Sunday, 16 January 2022

Pandemic diary – weeks 95 & 96

Monday, 3 January 2022
Everything seems to indicate deaths peaked in Poland yesterday, with 7-day average topping out at 466. Ghastly.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022
75% of Warsaw’s residents received at least one dose of a vaccine. Figures are boosted by the recently launched campaign of jabbing children aged 5 – 11. In Ustronie Morskie 75% of residents are fully vaccinated.
In Greece 1 in 206 citizens tested positive.
More than 2 million new cases reported worldwide, therein more than 1 million in the US, the UK and France only. Deaths keep falling so far.

Wednesday, 5 January 2022
Poland’s president, with track record of infection (October 2020), double vaccination (April / May 2021) and a booster (December 2021) is tested positive. I am not fond of conspiracy theories, but would not be shocked if his vaccination certificate was fake. He dislikes needles around his arm, besides he has track record of declarations of being sceptical towards vaccinations.
Konfederacja, a Polish far-right corona-sceptical party has its profile removed from Facebook for spread misinformation on vaccines. The move sparks a debate on limits to freedom of speech.
In France 1 in 197 citizens tested positive.
The United Kingdom hits its high of new infections with 7-day average topping out at 182,069.

Thursday, 6 January 2022
Frankly speaking, I feel the same sense of uncertainty as exactly 22 months ago, in early March 2020. Relying on maths, I expect a disaster when omicron takes over unconstrained in Poland. Too many will pay the ultimate price.
300,000,000 officially reported cases worldwide. I believe the 400,000,000 threshold will be crossed on… 12 February 2022. Let’s see!

Friday, 7 January 2022
There are provinces in Poland such as Mazowieckie and Małopolskie where infections visibly rise week-on-week. Even despite scant testing on bank holiday yesterday.

Saturday, 8 January 2022
In Ireland 1 in 192 citizens tested positive.
Records are getting harder to beat, but once the New Year’s tide ends, schools and businesses resume full-scale operations, in some countries new infections will break out.

Sunday, 9 January 2022
In Warsaw new infections rise by 66% week-on-week, in Kraków by 122%. You may partly put it down to scarce testing on New Year’s Day (i.e. base effect), but the two cities are becoming the first hotbeds of Omicron, which will soon spill over the entire country.

Monday, 10 January 2022
R(t), the reproduction number, inclines in Poland above 1.00, which means the pandemic is taking over again, for good.

Tuesday, 11 January 2022
100,000 deaths from COVID-19 miles a sad milestone of the pandemic. Yet the better measure of the epidemic’s death toll is a number of excess deaths which by now has reached around 170,000.
In France 1 in 178 citizens tested positive.

Wednesday, 12 January 2022
More than 3 million new cases worldwide (3.2 million to be precise), with the United States, India, France, Spain and Italy making up a half of the statistics.
In Poland new infections decline by 2% week-on-week, which is positively startling. Yet the frequency of social interactions was low by 9 January, since schools were closed by then and many people took days off.

Thursday, 13 January 2022
In Australia 1 in 172 citizens tested positive.

Friday, 14 January 2022
In Israel 1 in 157 citizens tested positive.
In Poland 13 out of 17 members of the Medical Council (board of voluntary advisors to the government) submit their resignations. They have had enough of government’s indifference to their counselling and succumbing to anti-vaxxers.

Saturday, 15 January 2022
Poland has been faring better than foreseen by the prophets of doom. New infections (7-day average) rose by merely 28% within a fortnight, while there were countries where the figure saw a 1,000% increase. Nevertheless, it is not the right time for complacency. Calm days will soon be over.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

Don’t look up – film review

A belated review (though Michael beats it to me), since I watched the film on 27 December, after reading several recommendations on Twitter on it.

My very first reaction before watching the film was that the title had been translated incorrectly into Polish. Don’t look up sounded to me as nie sprawdzaj, nie weryfikuj informacji. Such worked my fondness of phrasal verbs, yet I was wrong. I literally tells you not to look at the sky.

The film which premiered in cinemas on 10 December 2021 and on Netflix on Christmas Eve went absolutely viral among well-educated people I follow on Twitter during Christmas. While at my parents’ for Yuletide I could not watch it, my only access to Netflix is via application on my TV set (shared account).

Michael as he summarises the plot claims the film, dwells on dumbed down masses. The first word which sprang to my mind when I tried to describe Don’t look up with one word was ignorance. Overwhelming, dazzling, overpowering ignorance individuals feel comfortable with. A portrait of omnipresent ignorance and a bunch of pundits trying to tear down the walls of ignorance to save the planet is dejecting.

