Lockdown Diaries – documenting the surreal

If it isn’t clear already, we have now entered an alternate timeline. Just as we were getting hopeful for the new year, the universe decided to brake hard, turn left and deviate from normal existence; sometime during January 2020. The Twilight Zone may in fact seem a more plausible form of existence compared to current reality. As an example, I invite you to check out this video, “Meanwhile in Amsterdam” – Amsterdam deserted…eerie.

In other news (as I type up this post in fact), Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister just announced he has Covid-19 – I think the first world leader to declare having the virus(?). No one is safe! It’s probably something we probably haven’t fully grasped – this is a unique period of history we are living in. Extraordinary times. And such momentous happenings must be documented. Social media has its place, but it somewhat also misses the mark. Enter the good old fashion diary!

It’s probably something most of us have either never done, or never managed to maintain. Funnily social media has managed to get people to do a diary of sorts through IG Stories and Snap. But it isn’t lasting as the memories disappear after 24 hours. It lacks the permanency of pen and paper. I’ve fleetingly done a diary while travelling, but never had a keen interest in continuing after those trips were complete. I’ll probably also struggle over the coming months with this “Lockdown Diary”, but this site will help as I try to write weekly. That should be easy enough, so much is happening in the wider business, tech, startup and finance. All intertwined and changing everything.

Let’s recap a few highlights from last week – the news that was. The UK has gone into effective lockdown, with the Government having the power to control our ability to move freely. Necessary, yes, but also an unheard of concept. We have given a part of our freedom away. We must take it back once this is over.

Huge economic measures were announced by various countries as we enter the age of “Big Government”. This is a crucial development because it may never disappear. It is the beginning of societal upheaval I described last week. The fickle nature of the US economy was shown as 3.3 million Americans lost their jobs in a single week. I shudder to think how these numbers progress in the coming weeks.

US unemployment chart

Despite this, the market inexplicably bounced for 3 days on a trot. A loss of 3% on the S&P is merely a shrug. Economic theory has been displaced with “virus theory”. Good luck figuring that one out. Spare a thought to the poorer countries who do not have the sort economic levers as more developed economies (Hint to richer countries – help a brother and sister out).

We finally get to the virus itself. America stormed into the global lead with the number of reported cases – overtaking Italy and China. In an ironic move, China has closed its borders to prevent cases entering the country. The burden on health services has also become apparent. Some countries are doing better than others in getting front line staff the equipment they need. The NHS is sadly lacking in this regard. The supply chain simply cannot cope, with a lack of testing as well as PPE. The inevitable consequence is the rising death toll from Covid-19.

Taken from the Guardian – Coronavirus mapped

But we’re still really only at the beginning; our understanding of the virus is still limited – for instance we don’t really know how many people have had the virus (many cases are likely asymptomatic). And the UK is lagging around 2 weeks from Italy, where the so-called peak is meant to be.

We have yet to discuss how it will affect normal working people. Will the damage caused by the economy grinding to a halt kill more people than the virus itself? How many small businesses will become insolvent and unable to restart? Will we see 20% of population unemployed? How many families will lose their homes? Will the burden push people to suicide or damaging mental health?What about students who have lost a year? Just a few questions we will have to answer over the coming months if not years. As I say, societal upheaval.

Let’s break it further down a final time – the daily grind of lockdown. No doubt social distancing isn’t fun, however I’ve been surprisingly busy! The key is getting into a daily rhythm. I finally accepted fate and began discipline on March 21st. In the last week, I’ve been waking up at 07.30 (ish), complete my daily workout in the morning (Les Mills to the rescue) and cracking on with work with set times for lunch etc. and out for my ‘daily walk’ in the afternoon. And yes, I do have work ongoing. Fingers crossed that continues! I’m also not huge on tv watching – I prefer books. In anticipation, I ordered 10 books from Amazon. Entertainment sorted.

The first book I’ve read is The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. The book is set in an alternate past, where an astroid hits Earth in 1952 causing a rapid heating of the planet leading to a need to colonise the Moon and beyond (you can see why I chose with this book…). The focus is on the fallout of such an event and the difficulties for women (and people of colour) becoming astronauts. It’s a well written book and easy to read, however after a very strong start, the book kind of gets bogged down in the middle and the end comes fast. I would have liked more progress. I guess that is where the sequel, The Fated Sky comes in.

So far my lifestyle seems under control. I’ve also been careful with binge eating. Entirely easy to do. Hopefully it continues. It has to, I don’t see us being relieved of lockdown duties for at least another 12 weeks. So we have time. Therefore I urge people to keep a diary of sorts and sharing your thoughts through social media or blogging. It will be fascinating to read different perspectives. Stay safe everyone.

#StayHomeSaveLives

J

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