31st December 2020
Happy New Year! Have been putting this off for a while. How to sum up such a year? The end of days indeed.
In a nutshell, we have over the months become experts in a new lexicon, and self professed mini-scientists in the making. This pretty much exemplifies how much we collectively as a species has gone through. Dictionary.com interestingly enough made pandemic the word of the year. Why, pray tell? Well, let me light you the way, down a magical mystery path.
Coronavirus – a family of respiratory viruses that are studded by a crown-like (hence corona) surface, that attaches to other cells.
Covid-19 -the name of the beast, dubbed in the month it was found. Coronavirus December 2019. It’s killing millions of people.
Asymptomatic – not having the obvious symptoms of the disease despite having it.
Anti-vaxxers – nutters who don’t believe in vaccinations or see it as a threat. Unbeknownst to us it’s really an injection of microbots that will further enslave us to our reptilian overlords, such as Bill Gates and Hillary Clinton.
Anti-maskers – sociopaths. The stupid.
Antibody test – testing to see whether you have remnants of the disease after overcoming it.
Antigen test – to see whether you currently have it.
Bat soup – apparent evidence China’s cultural practices spread the virus, from a meme in which a Chinese presenter eats bat soup. It was the national dish of Palau in Micronesia, from a travel vlog filmed three years earlier -not a Chinese delicacy. She said it tasted like chicken.
Bleach – Leader of the free world, President Trump’s miracle cure-all to flush out the plague from your veins. That the world’s top scientists had never thought about and was lying undiscovered in everyone’s home. People died taking it.
DNA – the building blocks of life. Like really, really tiny lego.
Genes, genotypes, alleles, epialleles, epigenetics, phenotypes, chromosomes, diploids, heterozygotes, single nucleitide polymorphism, base-pairs – erm, new types of Pokemon.
Epidemic – a major localised disease infecting large amounts of people
Endemic – something we’re stuck with like, all the time.
Pandemic – a disease that circulates globally. The Daily Mail.
Human to human – a transmission type that means we’re fucked.
Doomscrolling – reading through depressing news.
Face mask – the must-have look of 2020.
Flattening the curve -keeping infections spread out over a steady period -and low enough for a health system to accommodate. Aka sombrero flattening.
Frontline workers -came to mean those still working through the pandemic, at risk of their own lives, to keep society functioning. From doctors and nurses, pharmacists and police, to supermarket workers and rubbish collectors.
Herd immunity – whereby so many people within a given population have had the sickness and thus have a certain level of immunity, it spreads less due to a lack of hosts. It then becomes a more low lying threat, similar to flu.
Hydroxychloroquine – the malaria medication suggested as a cure in the early days, touted by President Trump and bought up in its entirety by the US govt. Before they found out morbidity actually rose after taking it, and several people had poisoned themselves too.
ICU – Intensive Care Unit. Big, bulky, expensive equipment and machine needed to save lives. We don’t have enough to cope with a full blown pandemic, anywhere. For a while, along with PPE, they traded as a currency between nations, with some even robbing from each other.
Intubation – the bit where the ICUs are breathing for you, via tubes inserted into your nose and lungs. It marks a serious stage of an illness.
Lockdown – when everyone supports Netflix.
Pangolin -the cute scaly animal that rolls up, and that genomic sequencers found a 99% match for in the virus DNA. In short at some point it passed via bat to pangolin.
Panic buying – the communal spirit in Asda, any day of the week, any time of the year, any year.
Patient Zero – the first person to get the infection.
PPE – Personal Protective Equipment – stuff that keeps you more protected from infection, eg. masks, gloves, sanitiser, goggles.
Rona -our loveable, affectionate name for the infection that’s fucking the world.
Quarantine – a quick GOT re-run.
Racism – the inherent way humans see each other, with kneejerk distrust and superiority, especially when things go wrong, someone feels threatened, competitive or with low self-esteem.
R number – the rate at which the disease spreads. If it’s R1 an infected person on average infects 1 other person. If it’s higher than that (eg R1.3) the number of infected will rise for longer, and spread further. If it’s say R2, expect the number of infections to double (and without measures, start to climb exponentially, doubling again). The R number can chart the rise and fall and rise again of an epidemic.