While watching the film I saw two parallels. First was about early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. In late 2019 Chinese authorities strived hard to shut mouths of doctors who warned of a perilous new virus, then their reaction to contain the spread of the virus was delayed. They failed to nip it in the bud, so now we have what we have. Second was about the global warming, which unlike the pandemic is a relatively slow process with long-term rather than immediate implications. Experts presage how bad it might get in a few decades, but politicians remain deaf to it or make inconsistent moves to combat it or just pretend they do something, not to wind up their voters with inconvenient decisions to curb carbon dioxide emission.

If I were to choose one picture which conveys the same message as the film, I would opt for the one to the right. I first saw it nearly a year ago, in the context of people who worship self-styled experts who claim SARS-CoV-2 does not exist / is as dangerous as ordinary flu, mask and vaccinations do not work, etc. Those individuals are either too thoughtless or too cowardly to face the complex situation the mankind need to get to grips with. Some humans have a tendency to deny facts which are inconvenient to them, searching for a comfort and peace of mind. I realise why this happens, but advise to rise above it.

The film deftly depicts the worst human traits – greed, selfishness, unjustified self-esteem, ignorance, laziness and many more. The moving picture is well-crafted, but has left me exhausted after watching it. If the film is meant to be an eye-opener for many, I hope it keeps going viral, though I keep in mind the human memory is short-lasting and it soon will be forgotten.

Sunday, 2 January 2022

Pandemic diary – weeks 92, 93 & 94

Monday, 13 December 2021
R(t), the reproduction number, drops in Poland below 1.00, which means the pandemic is winding down.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021
If you look carefully at the map of new infections, you will be the epidemic has trundled from eastern towards western Poland. In eastern provinces the number of new infections is 5 – 10 times lower than over a month, with the number of tests carried out holding steady.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021
New restrictions are in force as of today. The number of visitors in several venues is limited to 30% of capacity, but holders of the COVID certificates are excluded from the limits. Ludicrously, the government has not passed any law empowering entrepreneurs to demand the certificates. Therefore a visitor may voluntarily show the certificate to a enter a venue. The strategy of the Polish government is to pretend to fight the virus and not to mess with the anti-vaxxers.

Thursday, 16 December 2021
In Poland vaccinations of children aged 5 – 11 kick off. On the first day around 10,000 children get their first jabs, while more than 100,000 are signed up by their parents. No big success.
In the UK after over 88,000 new infections are reported (therein more than 23,000 in London only), the 7-day average of new infection has an all-time high, going above level reported in early January 2021. The omicron takes over and stands a chance to wipe out the health care system.

Friday, 17 December 2021
The 7-day average of new infections declines below 20,000, after staying above such level for 25 days. It is a matter of less than a month before it bounces back and returns above that level.

Saturday, 18 December 2021
The ministry of health has published some time ago a detailed database of all infections and deaths in Poland, broken down into dates, sex, age and vaccination status. This substantial source of analytical material has passed unnoticed in the public discourse.

Sunday, 19 December 2021
I thought fake vaccination certificates were a marginal problem in Poland, yet more and more frequent news of hospitalised patients admitting to have bought one suggests the scale of the forgery is larger than I supposed. A fake certificate is an expense of 500 – 2,000 PLN.

Monday, 20 December 2021
Early in the morning I get my booster shot. After 2 doses of Pfizer I mix it up with Moderna, which is meant to boost my antibody count. Tomorrow I will learn that only 6.5% of Poland’s population aged 25 – 49 has taken the booster on that day and 14.7% of the entire population. Too little to bode well.
Off-topic: today the tunnel beneath Ursynów is opened; thus the Southern Bypass of Warsaw is completed.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021
I look at Omicron-related data from South Africa and wonder whether the world is not overreacting. The surge there was short, reversed quickly and did not result in many hospital admissions nor death. Keeping an eye on the UK.

Wednesday, 22 December 2021
On 29 October 2021 when the number of officially detected cases exceeded 3,000,000 I predicted the number of new infections would hit 4,000,000 on 26 January 2022. I got it wrong, by 35 days. The fourth million was reached within merely 54 days. For comparison:
- the first million was reported within 275 days,
- the second million was reported within 105 days,
- the third million was reported within 224 days.
I foresee 5,000,000 mark will be crossed on… 26 January 2022.
775 deaths reported on that day come as a negative surprise to me.
Keeping an eye on the UK – so witnessed over 106,000 new registered infections. I suspect 7-day average of new infections peaks out at around 130,000 (got it wrong already).

