CORONAVIRUS in Canterbury
We hope that you are keeping well and we wish you all the best as lock-down persists. This is our tenth Coronavirus edition. Some of our readers have found their muse and so we now publish our second poem. Jan Pahl suggests a bus-related competition. We are expanding and experimenting as we go along.This time we start with a few short pieces, then go to the news and finish with two comments. One issue for all of us to consider is how we rebuild our community — and we would like to receive short piec-es (100 to 300 words) from anyone wanting to write.
CASES in the area
One of the big questions for all of us is when we hit the peak for Covid19 hospital deaths in East Kent. This issue is important when we consider phasing out the lockdown (and whether it might be done with regional variations). Are we on a par with NHS England which says the peak in England was on 8 April? On that day there were 855 hospital deaths in England (according to the 25 April stats). Kent has been a slow climber up the stats tables, and has reached the place where no (upper tier) local authority wants to be, 1st place by number of recorded cases. But Kent is the most populous county in England so, on a per capita basis, our position will be better than it sounds. Also, East Kent — at the end of the railway track — is less exposed than the commuter land of West Kent. In the East Kent Hospitals Trust, the total deaths amount to 151. The first occurred on 22 March. The peak points have (according to current records) been five days when there were 9 each — April 6,7, 8, 12 and 13. There were, however, 7 on 22 April (and that could rise to another peak — as deaths are included only when families know, and that can take several days).
By comparison, another Trust with roughly similar overall stats to ours is Portsmouth (175 in total). Its daily changes are more erratic than ours, and peaked on April 8, 9 and 11 (with 11, 11 and 12 deaths respectively).
By the River Stour (1); by Bev Paton
I have always appreciated the wonderful view of the River Stour in front of my house, now it is a source of much joy during these long hours of lock-down. I start the day with a walk along the river with my beloved, old dog, Skye who is delighted that I now have the time to indulge his greatest hob-by - sniffing every blade of grass on the way! He is less delighted by my new hobby of chasing butterflies with my camera - with very little success! There seem to be a large number of orange-tip butterflies this spring. The good news is that there is very little litter now that we are all staying at home! (Part 2 in the next issue)
Just wash those hands; by Diana Holbrook
Palm olive green soap
Will help you to cope
With washing your hands very often.
With its charming perfume
Your skin will resume
Its health, and will rapidly soften.
However, 'tis true
The veins still stand blue,
The wrinkles persist
And all add to the list
of evidence clear
(including one's hair)
Of a life of work done
Battles fought, lost or won,
Those hands are still there
— Whatever their state.
Wherever our fate.
So, while Covid Nineteen
(so cruel it has been)
Continues to ravage
And it's terribly savage
As a new epidemic —
And ongoing pandemic,
Spreading throughout all our lands,
Though dry skin not nice
You should take the advice
and remember you must
take the action on trust,
WASH THOSE DAMNED HANDS
Reflections on lost socialising; by Anon
Most of all we miss our contact with people. It’s a joy when we meet someone on the street. And a huge deprivation is not going to the Cathe-dral anymore. But watching the Dean’s services — in his garden with the birds sometimes drowning him out — is such a comfort and joy. We now have acres of time that we are not used to dealing with. We don't have a television but we have started to watch a series on the iPlayer — a series called The Crown. We used to get up very early. Now we are going to bed rather late.
Is this the best Bus Stop in Kent? by Jan Pahl
Walking through Harbledown today I came across this bus stop. Seeing it adorned with blossoms of clematis and lilac, I wondered whether this could be the prettiest bus stop in Kent? The current situation is showing us how pleasant it is to have cleaner air and fewer traffic jams. In the future encouraging bus travel will help to reduce air pollution and congestion in our towns and cities. But it also be important to improve bus stops — a crucial part of any bus service. This one in Harbledown seems to have everything needed for a really good bus stop — a seat to rest on, a roof to keep off the rain, a bin for rubbish and a timetable. Could it perhaps be, not only the prettiest bus stop in Kent, but also the Best Bus Stop? What do you think? Shall we run a competition with nominations and a prize?
Canterbury City Council
Like the Westminster government, CCC is expected to slim down in terms of committees and go virtual. Council meetings would take place through Google Meet and be transmitted on YouTube. A Business Continuity Com-mittee would take over the work of the Full Council and the committees on Community, Regeneration & Property Committee and Policy & Re-sources. The Planning and Licensing Committees would become virtual — and there are discussions about how members of the public can partic-ipate. The Westgate by-election is expected to be postponed until 13 May 2021, and the Mayor would also stay in post until then.
