Friday, 2nd October, 2020

[Day 200]

As we waking up this morning, we were greeted with the news that had broken overnight that President Trump and his wife had both tested positive for the COVID-10 virus and as the day drew on (and America 6-8 hours behind us woke up) so this news came to dominate all of the news agendas during the day. More of this later on, as shall see. Meanwhile, storm ‘Alex’ swept across the UK making this a wet and blustery day. It was ‘touch and go’ whether Meg decided to accompany me for my morning walk but eventually she did do so, as the weather was spitting rather than raining hard. Even so, having collected our newspapers, the park was deserted and the benches uniformly wet so we had to make do with standing in the bandstand to partake of our coffee. What followed was a typical juggling act as I balanced my rucksack on our little aluminium tripod stool (courtesy of the National Trust) that we take with us every day whilst I manipulated our trusty coffee flask and our daily comestibles. Needless to say, we saw none of our normal contingency of ‘park acquaintances’ and were therefore glad to strike out for home after the briefest of pauses for refreshment. We then pressed on with a fairly early lunch of a bought fish pie (which could well have run foul of the Trade Descriptions Act because the amount of fish compared with potato and cheese was absolutely minute. I only make comment o this because I occasionally make a huge fish pie (which lasts for several meals, once frozen) which generally contains a layer of white fish (such as cod) a layer of yellow fish (smoked haddock), a layer of salmon and a layer pf prawns with a base of potato and topped with mashed potato and some grated cheese. This generally takes quite some making but the result is worth it because it is absolutely streets ahead of any commercially bought alternative.

We needed to have an early lunch because we were due to participate in a long arranged hospital appointment for Meg which was being organised as a Webex video consultation. After a small initial hitch and a couple of telephone calls, we got this link working well and the whole consultation went very well. Even though I say it myself, this consultation was probably longer and more thorough than its alternative face-to-face might have been, so we were pleased that the whole had gone so well at a time when the NHS is under so much pressure, this was well and truly appreciated.

After the consultation had ended, we were glued to the television to see the story about Donald Trump and the positive COVID-19 test was unfolding. Needless to say, as the day had drawn on, so had the analysis of the potential implications. At one point in the afternoon, we knew that Joe Biden had had a test for COVID-19 so the possibility arose that both of the contenders in the presidential race could be infected by COVID-19 and what would happen then? It soon turned out that Joe Biden had tested negative but the analyses continued to flow thick and fast. In fact, Sky News put on a special hour-long programme at 8.00 pm devoted exclusively to an analysis of the developing situation. The President apparently has ‘mild’ symptoms (so had Boris Johnson and most people initially) but after a few days, this can intensify into much worse symptoms or gradually abate – only time will tell. However, the president’s age (74) and his obesity (BMI of more than 30) greatly intensify the risk factors. I must say I succumbed to the temptation to Google in order to discover the risk of dying from COVID-19 for an obese, 74-year-old white American male and was amazed that the risk of death is actually quite small (about 4% only)

The reactions to the news are actually quite interesting but the more restrained reaction seems to be that ‘you shall reap what you sow’. Naturally, the media who have long been pilloried by the Trump camp for purveying ‘fake’ news have relished in putting together in a long sequence some of the quite ridiculous statements that Trump has uttered in the past concerning COVID-19. The Democrats are worried, though, that if Trump only has a mild dose it will add to a ‘Superman’ type of image in which Trump can argue he was right all along and ‘true Americans’ can throw off the virus easily. On the other hand, if Trump were to get the virus really seriously, would this generate a type of perverse sympathy vote for him? The thought did occur to me as well that whatever the political ideology of the president, would anybody be fit to govern for the next four years, given the accumulating evidence of what is now being termed ‘long-COVID’ (i.e. debilitating consequences that persist for a long time after the acute phase is over) Of course, the same argument could be applied to Boris Johnson as well, but that is another story! This story will run and run…