Thursday, 23 December 2021
More than 980,000 cases registered worldwide breaks the previous record of less than 905,000 new infections reported in late April 2021, when Delta was in overdrive in India. One million will probably be hit next week and I safely bet two millions will be detected on one day in January 2022.

Friday, 24 December 2021
Deaths (7-day average) peak at 453, lower than during the previous waves (604 in spring 2021, 506 in autumn 2020). Vaccines save lives, but not for thousands of families who will sit at Christmas tables in mourning.

Saturday, 25 December 2021
The 7-day average of new infections declines below 15,000, after staying above such level for 39 days. The metric will see an accelerated decline because of scant testing during the festive period. I predict it will bottom out sustainably somewhere around 9,000 cases.

Sunday, 26 December 2021

178 vaccine doses administered yesterday in Poland. I realise it is Christmas, but warfare against the virus ought to continue.

Monday, 27 December 2021
The Omicron wave, even if patients do not clog up hospitals and if a hard lockdown is not imposed, might have economic implications. A large number of infected isolated and persons in contact with them quarantined might paralyse the country.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021
In Malta 1 in 342 citizens tested positive yesterday. I believe such records will be broken several times in coming weeks.
Worldwide more than 1,200,000 new cases reported, with several countries on northern hemisphere breaking records. 2,000,000 expected next week.
R(t) in Poland bottoms out at 0.68.

Wednesday, 29 December 2021
In Denmark 1 in 264 citizens tested positive. This wave will definitely have a high tide, but will burn out quickly, hopefully with few fatalities

Thursday, 30 December 2021
In Ireland 1 in 244 citizens tested positive. Experts say this is not the last word.

Friday, 31 December 2021
Today could have been the turning point between the fourth and the fifth wave, with 7-day average of new infections bottoming out at 10,774. Or this was just the effect of increased testing on New Year’s Eve vs. Christmas Eve. I hope the latter explanation is correct.
And the customary month-end report of the sluggish pace of vaccinations in Poland.

1. Vaccine uptake in age groups – sadly ECDC has taken a Christmas break, so this time a bit outdated, but in a new layout, with a booster.

2. Vaccination status in the entire population of Poland

Saturday, 1 January 2022
In Warsaw alone 6 more new infections than a week ago. For some 6 weeks the clear trend of 20% week-on-week decline was visible. It is the thing of the past probably.
Don't know whether delays in reporting are to blame, but 7-day average of new deaths reaches a new high of 464.
In Ireland 1 in 216 citizens tested positive. This wave will be a flash.

Sunday, 26 December 2021

Szlachetna Paczka 2021 , past the final weekend.

As some of the readers might remember, my experience with Szlachetna Paczka last year was rather bitter and shortly after the 2020 edition was over, I was intent on giving up on it (as a volunteer).

In mid-2021, as the virus eased and the vaccination programme was giving hope to put the pandemic closer to an end, I reconsidered my decision. In July, when I learnt a fellow volunteer had been appointed the leader of Ursynów area, I have made up my mind to join.

This year we started out early and closed our ranks in early September to look out for families which could become beneficiaries of programme. Thanks to concerted efforts we have managed to visit 74 families (vs. around 30 in 2020) and decided to organise aid for 46 of them (vs. 14 in 2020); thus we achieved a decent hit ratio of 62%.

I personally visited 15 families, 9 of them were brought in, for 4 I was a primary volunteer, which meant I had to do all the paperwork for them and co-ordinate contact with donators.

Back in July I was appointed to be in charge of logistics. This meant I had to find a centre of operations (magazyn) for the final weekend. I have fixed us up with the space in a newly opened Ursynowskie Centrum Kultury “Alternatywy”. The location and the very facilities have turned out to be a perfect venue. I have also drawn up a plan for collection and distribution of gift packages. Picking up 46 packages from donators and transporting them to 46 families seemed a big challenge, but thanks to an excellent planning (I will not spare myself praise this time) and execution (hats down to fellow volunteers), it all worked like a dream.

Human-wise, delivering packages to families, seeing their emotions and hoping the aid would kick-start them and open a door towards a better tomorrow brought off a lot of joy.

Although delivery of packages is over, the edition has not come to an end. I shall visit my families in coming weeks to see how they are faring and help them overcome some of barrier that hold them back.

Although we definitely pulled it off in 2021, there are lessons to be learnt before the 2022 edition in which I will definitely get involved. Firstly, we will start even earlier. Secondly, donators will need to instructed how to pack the gifts (nobody feels like lugging huge boxes whose weights reached 30 kilograms) and their preferences regarding pick-up timing will need to be agreed earlier. Thirdly, volunteers ought to handle transport of furniture and heavy white goods well ahead of the final weekend, so that those gifts do not go through the centre of operations.