Two extra black sacks on the rubbish
For the next two weeks (starting Monday, 27th, ending 11 May), house-holds can put out two extra black bags at their weekly collection — an ar-rangement that could be extended if needs be. More deliveries are being made, and CCC is trying to help residents dispose of extra waste.
Hospital visits drop by half
The Kent & Canterbury is encouraging people with medical issues to seek help after recording a near 50 per cent drop of people attending our emer-gency departments with cardiac symptoms. Consultant cardiologist Paula Mota said: “We are continuing to provide the same emergency service for people with suspected heart attacks, and we are working to keep every-one safe, so we do encourage people to seek help if they need it.”
Future testing centres
We are trying to find out where the Covid19 testing centres are to be locat-ed. We understand that Estuary View in Whitstable is under consideration as a possible spot. The major hospitals are obvious potential locations as well.
“This is really important,” says Cllr Ida Linfield (Kent County Council), pointing us towards the advice being given by Kent Trading Standards on coronavirus-related scams. These include dodgy miracle cures, people masquerading as home cleaners and healthcare workers offering home-testing.
Multi Storey Car Park stays closed until summer
The multi-storey car park at Canterbury West is to stay closed at least un-til July. Along with Rosemary Lane, Caste Street multi-storey, Longport and St Radigunds, it is one of five car parks which are being shut for three months (and maybe longer, depending on the nature of the lockdown). The three Park & Ride sides are also shut.
Food Bank — funds continue to come in
We asked Trustee Peter Taylor-Gooby to comment on the public re-sponse to the emergency appeal. He writes: “So much that is dark and grim surrounds us, but there is also much to celebrate: the astonishing gener-osity to the most vulnerable, demonstrated in the success of Canterbury Food Bank’s current appeal, the neighbourliness of those who shop for acquaintances who cannot go out, the appreciation of low-paid and often insecure workers carers, delivery drivers, shop assistants and all those in the NHS, and the heroism of nurses and doctors and care-workers who take on all the risks of close contact with the disease. How can we go back to the divided world Before Covid, where mounting inequality, street homelessness and food poverty were tolerated as normal?
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There are two ways to receive the Canterbury News. You can support us and join the Society (for a minimum of £15 a year). Or you can simply register to receive the Canterbury News, without paying. In the difficult times that we are now living through we are keen to ensure that people who cannot afford to join still receive the mailing. But everything at the Canterbury Society is done by unpaid volunteers and we need funds to pay for insurance, leaf-lets, the website and other items. We would encourage people to support us by joining where they can do that. We hope to expand our coverage — and can do so more easily on a better financial basis.
Clapping for care workers by Moe Dodson
One of the positives that has emerged from this 'corona crisis' is the ap-preciation that politicians have expressed for essential work and those who carry it out. In particular so-called 'health care workers', which in-cludes everyone from those who clean hospital floors and surfaces to Consultant Surgeons. But let us not forget others: those who stack shelves; who work in the food-producing fields; who deliver goods to our doors, either by motor-vehicle or by push bike; those who work in facto-ries to produce essential goods and tools. Those who clean our streets and take away our waste. These and so many others who are 'forgotten' by politicians during normal times. These are those whom the great Paki-stani poet Faiz praised in one of the most beautiful poems written during the 20th Century. So let us clap by all means every day for the health care workers. But also for the shelvers in warehouses and shops, the assem-bly line workers in factories; the agricultural workers who produce our food. If the Corona virus is as deadly as they claim, then these who have to work every day to keep us alive also deserve our praise, but more; they deserve a decent living wage, job security, a good pension, and institution-al respect; none of which they get in 'normal times'. Clap, yes, but also demand from our 'leaders' that they attend to these people seriously. But perhaps we should also attend to what Geoff Meaden said in the last is-sue: that we need to rethink the kind of society we want to live in?
Moe Dodson has worked as a former hospital health worker
Climate Change: the next big Crisis by John Walker
When I was out on my permitted daily exercise the other day I was reading Greta Thunberg's Climate Change Speech to the UK Parliament on 23rd April 2019 — exactly a year to the day! It’s a real alarm call to our politi-cians at both national and local level to wake up to what is going on with the next big crisis — Climate Change — before it is too late.
It is almost inevitable now that the next major international crisis will start in 2030 when the consequences of putting off urgent action on Climate Change will start coming home to roost. The consequences for the world economy and for the survival of human beings on the planet could make the Coronavirus pandemic seem like a tea party by comparison.
Greta Thunberg put this most powerfully in her speech to the UK Parliament on 23rd April 2019 calling for politicians to act now before it’s too late.