How many people have contracted coronavirus? How many have had it and recovered?
The plain fact is that, without the necessary testing kits, no one has the faintest idea. Your guess is as good as mine. Right now, we’re dancing in the dark.
But the answer, my friend, may be flowing round the U-bend. Scientists in Holland have worked out they can calculate the spread of the virus by studying sewage.
Epidemiologists in the Dutch city of Amersfoort are analysing human waste to determine how many people have been infected. Apparently, indications start to appear in excretions up to three days before patients exhibit symptoms. (There’s another one of those sentences I never expected to write.)
Epidemiologists in the Dutch city of Amersfoort are analysing human waste to determine how many people have been infected
If the Dutch trial proves successful, the Germans plan to test 17million samples. The first results could be available in as little as three weeks. Evidence thus gleaned could lead to lockdowns being lifted sooner rather than later.
This could be the breakthrough we’ve been looking for. In the normal course of events, I’d be the first to mock. But we’ve been here before.
Some of you may remember a column I wrote four years ago about an immigration court judge who was convinced there were roughly 1.5million more people living in Britain than the official population figures recorded.
He based his findings on reports from the water industry, telling the Mail on Sunday: ‘The discrepancy between the official figures and what is actually going down the pipes shows there are more than a million more people in London than are legally registered, and another half a million or more outside the capital.’
So why shouldn’t we harness the technology to combat Covid-19? The only problem may be attracting sufficient volunteers to gather the evidence. As a career choice, swimming through sewage which may contain a fatal infection can be filed under What’s The Worst Job You’ve Ever Had?
They’d be like those brave souls sent underwater at Chernobyl on a suicide mission to plug a leak in the nuclear reactor. Still, we keep being told there’s a war on. They could become our generation’s Cockleshell Heroes.
Do we have enough protective equipment? Can the Government run to supplying frogmen’s suits and breathing apparatus, or has it all been snaffled by commuters on the London Underground? Help may be at hand, though.
It has just been announced that because of the coronavirus crisis, the World Bog Snorkelling Championships, scheduled to be held at Llanwrtyd Wells, in Powys, over the August Bank Holiday, may have to be cancelled.
Apparently, indications start to appear in excretions up to three days before patients exhibit symptoms
Britain leads the world in bog snorkelling, so I’m sure contestants would be happy to put their names forward to join the fight against Covid-19. If they can handle a course which runs through 120 yards of filthy water, containing rotting animal corpses, leeches and dead fish, diving into a sewer should be a piece of pickle. Perhaps, too, there is also room for private sector involvement, deploying highly trained operatives from Dyno-Rod.
After all, it was a Dyno-Rod worker who exposed serial killer Dennis Nilsen, in North London. Nilsen was convicted of six counts of murder after his neighbours complained about the smell from the drains. He’d been flushing the remains of his victims down the toilet.
Today, those very drains, Bazalgette’s bequest to a grateful nation, may contain the seeds of our salvation. Now that Boris is happily out of intensive care, this is exactly the kind of challenge which would appeal to him.
I see him plunging head-long into this fight, like his hero, Churchill. We can’t let the Dutch and the Germans beat us to a cure. We shall fight them in the sewers, we shall fight them in the treatment plants…
Locked down in Littlejohn Towers, we’ve been ordering fruit and veg over the internet. I can’t help suspecting, however, that some suppliers are slipping stuff they can’t sell into their mixed boxes.
Otherwise, why would every delivery we’ve received contain an aubergine?
Rip-roaring bonkers David Icke blames Covid-19 on 5G phone masts from China.
Icke has plenty of previous. One of the low-points of my undistinguished TV career involved interviewing Icke, who was then posing as the Son of God and was accompanied by a rather attractive woman (not his wife) whom he claimed was the Daughter of God.
He stormed off the show after I asked him, in all seriousness, why whenever someone like him found religion, there was always a bird involved.
Rip-roaring bonkers David Icke blames Covid-19 on 5G phone masts from China
The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick looks like getting away with retreating to his Herefordshire pile, even though his main home is in London, despite telling the rest of us to stay put.
In mitigation, he does maintain it’s so he can be close to his parents. Still, it’s not a good look. Jenrick and his wife both work in London, where his kids go to school. The Herefordshire drum is just one of Jenrick’s four properties — two in London and a rental in his Nottinghamshire constituency.
It’s currently under renovation, to install a ‘service wing’ and a ‘cupola’. I thought Cupola was the bloke who directed The Godfather.
The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick looks like getting away with retreating to his Herefordshire pile, even though his main home is in London, despite telling the rest of us to stay put
A recently uncovered 121-year-old letter from Florence Nightingale recommends six freshly laid eggs a day for a patient who was ‘very ill indeed’.
I wonder if this miracle cure works for Covid-19, too. Even if it doesn’t, eating half a dozen eggs every day would save you the trouble of having to panic buy toilet rolls.
As well as training with Joe Wicks, you can now do the Daley fitness challenge. I naturally assumed it was the Daley Workout, as pioneered by Arthur Daley, in Minder in 1984.
Turns out it’s something to do with a diver called Tom Daley. Arthur briefly ran a health club, using three women from a local casino as instructors, one of them played by Prince Andrew’s former girlfriend Katie Rabett.
You may know her brother, Rampant. Needless to say, it ended badly.
But I intend to maintain my fitness during this lockdown by following the original Daley Workout, which involves ducking, as well as diving. Large VAT, Dave.
When Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was finally dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, he looked like a cross between Catweazle and Del Boy’s Uncle Albert.
In the end, it was his blatant disregard for personal hygiene which persuaded the South Americans to show him the door. By all accounts, he stank the place to high heaven.
So it is somewhat surprising to learn that while he was holed up there he managed to father two children by Stella Morris, his lawyer. She’s obviously not fussy. Morris has a degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
In what — Ugandan Affairs? While she was taking down his briefs, she was also, er, taking down his briefs, as the Old Bill stood guard outside. You couldn’t make it up.
When Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was finally dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy, he looked like a cross between Catweazle and Del Boy’s Uncle Albert
She’s like those one of those madwomen who get married to mass murderers behind bars. As Paul Bracchi’s marvellous report in yesterday’s Mail revealed, Assange has already cost British taxpayers £13million and counting.
He’s currently languishing in Belmarsh maximum security nick, fighting extradition to America. Is he getting conjugal visits in there, too?
He’s clearly trying to pull a Ronnie Biggs. The runaway Great Train Robber managed to stay in Rio de Janeiro for 36 years because he’d fathered a son by a Brazilian woman.
Are we going to wait until Assange has spawned another couple of kids before we put him on the Last Train To Clarksville?