The big shutdown started today, and as a result the city is the quietest it’s been so far. But then again it is a public holiday, being May 1st, so the roads would be far quieter than normal.
But the skies are blue, birds are tweeting merrily, families and friends are getting together to party or feast at home, and no one I’ve met knows anyone who has yet contracted the flu.
A couple of quick comparisons, based on events I have lived through in the UK. When normal flu has worked its way through the population of Southern England in the past, I have known plenty of people who fell victim. I did myself, twice. The flu is really, really nasty. And since my first bout in 1999, I have laughed at anyone who phoned up sick for work with the flu, only to stroll in the following day with the remnants of a cold. They’re so not the same thing!
As for the shutdown, panic buying and deserted streets. It’s not on the same scale as occured in the UK in 2000 when all the fuel depots were blockaded for a couple of weeksby truckers angry at the hike in fuel tax. It’s not even close. Then, for several days, streets really were deserted and supermarkers genuinely stripped bare. Here, there are still plenty of cars on the roads and supermarkets, as far as I have seen, with plenty of stock to sell.
I was also interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live tonight. Very briefly. More on that tomorrow though. For now I leave you with a scan of the leaflet that is being distributed everywhere…