Second wave – the second uptick in infections, as seen in previous pandemics, following a lull.
Shelter in place – the initial non-panicky, polite way NYC and California advised their citizenry to stay the fuck home, lock down, the shit’s hit the fan.
Social distancing – keeping apart at all times, say 1-2 metres as per government guidelines to lower the risk of infection.
Super spreading / super spreaders – events or individuals that can infect mass amounts of people.
Support bubble – another household or individual we’re allowed to mingle with indoors.
Toilet roll – the new gold. In times of need it’s the last paper-thin membrane remaining before revolution and the breakdown of civilisation.
Travel restrictions – where, when and who can travel to where, when and who. It’s complicated.
Vaccine – the cure-all injected in doses, to make you impervious to the illness. Like Ironman.
Vitamin C, D and I think E – homespun attempts at vaccines before vaccines could come out.
Astro-Zeneca-Oxford, Janssens, Moderna, Novovax, Pfizer, Sinopharm, Sinovac, Sputnik V – names of some of the most popularised vaccine types, often named after their big pharma company, of which 200 are under development.
Vectors/ vector points – areas where the disease more readily spreads. Children.
Ventilator – the medical machine helping people breathe.
WFH – working from home. Some fucker checks up that you do, periodically.
WTF – most of the world in March
Wuhan – a big fucking city in China.
Zoom – our new communication tool, allowing everyone to wfh or socialise.
Only Fans – our new communication tool, allowing everyone to wfh or socialise.
Body Mullet – being presentable for the cam: nice top, nothing underneath. See above.
Zoonotic – an animal to human transmission that defines the type of disease.
This is not to say that other shit didn’t happen round the world. It’s been quite a year.
- Iranian Gen. Souleimani is assassinated by a U.S. drone strike
- UK leaves the EU
- The oil price falls by 30% after failure of the OPEC Deal
- Tokyo Summer Olympics postponed till 2021
- Black Lives Matter protests take hold round the world following the police killing of George Floyd
- Space X executes its first manned flight
- The first manned hyperloop is performed
- Constitutional referendum in Russia nullifies the previous terms of Vladimir Putin
- 2,500 tonns of ammonia detonates in Beirut, killing over 200 and making one third of the city homeless. Massive structural and economic damage
- Belarus presidential elections deemed fraudulent, spark massive months-long civil unrest
- Russian opposition leader Navalny allegedly poisoned by Putin’s agents
- Japan’s Abe retires due to ill health
- China rolls out the Security Laws into Hong Kong, effectively curbing the territory’s freedom of speech
- With Turkey’s aid Azerbaijan reclaims parts of Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia
- Democrat Joe Biden defeats Republican Donald Trump in the US presidential election
- Thailand protests the unassailable power and economic hegemony of the Royal Family
- Ethiopia enters civil war in the Tigray region
- Large scale bushfires lay waste to swathes of Australia, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine and the US
So yeah, happy new year. If anything we should all give ourselves a pat on the back we got through it, as it’s increasingly obvious how pants people are to each other given a chance. What we point a gun at, who we vote for, what we throw our cash at, and our pity. I’m going to try very, very hard not to sound like the Christmas Grinch now and still wish every fucker out there a lovely, restful period from all the slaying and bitching.
Despite the fact London’s usual fireworks extravaganza has been cancelled, the night is alive with a good zillion going off anyway. If ever you get a chance to hang out in a tower block on the night, try and get to the top and see the horizons light up. The neighbourhood’s been booming for a good half hour with people shouting out Happy New Year! and waving from lighted windows, which by British cultural tradition caused us to freeze, then pretend not to have seen them. Some bright spark lit the local skies up with an inordinately expensive display (including the gold shimmery waterfall ones that last for ages), our cue to feel all cosy and light.
This is the toned down, lightshow version from the usual fireworks A-bomb around the London Eye, for what it’s worth. Tomorrow will be the last blog entry for 2020. Joy to the world, fuckers.