It is 08.00 am on Friday 20 November 2020, eighty-one days from the start of the school year.
The cheery thing to report
Child has responded extremely well to school being her social centre as well as her education centre, more than justifying the need for mum and dad to accept the increased Covid 19 risks of letting her to back to school. She loves it so much, she now wants to go to school on Saturdays and Sundays as well! Not sure if this is a big vote of confidence in her teachers, or for the restoration of her social mental wellbeing.
AND, as for Mum and dad, they have now finally got their act together to handle all the additional ups and downs of the latest school regulations on masks, the additional schoolbag isolation and protection procedures on the assumption that it is an obvious hiding place for Covid 19; and to take comfort from the family decision to extend the in-house lockdown programme at least into the new year, no matter what the French authorities declare. Life feels stable again. It insulates mum and dad from the dreaded fact that we are all now living in a mad, mad, mad Covid 19 infested world.
The not-so-cheery thing to report
The new school year was launched 81 days ago. Time to ask Mr Google the question, ‘How many primary schools in France, and primary school classes, have had to close due to Covid 19?’
What mum and dad thought would be straightforward to find out (easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, as Child would say) turned out to be anything but! Having drawn an absolute blank at their first attempt, they asked for help from their family and friend network. Three days later, some school news at last – not from any official government websites, but, believe or not, from a website for ladies! (www.journaldesfemmes.fr) quoting government sources. The school situation at 20 November was:
These closures and Covid 19 results occurred against the background totals of some 7 million pupils attending around 45,000 French state primary schools across France. So, snapshot figures at a point in time look excellent when the total number of pupils and schools are taken into account.
Mum and dad’s assessment: Looks very encouraging at first glance if one can trust the declared number of school and class closures (???) and big questions around the accuracy of the Covid 19 positive rates, as contested by the teacher unions. Needs more digging!
The French lockdown, 21 days on
Overall, from 3 January to 20 November, there have been 2,017,499 cases and 47,917 deaths in France. The latest daily lockdown results for new confirmed cases and deaths, courtesy of the France WHO dashboard, are as follows:
THE DAILY LOCKDOWN RESULTS FOR NEW CONFIRMED COVID 19
CASES AND DEATHS
|WEEK 1||Oct 31||Nov 1||Nov 2||Nov 3||Nov 4||Nov 5||Nov 6||TOTALS|
|WEEK 2||Nov 7||Nov 8||Nov 9||Nov 10||Nov 11||Nov 12||Nov 13||TOTALS|
|WEEK 3||Nov 14||Nov 15||Nov 16||Nov 17||Nov 18||Nov 19||Nov 20||TOTALS|
New cases: There were over 600,000 new cases in the first 2 weeks of lockdown, and a further 186,191 in week 3
New deaths: There were 11,061 new deaths in the first 3 weeks of lockdown
Mum and dad’s assessment of the numbers: Nothing good in these figures so far. They reinforce the fact that the lockdown started too late and confirms that their personal decision to continue the lockdown into the new year as the correct one. They suspect that the ‘men in charge’ will chicken out of extending the lockdown to provide protection over the Christmas and New Year period, it is too good an opportunity to let it go to waste – ‘C’mon, time to loosen up a bit, just enjoy yourselves, you deserve it, and the economy needs your money!’
Next, let’s look at some pretty graphs to give us all a new dimension to think about
Here are screenshots taken of the France trends in their 14 day Covid 19 cases and death notification rates and their weekly Covid 19 testing data, courtesy of the ECDC tracking programme:
There are a number of interesting features to think about and work out the implications for us all:
Hmm, what’s this then? Two graphs, one measuring the total number of tests carried out, the other measuring the total positive results of these tests – the time periods are the same, the shape of their curves are the same. It is not a giant leap of analysis to suggest that this relationship shows that:
‘if one were to decide to reduce the number of tests being performed, for whatever reason, it would automatically reduce the number of positive results by the same proportion’.
So, the Covid 19 friendly birthday plan is all set, with one big, strange proviso – there must be no rain, snow, thunderstorms, tornados, or the like. First time ever mum and dad have declared the weather is in control of the birthday’s destiny! Better check the horoscopes as well.
All research is suspended until mum and dad’s brains recover from the lockdown stress and there is time to allocate to thinking sensibly and cogently.
Finally, after 81 days of exposure to school, what about Mum and Dad – are they coping?:
It has been another [Yes, they’re coping, and NO, they’re not coping] kind of a week.
The Covid 19 stress bandwagon continues to tease all humans gently and roughly and toughly. The virus clangs, bangs, thumps and cascades its way mercilessly through all the emotional whirlpools of the human psyche as it rides on the spittal winds of human misbehaviour, dances gaily on the surges and hides quietly in the troughs, all the time wallowing like a giant viral hippopotamus in the confused cerebral muddy thinking it has created.Yes, it’s really difficult at times to stay cool under fire from a weapon that can play havoc with your conscious and unconscious nervous system all the time, and kill or maim you at any time.
By John Saunders
World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) & INSPIRIT Creatives UG NGO,
MediaWise and MediaFocusUK
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