CAN you believe that it is 224 days since the national lockdown was announced? Originally envisaged as a short race of just three weeks (effectively just halfway into April) to get the hospitals ready, but it has turned into a marathon of more than seven months and counting. The government is talking about the threat of a second wave of Covid-19, but many people are disputing this, as the initial dire projections of how badly SA would be affected have not come to pass. Just for comparison, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 came in three “waves” and the second was the most deadly (it was autumn in the northern hemisphere). In 1918, World War 1 was coming to an end and the troops sent into combat in various corners of the world spread the virus far and wide. When the war was over and soldiers were packed into trucks and boats on their way home, the virus spread even further. When they returned home huge elebrations were held with thousands in attendance in most major cities of the world and with no social distancing whatsoever. The end result was more than 50 million people dead. However, Covid-19 is a coronavirus, not influenza, and its fatality rate has been far lower the Spanish Flu, with presentation generally far less severe. And today we know far more about viral infections than we did 100 years ago.
THIS week’s front page story is a reminder to all of us of the rip currents that can pull swimmers away from shore. Swimmers must only swim on beaches where a lifeguard is in attendance. The ocean is a dangerous place and even strong and experienced swimmers avoid areas with rip currents. Safety is a major concern at our beaches and, with the holiday season almost upon us and (fingers crossed) thousands of visitors, we need to be vigilant and cautiously obey the safety rules at beaches.
DON’T forget, Grant Fowlds will be launching his book, Saving the Last Rhino, at the Bob McKenzie Gallery in Wharf Street tonight (Thursday November 5). Fowlds wrote the book on rhino conservation with the help of journalist Graham Spence.
THE Historic Bathurst AGM will be held on December 10 at the Pig and Whistle Inn, starting at 2.20pm. The guest speaker will be Rod Hooper- Box, who will give a talk on The Powder Magazine.
THE main global news story at the time of writing is, of course, the US presidential elections. By the time you read this, the results may already be known. Four years ago, the national polls had Hillary Clinton with a clear lead and Trump trailing by about 10 points. A similar scenario has played out this time, but the circumstances could not be more different. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has lived up to many of his promises, though the results he achieved are contended by his opposition. Many Americans see Trump as a man who has ripped up the old-boys’ government playbook and injected new life into a sorry, worn-out system. The Covid-19 pandemic put paid to many of Trump’s plans this year and the American economy, along with most others around the world, has been devastated. Is a change in government at this time an answer? We will have to wait and see.
HAPPY birthday and good wishes to everyone celebrating such an occasion. Congratulations to Bridget McNeilis, Mary Hechter, Candice Bradfield, Warren Soltz, Mary-Ann Gailey, Bryan Smith, Jamie Edwards, Jean McCowan, Ann Green, Linda Wedderburn, Nriam Farhaher, Yma van Zyl, Connor Bessinger, Hermaine Kritzinger, Kevin Heny, Christopher Green, Karen Marais, Roy Somers, twin brothers – David and Bradley Springer, Hugh Taylor, Gordon Gill, Jenny Wallace, Johannes Roos, Paul Probert, Kerri Katz, Beryl Kemp, Norah Bennett, Moira Schnehage, Cliff Kemp and Jamie Butt.
BEST wishes and congratulations to the following businesses on their anniversaries and may these lead to even more success in the future. Good luck to Andy’s Service Centre and 24-hour Fresh Stop, Volcanik and Sunshine Juice.
THE good news is that, due to a drop in the price in the global oil market, all grades of fuel decreased at midnight on Tuesday, petrol by as much as 27c per litre and the Rand is currently doing well against international currencies. That, unfortunately, is the end of the good news. Our unemployment rate is rising daily despite a report by Stats SA that it dropped from more than 30% to 23% in Q2, but this is a technical issue in the way the unemployed are counted. Those not seeking work are no longer considered unemployed. The true unemployment figure is approaching 40% (38.1% according to BusinesTech) and, for youth under 25 it is approaching 50%. We urgently require a solid and workable economic recovery plan that focusses on the creation of jobs. As far as the currency is concerned, this week has seen some impressive gains. However, as long as the government has pipe-dreams of saving its national airline, bailing out Eskom and other SEOs and allowing top officials to go unpunished (and wasting court time and taxpayer money) we will not recover and we could see austerity measures being imposed on the populace as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic eases. With last year’s figures in brackets for comparison, the rand was trading at R16.10 to the dollar (R14.72), R20.88 to the pound (R18.96), R18.81 to the Euro (R16.38). Commodities such as gold were trading at $1,897.35 per fine ounce ($1,504.36), platinum was trading at $874 per ounce ($953.79) with Brent crude oil at $39.63 per barrel ($62.25).
SPECIAL thoughts and prayers are with all who are not well, having or have already had tests, operations and treatments. Sterkte Roy Potter, Andrew de Vries, Jenny Groenewald, Jan Haig, Bev Young, Fred Golombick and Graeme Sunny Hill.
WEDDING anniversary congratulations to Jan and Elva Niemand, Richard and Carla Hill, Pierre and Lodine Norden, Barry and Anne Hartley, Gunther and Nola Johannsen, Athol and Cynthia Canny, Paul and Stacey Botha, Malcolm and Shirley Evans.
THOUGHT for the week: “To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”
BEST regards as always