The Streets of London are paved with……..

Omicron’s sweeping the country at the moment.

There are staff shortages on the Underground, the buses, the hospitals.. one hospital even messaged that if someone needs to get to hospital urgently that they should try and get a friend to drive them there, rather than phoning for an ambulance.

The rubbish hasn’t been collected for I don’t know how long.. maybe once since Christmas?

The recycling bins are overflowing and there is so much rubbish piled up next to the bins all over the pavement that it feels more like some developing world country rather than England.

Despite this Boris Johnson refuses to bring in any new restrictions. Maybe at the back of his mind he’s hoping to create herd immunity by stealth… that was his original intention when this pandemic first started, until the scientists slapped him down.

A week ago, London was the hotspot for Omicron. It was thought that an astonishing one person in ten had it here.

Despite this, there is a remarkable number of people who still don’t wear masks in the shops, on the tube, buses etc. I can only assume these people don’t have access to a television or radio (or a brain). Or maybe they’re giving two fingers to Boris, appalled at the “Do as I say but not as I do” shenanigans of the Tories, now that the papers have got hold of all this stuff about the lockdown parties they’ve been having, whilst telling the public not to visit their dying parents in hospital.

Whatever it is, it’s not good.

They seem to think the number of cases may be reducing now in London, although in other parts of the country it’s still rising.

Before the emergence of Omicron, I remember reading that they had predicted that the number of new Covid cases a day could be down to about 5,000 by Christmas (I think this was October, maybe November.) Well about a week ago, the number of new cases reached around 200,000 in one day. It has since fallen to just over 100'000.

It just shows you never know what’s round the corner.

Being so rampant and so much more transmissible, I do feel it’s just a matter of time before I catch it myself, particularly with unmasked people on buses and trains. Whenever I can, I walk instead of taking public transport. But London being the size it is, that isn’t often an option. I’m amazed I haven’t caught it already, particularly when I read that whilst London was the hotspot of the U.K., Hackney (along with about three other boroughs) was the hotspot of London. It seems the more deprived areas are the ones with highest rates of Covid. Someone might do a sociological study as to why this should be so.

It’s also noticeable that the number of homeless people seems to have increased. A worrying number of shop doorways have people sleeping in them, which must be hell in this cold weather. While waiting at Liverpool Street yesterday, I watched two people digging through the bin in front of me within the first ten minutes. One pulled out a half eaten sandwich, which looked pretty manky to me, but he walked off with it anyway. The second must have found a dribble of coffee left in a disposable cup, as he too trotted off with that.

At half past five this morning, I came across an old fella with a big white beard digging through the rubbish bags chucked out by Pret à Manger. It was so sad, he was in a wretched state. He must have been seventy, and clearly had some mental health issues, as he seemed to be arranging all the empty cups in a row on one of the steps. I gave him a couple of quid, but I’m not even sure he knew what it was. He had loads of plastic bags, full of who knows what.. his life possessions presumably, and as old-school tramps do, he appeared to be wearing all his clothes at the same time. Tragic.

I can’t really see how the country is still functioning — so many people have lost their jobs, so many shops have closed down. It is of course difficult to know what to do — not having restrictions gives people a chance to get on with their lives, but then more people catch Covid, and you’re back to square one.

Well, what will be, will be, I guess.

So no other news really.. it’s cold, grey and miserable here in England, as it always is in January and most people are going into hibernation. Fuel prices are set to surge, and economic hardship is predicted for many.

Not to worry, no doubt we can all convince ourselves that the U.K. is still a great nation and still a world leader, all we need is Boris to do some more of his waving plastic Union Jacks.

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