For the record, as of this morning, we’re at 3.24 million reported Covid-19 cases. Again, this is the total number of all cases ever reported. I really wish Johns Hopkins reported also the current number of active cases. We can look at the newly reported cases per day to get a better picture of the progress. Some countries show improvements, eg. Austria, Australia, New Zealand, or Switzerland, while others not so much yet, eg. USA, UK, Brazil, or Sweden. We still don’t know a lot about countries on continental Africa. Are the numbers low due to testing and reporting? For example, Nigeria and South Africa show increasingly disturbing figures.
The lockdown on our island has been extended once more, from tomorrow 4 May to 1 June. Schools are planned to be closed until 1 August. Some businesses will be allowed to open starting on 15 May, but the announcement on 1 May is somewhat light on specific details which business and shops will open, and in particular what other activities will be allowed. Yesterday’s new item adds some more information – check out the list at the bottom–, but is still no paragon of clarity.
Our local phone application provided this information, however (zoom to read!):
I am aware that the government news items are summaries of what was said during the public announcements, and if the speakers there are not clear and comprehensive, neither will be the summaries. I just wish the official communication was unambiguous, in particular as the rules imposed on us are strict, and breaking the rules can have severe consequences, especially as foreigner.
For me, bottom line, nothing seems to change for the next weeks to come. Shopping maximally twice a week on “my” shopping days, which are Monday and Thursday, else stay at home. Seems I can get a haircut after 15 May, though. We were hoping we could open the Charity Centre soon, but it seems this will not happen during this phase of the lockdown.
The State of Things
The latest case reporting for Mauritius shows positive effects of the lockdown:
We don’t see a new wave of infections even after shopping was allowed again in the first days of April, after the initial phase of the complete lockdown. I still trust the government and their assessment, and can only hope that the impact on the economy in general, but in particular on the day-to-day livelihood of small businesses and employees gets sufficient consideration. The government does not give any specific information and figures about this topic that I can find.
Maybe the current measures are a tad too strict. For example, why are individual sport activities not allowed? Then again, if I put myself into the shoes of the ones having to make these decisions, I’d probably err on the side of caution as well. And set-up a systematic framework to steer the country out of the emergency measures into a balanced situation that can be sustained for months and even years.
A lot has been written about the “heroes on the frontline” of the pandemic. In some countries – not here, though – people join to clap their hands for them. I think that’s stupid. Why? Because it’s just a cheap excuse to not actually appreciate the work of these frontline workers, from healthcare professionals to delivery personnel to the people stocking the shelves. Or an excuse to insist on that stupid next-day delivery from Amazon.
People join to clap to soothe their own stressed minds. It’s much easier and cheaper than actually paying the “heroes” appropriate salaries, and providing good working conditions. And having done so before. You will see this very clearly when some sort of normalcy kicks in again: the “heroes” will be forgotten, and be back to their underpaid jobs as if nothing has happened.
I admire the frontline workers a lot, and I am very grateful that they are there for me and my compatriots. But I am pretty sure many of them do not elect to be there voluntarily, to be “heroes”, but are at work, risking their lives, because of their personal economic pressure to earn an underpaid livelihood.
In the same vein, there’s a lot of talk about how this pandemic has shown us the real values, and will make us rethink society, in whatever dimensions. No, I don’t think so. I would be very surprised if anything significant changes, globally and locally. First, humans have short memories, in particular with respect to the suffering of others far away from their personal lives. Second, with all the economic havoc, there will be no money made available to improve societies to the benefit of the weak. Note my choice of words: money made available – as before, the required riches exist in many countries, but not for this purpose.