[dancing] As the End Times approach

This isn't the actual post that @Vile made, sorry old chap, I hijacked all COVID19 chatter and quarantined it here in the Bar.
Obviously the tag is [dancing], cos what else would you do when the End Times are here?. Talking of which, I stole the title from @Dom blog.

Support each other, be kind...

The @Guvnor

VILE: That's fine, I don't mind! ;)
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Rune Priest
I know I am - age and diabetes... One of the reasons we're not going to make it to ConcreteCow tomorrow, I really don't want to run any risks as I'm about to go into year end reporting at work. (Another is that we're both pretty tired - both Paul and I have had heavy colds, and I'm still coughing a bit. It took 10 days for me to stop snivelling, and we've spent several days sorting stuff in the house now the attic is completely boarded out.)
Lucky you - but what do you do when you can't get back home?
Walk - Hong Kong isn't that big! Although we had to acknowledge yesterday (and more so today now that the stiffness has set in) that we are getting past the scrambling-through-bushes-and-over-rocks stage of our lives ...o_O


Rune Priest
Walk - Hong Kong isn't that big! Although we had to acknowledge yesterday (and more so today now that the stiffness has set in) that we are getting past the scrambling-through-bushes-and-over-rocks stage of our lives ...o_O
[:D Yeah, I know what you mean! I'm starting to find this when I go on shopping trips - we went into Cambridge Friday afternoon (as the A14 was going to be shut all weekend again), dropped some bags of loft insulation at Paul's flat, called in at the discount tile place, then did a mammoth shop at Sainsburys... No, I wasn't stockpiling - well, OK, stockpiling things I can't get at the Huntingdon store and I'm not lugging back from London (even if I wanted to take an extended lunch break to get down to The Angel and back). Yesterday, I was tired and had started coughing again (we've both had the heavy cold that's been going around which has left both of us still coughing).


Staff member
It's been a weird week. I've spent large parts of the work side dealing with COVID-19 preparations or the closure of the site which caught fire, including the unpleasantness of redundancy consultations. The ongoing deterioration in my parent's health is approaching another waypoint as well. At home, I've been reading a lot, enjoying the company of the family and catching up on sleep. I've found that the last month-and-a-half is starting to bite from a tiredness perspective, so I've had a few early (for me) beds to try and deal with that. When you're falling asleep mid-page and drop the book (or Kindle!) repeatedly, your body is giving you a hint!

Writing this as someone who has spent the last fortnight diving into government guidance for the coronavirus breakout and turning that into company policy, the last few days feel much more panicked and disorganised. The gov.uk guidance that has been developing logically over the last few weeks - for example, over travel - has suddenly been withdrawn, undermining the work that we've been doing to try to be consistent and ensure that the business can still operate. The armageddon moment for business-as-usual (or business-as-near-to-usual) is if schools are closed; for a manufacturing business, that makes things incredibly difficult. Of course, the health of our people is the most important thing, but we don't have the security that French employers have of knowing that their government will cover salaries if people are sent home.

The panic buying is shocking; Morrisons in Wetherby looks worse than Christmas. Admittedly, their supply chain and on-shelf availability are poor at the best of times, but the two times I've visited this week has seen virtually no detergents, pasta, rice, coffee/tea, tinned food, cleaning agents and toilet rolls. The shelves were bare in large sections. Watching other people's trolleys made me despair; I'm not sure that it's the town's demographic, but it was mainly the elderly shoppers with trolleys full of staples.

If the reports of aiming for 60% infection to develop herd immunity are true, it's a pretty cold decision, and BoJo's talk of many loved ones dying is definitely true. With an estimated death rate between 1% and 3%, that's 360,000 to 1,080,000 extra deaths from the virus (crudely). Now, that may well be an over-estimate, but it's going to be harsh.

Work continues to be all about the aftermath of the fire at Wakefield, but the focus has moved to the site closure and business continuity. Most of the next three weeks will find me sitting in redundancy consultations, which are never pleasant for anyone involved. However, it's really important to me that I be as supportive and sympathetic as I can to the people I talk to.

My mother's health has deteriorated further; my dad is now on four week's respite break as he's not coping well. He's sleep-deprived and struggling to manage with Mum's Parkinsons and associated dementia. It's time to start looking at long-term care options before he kills himself by over-doing it.

I've found solace in reading, and seem to have started an impromptu Iain M. Banks re-read on impulse. Time with Jill and the lads is also great; Jill's on the mend from a very nasty bacterial chest infection, which is good news. I also found myself diving deep into the Marillion back catalogue; mainly the material that has been recorded after Fish left (which I prefer), and especially the albums which I haven't listened to as much.

Nathan seems to be developing a really interesting taste in music; The Killers, NIN, Bring me the Horizon and Pet Shop Boys have all featured recently. I'm glad he's developing a broad taste in music.

I'm on an unplanned gaming break at the moment; Curse of Strahd finished for the time being and a gap until Graham restarts Coriolis. Jag has also had to put a gap in the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4e game we're playing to the end of March. I'm playing around with using Sly Flourish's Ruins of the Grendleroot as a taster campaign for the lads over the Easter Holidays. I fear that the various conventions that I was planning to attend won't survive the COVID-19 epidemic; as an organiser, I'm watching advice closely.

But I'm here, I'm healthy and mostly happy.

15 March 2020

Continue reading...


