I’ve got Covid. Although actually, I don’t think I have. The reason I don’t think that is a brilliant illustration of the way the country is run, which seems completely acceptable to the people who voted Johnson an 80-seat majority.
Two days ago my partner started coughing a lot. She said she felt ok apart from that and a mild headache, but kept saying the milk in the fridge was off. It wasn’t. She said her dinner tasted funny too, but as it was what looked like a totally indigestible mound of cauliflower, spinach and broccoli slathered in vegetable soup as no-meat ‘gravy’ I couldn’t quite see how she could tell. A lot of coughing that night. In the morning I had some sneezing and a tiny bit of a sore throat. But it’s November in England. What do you expect?
At school, a thousand years ago where they did pretty much everything differently (oh you know, free school milk, outside lavatories, racism, adults Not Mentioning The War) we’d been told how our noble, brave and diligently Protestant ancestors had shown their superiority over poor benighted Johnny Foreigner by choosing this sceptred isle, where like Goldilock’s porridge, the weather was not too hot and not too cold but just right for inventing spinning jennies, making cigarettes, building railways and all the other glories of the Industrial Revolution. Unlike those poor people who lived in places where it was so hot that all they could do was sit about in the sun all day. The Italians, for example.
Two things struck me about this at the time. Firstly, one of the few Italians we had in Trowbridge was the ice-cream man who had to work on Sundays, so didn’t seem particularly indolent. Neither did Mr Difazzio, scribbling his designs literally on the back of an envelope before translating them into an amazing motorcycle suspension system 30 years ahead of its time. Ah yes but, as a not-particularly bright but extraordinarily pretty girlfriend used to say when she thought she’d borrowed Occam’s razor, but only to do her legs with, that was probably because Mr Difazzio left Italy and moved to Frome. Stands to reason. If he’d never left Italy he’d have had to invent the Gaggia or Lambretta or Vespa or Ferragamo shoes and change the world while sitting in the sun that way. Or something.
All of which is long-hand for ‘when we thought we might have a bit of a cold we weren’t that surprised’ but we did our lateral flow tests from the free kit we’d got from the chemist a month ago and tested. She tested positive, I tested negative.
Obviously, we immediately booked a PCR test and drove off there seeing nobody on the way yesterday lunchtime. it was being held in the open, in a carpark. There were no signs of any kind, just six people standing around in orange or yellow hi-viz jackets. After we’d driven into the exit because no signs and been directed into the enter part, we were given our test packs in coded plastic envelopes handed to me through the driverside window. We both did the test, sealed the plastic envelopes and handed them back.
The first thing that happened was the girl checking off names asked me which pack was whose. As I said, I don’t know the answer to that. But they’re coded, right? There’s a number code on the packet. You know which code was on which bag when you gave it to me, no?
And apparently no. My partner got her email this morning, testing negative, coughing heavily albeit intermittently. I tested positive, with just a bit of a metallic taste in my mouth. We’re 99% certain they mixed the tests up. Because they weren’t coded by name. Because the packets weren’t checked out by name. Because the girl taking the test packets from us didn’t ask us to do the test again to make sure the one positive/one negative result wasn’t a 50:50 blind guess as to whose was whose. Which she obviously did.
A fantastic aid to concentration.
Which is a pretty good illustration of how the Covid epidemic is being handled in the UK. As if by eleven-year-olds who just found the Haribo stash before they did anything.
Today, with no option to say to anyone ” I think you’ve got the wrong test” I’ve had to register all the places and people I’ve seen during the infection window period, which seems to be 10 to do 7 days for me (but NOT me!!!! Her!!) to get it and the past five to three days, counting down, which is apparently when if I had it I was passing it on to people.
We have our own ideas where we could have got it. At one of the places where nobody could be bothered to wear a mask. Or where nobody could be bothered to use the Track and Trace check-in bar code. Where nobody bothers to say “Sorry mate, mask on and check-in please, or you’re not coming in.” I can’t be the only person left in the world who remembers not getting into clubs in London because I had the wrong shoes on, or in different kinds of clubs because I wasn’t wearing a tie.
Another of the more idiotic things about the entire Track and Trace system is that after £27 billion has been spent on it you have to enter your test results manually into the same NHS online system that told you thirty seconds before that you tested positive. Or hadn’t. Why? Nobody knows. I would say apart from Dido Harding, but it’s obvious she doesn’t, or if she does then it’s rude for any media to actually ask her directly.
I don’t think I’ve got it. But I still have to self-isolate and I don’t object to that. I do object, strongly, to a system where everything is done on the nod, on the utterly fatuous assumption that people will ‘do the right thing’ when the Prime Minister can’t be bothered to say what that actually is, when there is clearly one rule for parties if they’re inside Number 10 and another for the peasants outside the gate, when the police are so demonstrably complicit in making sure that nobody in Number 10 is going to face any consequences for breaking any rules whatsoever. And I am disgusted to live in a society where the national broadcaster simply will not even ask the police outside the door how they didn’t know a party was going on inside, given they had to personally allow people in through the door they were pretending to be guarding.
But it doesn’t matter. Eezalarf that Boris, innee? Eez doonis best. Especially with an 80 seat majority and an Opposition that seems determined not to oppose.