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Day Thirteen of Lockdown – Comparing Lives and Numbers

02.04.2020

As we get to Day Thirteen of lockdown (it started here on 20 March in its milder form, like it is in most other countries) and yet cases are still on the rise. The tough lockdown here – no shops, supermarkets, bakeries open – started on 24 March and is being lifted today as supermarkets and shops, but not retail bakeries, re-open to one-third of the population, all whose surname begins with a letter from A to F. I will venture out for a few basic things later, hoping the queues may be shorter. With my mask and ID card, of course. 


 All this to say that, even with a lockdown, even with a draconian lockdown in Mauritius for over a week, the spread of the disease seems to take quite a while for the slowing down effect to take place. Yesterday a 20-year-old girl passed away. Today, an Immigration Officer in his 50s.


 Italy, where the epidemic has taken a heavy toll, is in lockdown since 9 March and only now that there is a slowdown in the rate of spread of the disease – a flattening, as they say, of the curve. 


 So, we need stamina for “staying home”.


 And it is not as easy, as we all know, for everyone. 


 We have friends, for example, who have two children under 9 years old who each have a different neurological disease. The family lives in two rooms. So, they have devised all manner of games involving imaginary beings, games that take place in the corridor between the two rooms, to get the children to have exercise – sometimes crawling under a line on the wall and so on. The older one understands the need for “social distancing” but the younger one thinks that, too, is a game. So, he sneaks up and suddenly kisses his Mom or Dad and then cries “virus” and runs away. So, when you feel cooped up, just imagine this family.


 To get back to the comparative figures, though.


 If we take the top six countries in terms of total number of cases, total number of deaths, and cases per million of population, and deaths per million of population, we can see big differences that are not yet easy to understand. Presumably China had a better lockdown than the USA, Italy and Spain? The site that keeps up with this is called “worldometers” and googling it is enough to get there. Here is a glance at part of their table today. Anyway, it’s worth studying a bit.


 Country      Cases        Deaths        Cases per             Deaths per


                                                        1 m pop                1 m pop 


 World       937,170       47,267           120                            6


USA         215,344         5,112            651                          15


Italy         110,574        13,155        1,829                        218


Spain       104,118          9,387        2,227                         201


China        81,554          3,312             57                             2


Germany  77,981             931           931                            11


France      56,989          4,032           873                            62


 P.S. I ventured out to the supermarket at Cascavelle thinking it might be easier there, but was told by police officers outside that the queue was already so long that I would not get in by closing time at 5 pm. It was 1:00 o’clock. I wasn’t sure I believed the policemen so I asked a masked individual packing goods into his car what time he had arrived and he said at 8 a.m. So, I came home. Luckily, on the way home, in Bambous I could still “trase” and get a few vegetables and cans of food for us and the dogs. At Winners, as I drove past, it looked something like Heathrow queues for non-Europe passengers with winding, distance respecting queues bending back on each other.


 Lindsey Collen, for LALIT, a personal view