Rune Priest
I'm fortunate I can work from home (for certain packages - to get my full desktop I need either a new work laptop or a piece of software that allows me to access the VPN using my current work laptop). Paul has to sort himself as his RSA(?) key has expired so he can work from home. Travel is going to be interesting - Paul has a 45-minute bus commute which gets very packed, my commute is about 1:45 using car and 2 (or 3) trains. The mainline service starts filling up from Hitchen, the Moorgate service is sardines in the morning, and less of a problem in the evening, but the mainline is usually standing room only to Stevenage. (Yeah, I know car but that's 25 minutes from front door to platform 2 versus an hour plus on the bus which goes round the houses and no guarantee I'll catch my train - and I already leave the house by 07:10 and get back by 18:40.) I may try and catch the 07:11 instead of the 07:41 which should help with the crowding on the Moorgate line and allow me to get home earlier.

Given we're about to go into year end, I have a feeling when I'm back at work next week (I've been on leave this week) we're going to be triaging the work plan to see what can be dropped if we have people down. I suspect I will end up halting the development work I've been doing over the past few months; I'm about 2/3rds done. We've sufficient that we can start doing test uploads, but I'm still missing some business areas which are tricky to do and require thought about how and what to include. Of course, the issue with that is catching up later on...

I'll also have to find out what contingency plans the DoH have come up with should councils be short handed - given they're setting up a new submission programme for the statutory returns, this could be interesting. They're going from a pattern of 1st cut submission end May, validation and correction window in June, then final submission mid-end July, to a shorter overall submission with continuous upload and validation to end of June. This means the work plan is condensed already, and if we're short staffed, it's going to be worse. At the moment, I can work on the main return, switch to the finance return while dealing with the validations, then go back to the main return, then start arguing with finance over details in the activity data I'm supplying in August before their final submission in September.

Of course, the fun thing for this year, it's a NFI year - I have 2 extra data sets to produce during September, both of which are a PITA to do as they require a lot of manual checking around addresses. At least the basic pool data is easy enough to get.

Another issue is that I fully expect Paul's Mum won't be going home after Easter... She's invited herself to stay over Easter, and the way things are going we may bring her to us earlier just so she's not on her own should the government lock down the elderly.


Staff member
The thing that is scary with this is that the reduction in public services has led to contingency plans relying on adjacent councils etc. and the capacity is not there if everywhere is affected. Hence the plan to go for an extended lower peak of cases makes sense, albeit that there is a human cost for this.


Rune Priest
Well, Cambridgeshire's got cases, and so has Islington... I'll know more when I log in tomorrow. My problem is the long commute - I usually leave the house before I'd get any text not to come in, so I'll have to discuss with my manager. I'm already working at home 2 days, this may be extended to 4 or 5. Most of what I do is not particularly collaborative, so we'll have to see.

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
Life just sort of carries on for me for now. On my two train commute at a much quieter tributary station. Sheffield to come and then up to Leeds. Whilst I had my non working Friday, people just plastered my calendar full of sequential one hour meetings. Part of today's game will have to be avoiding or minimising the impact of them on any actual work I wanted to do.

Business as usual in that sense. The seriousness of the situation is not lost on me or probably those travelling around me.

I would rather have worked from home. The girls feel that the boys are a risk, as I go out into the great semi-washed and my son heads off to school.

Beautiful, bright and crisp, Spring morning.


Staff member
In a break from consultations for the whole day. Probably the worst risk I have this week, but it needs to be done properly and respectfully. We’re not shaking hands and we’re sitting offset from each other.

Life goes on.
I'm hoping things return to normal for you lot in Blighty soon. This part of the world is starting to calm down.

We had all the panic-buying, everyone here wears masks all the time (even I have started, to placate everyone else), schools are closed, lots of working from home. But all new cases these days are people returning from overseas, people are gradually returning to normal, and of course the shops have caught up and are fully stocked (over-stocked on toilet paper and hand sanitiser, in fact). I don't think schools will re-open this semester, but that's fine for my programme - we have been teaching online ever since the local paramilitary police made public transport unsafe for students during the pro-democracy protests last year. However, we are back on campus - I don't think upper management likes us out of their sight. When most of us are more annoyed about going to the office than upset about working from home, things must be getting back on track.
Where are you based? I think the biggest problem is with the media - when they constantly show people wearing masks and empty shelves it just makes people panic. They should be pointing out that a vast majority of people don't die from it...

Seems to me that the mortality rate is going to be way lower than being given at the moment - we know how many people died, what we don't know is how many people had it and didn't report it or didn't even notice they had it. I would expect that number to at least be equal to the reported cases.
Oh you and your well reasoned arguments! Doesn't sell papers though.
I do get a warped sense of pleasure at the notion of the Daily Mail editorial meeting realising that if they scare the shit out of too many oldies with their fear-mongering crap, they'll end up losing a chunk of their core readership.
Well I'm glad you think they were well-reasoned arguments (I hope)! I'm not sure there is any complete bollocks the DM could publish that would make their readers actually think about stuff like that - it's all more "nod and agree" without any thought being involved on the part of the reader.

I was in our local shop yesterday and in the inevitable conversation about loo roll, someone suggested that the Telegraph was a good substitute. I pointed out that I had standards (sic) about what I'd even wipe my bottom with...


The Guvnor
Staff member
It is true that reported versus actual cases is influenced by testing and reporting. That's why WHO advises mass random testing as well as testing for clinical reasons.

However it's not improbable that this has a 1% mortality rate in those who get it but that's an estimate by people better qualified by me. It has a much higher infection rate since we have no immunity to it. Estimates suggest 60-70% of people exposed to it will get it. Of those who get it 20-30% will need intensive care. 5% of those who get it will need respirators.

Imperial College modelled last week's Govt. plans and predicted 260,000 deaths in the UK. The near total shutdown Johnson switched to today was modelled to suggest circa 20,000 deaths.

So, I suggest we all wash our hands, elbow bump, work from home if we can, and thank every single one of the front line workers who will expose themselves to the virus every day for us.