Day 49 – Evening Gardening

It being Tuesday I spent most of the day at the desk in out bedroom while Tracy did things downstairs with Lucy. Alexander mostly just did his schoolwork without input.

Probably the most interesting thing that happened all day was that when Tracy got up there was a police officer speaking to two young women on the green outside. They wandered off down the side of the street about half eight. The police care stayed there for about another two hours or so. No idea what was going on.


Work was lot of reading about international comparisons on coming out of lockdown and analysing the UK stats to work out how long it might last given the tests announced. It took almost all day, and a handful of meetings and a tidy up of my inbox before my five day weekend kept me busy until six.

Evening Gardening

Today’s exercise was working in the garden after dinner. Alexander came out with me and between us we planted half a dozen plants in the front garden. Alexander dug the holes and I put the plants in.

When we finished that we went round the back garden. Alexander used the loppers and a rather blunt handsaw to make some stakes from a tree we cut down a couple of months ago.

While he did that I moved some bricks and some very clay heavy soil. I also walked a couple of concrete slabs to the very back corner of the garden.

Once I got them up there I put the slabs against the fence to protect it from the composting vegetation. I used some of the lumps of clay to make a level line for the bricks. There was a noticeable slope over the couple of metres from the fence to the front of the area selected.

The old shed door was repurposed as the side wall for the new compost heap. I used the two slabs to determine the width, and the door for the depth. The door rested on a line of bricks just to make it a bit taller and relatively horizontal.

Once I got it all in place the stakes that Alexander made were driven in using a 3lb hammer. They’re all about a foot into the ground. I doubt they’ll last a long time, being green wood. But all I need is a couple of years.

Last step was to put the remaining clay on the floor of the compost heap and flatten it down.

Three weeks was never going to be enough

As a country we’ve been in lockdown for almost three weeks. The government said they’d review it after three weeks, which is on Easter Monday.

Why Three Weeks?

Why did the government pick three weeks as the review period?

Well, when you look at how people seem to progress through being infected the vast majority, well over 90%, are no longer infectious after that time. Pretty much everyone that was infected before the lockdown started will have either recovered or died after three weeks.

So three weeks in what you think you should be seeing, if the lockdown has worked, are the people that lived with those that were infected before the lockdown developing symptoms. They’ll also be passing it onto the people they come into contact with, but far fewer than before.

What you see isn’t what you get

However there’s a time lag in there, and we’ve only tested people admitted to hospital. So there are a load of people infected before lockdown that only get tested 7-10 days after they develop symptoms at the point they get admitted to hospital. Symptoms start about 5-7 days after they were infected. So overall the people being tested in hospital were infected 12-17 days earlier.

From the published stats, there seems to be up to a three to four day lag in processing tests, especially over a weekend. So today’s reported new cases were probably infected between 2-3 weeks earlier. Before the lockdown in most cases. That’s why it still looks like cases are going up. What we’re reporting today is the pre-lockdown infection rate.

This is apparent in the official estimate of the rate of infection. Before the lockdown the estimate was that every infected person passed it on to 3.3 other people. That took us from a 3-4 new cases per day in late February to over 2,000 per day on 26 March. Those also have the 2-3 week delay mentioned above.

The estimate on 31 March, less than a week after the lockdown started, was that it had slowed to between 0.6-0.9 infections. Certainly when you look at the daily increase in confirmed cases the rate of increase starts to slow in mid-March.