History teaches us everything about pandemics

We are living through a major pandemic.

Yesterday the UK ‘reflected’ on its 1 year anniversary of lockdown. This is fact, it’s not fiction. Wishing that it weren’t so changes nothing.

I was thinking back to last spring when I would stare at people wearing masks on public transport, thinking “Oh that’s a bit much!”. On reading news articles that were raising the alarm I brushed it off as media hype, because some information suggested that it was not going to be a global threat.

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1 year on

It is hard to believe that a year has passed since the start of our first lockdown in the United Kingdom, and we’re now in our third which had required the schools to close for about 2 months from the beginning of January.

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3 Vaccines in under a year

We cautiously prepared not to expect any vaccines for at least a year, and that getting them would take even longer.

We now have at least 3 seemingly viable vaccines, with jaw droppping efficacy rates of up to 90%.

One type is based on introducing mRNA into the host, inside a lipid container, where it gets taken up by cells and they then begin to manufacture the spike proteins found on the Covid-19 virus. This stimulates antibody production and Helper T-Cell which attack the virus if it’s present.

The other uses an attenuated form of the virus, and stimulates an immune response.

Having studied Immunology I think this is hugely exciting (I tried something vaguely similar for my thesis at University). As an operational achievement it is also amazing. Probably the biggest public health pandemic initiative since things like Polio.

Science rocks.

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New cat

After resisting for a few years, and then being at home all the time, we finally decided to fulfil our daughter’s dreams by getting a rescue cat. We wanted a pair but the demand is very high at the moment!

Will post some some updates soon, but for now he is in the living room, a little freaked out. We’ve called him Lumi.

The name of the game for the next 4 weeks is ‘containment’ and getting to know each other.

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7 months later

I write this on the day that the USA goes to the polls, after 4 years of having an openly, unapologetically terrible man as the President. I don’t think that the country had been perfect before he took office, but I think removing a leader who gives validation to the very things that hold back humanity would be good.

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Good design is useful

Magnetic Toast Tongs

I love this as an example of great product design – inexpensive, durable, brilliantly thought out to fit a common pain point. The little magnet clips them to your toaster so they’re alway within reach, the tongs feel nice to grip, and perfect for fising out those smaller toasts that dont poke out far enough, or larger items that are a bit stuck.

I’ve used them pretty much everyday since I bought them (actually my kids did whilst on a random shopping spree in Canterbury).

156 days later

Summer is almost over, the weather is turning towards autumn a little bit. I’m sitting at home in my garage, looking at the back garden recovering now from the unusually sustained heatwave we had a few weeks ago. Where there were bare patches and scorched grass and moss, new blades are sprouting up from the seeds I sowed a little over a week ago. The weather has been wet and warm, perfect for a last minute lawn repair.

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3 weeks away

I just returned from holiday, seeing family in Finland. Initially I was really nervous and unsure if going away was a good idea, but it turned out to be a lifesaver.

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