what warped mentality stands in for sense in the Democrat party, but this ain't it.

The people of the US seem to be able to see a party sliding down a cliff clutching at tufts of grass as they slide ever closer to the edge and the inevitable fall.

In the UK, we've have the same with remainers. Unable to comprehend that the people would want something so antithetical to their beliefs, remain MPs and millionaires have attempted to thwart Brexit. Luckily we had an election that knocked the final nail in the coffin. As a people we declared our will and politically punished those that actively worked against us.

In the US, the Democrats are hoping that throwing muddy sod after muddy sod would cling to Trump. But the people are set in their thinking. They like Trump, they can feel the benefits of a better economy, the working class are benefiting from an increased job market. And the people like the fact Trump is attempting to deal with the Chinese issue.

Hopefully 2020 will allow the US people to do as we did in December last year and finally nail the lid of the dissenter's coffin closed. Finally, maybe, the US can move forward.

All I can see until then is the political stagnation and pain that the UK had to endure in the Autumn. We cleaned house. I hope that in November the US can too.

As an addendum, if the Democrats had any sense (which it appears they don't) they would make Tulsi Gabbard their Presidential candidate. She's been clever enough to rise above the cesspit of the "get Trump" mob in the Democrat party and strong enough not get dragged into the mire. She essentially abstained on the impeachment vote and she's strong on defence for defence's sake, not the politicking grandstanding faux defence of the Clintons. Gabbard has shown true leadership when the rest of the Democrat party race to the bottom, with the vote-winning formula of denigrating the President, denigrating the people and denigrating the USA