Sunday, 19 December 2021

A collision

2 November 2021
Early morning. After spending much of the long weekend at my girlfriend’s mother’s I have decided to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and return home before the morning rush hour. Streets are nearly empty, so the drive is smooth. Less than a kilometre from home I am on the right lane of ul. Belgradzka, driving exactly at the speed limit of 50 kmph. A red Toyota Yaris on the left lane trundles slowly, probably is about to do an illegal U-turn. My prediction of a fellow driver’s intention is wrong. She swerves right unexpectedly, trying to turn right from the left lane into a roadside car park and hits the left side of my Megane. My car is turned around and pushed into the lanes running in the opposite direction. Fortunately, no car is there, so a serious smash-up is averted.

After cooling down for a moment I fire up the engine and cautiously pull up into the car park. I get out. The damage to the vehicle is not as bad as I thought. The culprit of the accident right away admits her fault. Without undue unrest we set off to a nearby meat shop where she was supposed to have a training, to fill in the accident form I used to keep in the glove compartment for years. Suddenly it comes in useful.

Half an hour later I return home. I am still a bit of nervous, but first things first. I go to Lidl to do the shopping, eat breakfast, get down to work to handle the most urgent stuff. As business is taken care of, I learn what my rights in this situation are and how to ensure the car is repaired properly.

Early in the afternoon I report the accident to the culprit’s insurer (Uniqa).

4 November 2021
After two days of not being contacted by any representative of Uniqa, I call them. It turns out my accident report went astray and had to be recovered from the abyss of similar reports manually.

An hour later I pick up the phone and they already offer me a repair of my vehicle at Alfa Romeo’s garage. I refuse to have my car repaired by a different garage than a Renault authorised dealership. Then they offer me cash. I also turn down that proposal.

After two hours of studying my rights carefully I call Uniqa again and disconnect after exercising my right to have my car repaired by professionals and with original spare parts. The damages will be paid directly to the garage.

5 November 2021
I turn up at Renault Warszawa Puławska to have the sighting of the car. I sign documents which entitle the garage to claim the costs of the repair from the insurer. Since my car is theoretically roadworthy (but practically it ought to be driven cautiously, since the left-rear rim is dented and nobody knows whether undercarriage geometry is correct) I am not eligible for a substitute car. I hence have to borrow a company car if I am to move around safely.

Advised by a friend, I calculate the car’s value at Uniqa’s page, just in case they claim the cost of repair is above the car’s market value.

9 November 2021
The valuation of the repair is drawn up. It would cost approximately 15,000 PLN to restore the car to its pre-accident shape. Fortunately, this is well below the car’s market value, which is around 24,000 PLN.

11 November 2021
I hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, hence I download a guide on supreme court ruling which states the rights of drivers whose cars were damaged in accidents by other drivers. Just in case I brace for a nasty dispute with Uniqa.

15 November 2021

A car rental company contracts me. They want to fix me up with Kia Sportage, a SUV. I detest SUVs, besides, that car consumes 40% more petrol than my Megane. I kindly ask them go give me a compact car, if they lack one, a small city car.

16 November 2021
After two weeks of waiting I drive my car off to Renault Warszawa Puławska, then pick up the substitute car, which eventually is a Renault Megane IV sedan, with 1.5 diesel engine, automatic gearbox and nearly 60,000 kilometres on the clock. The car, driven by tens if not hundreds of drivers is rickety.

19 November 2021
I receive a letter from Uniqa. The insurer informs they have resolved to pay out 50% of compensation to Renault garage and pledge to pay the remaining half once an invoice is issued. Finance-wise all goes well.

21 November 2021
I park the substitute car in my garage and discover a scratch on the front bumper. Needless to say I refused to pay for insuring against my participation in the damage. I find the paint code and order a 10 ml paint with a brush on Allegro.

23 November 2021
For no apparent reason the car rental company wants the car back immediately, as the clock went past 60,000 kilometres and they need to have it serviced. I lie I am not home and cannot give the car back.

24 November 2021
The car paint does not arrive at my Paczkomat, although shoes for Szlachetna Paczka ordered on Monday came yesterday. I lie again to the car rental company I am away from home and the car stayed at home and cannot hand it over. Fortunately in the evening the paint arrives.

25 November 2021
I spend an hour in the morning cold carefully removing and painting the scratch. The effect is not awesome, but when a guy from the car rental company turns up at 4:00 p.m., he inspects the car carefully with a smartphone scorch and does not find the scratch. Several hundred zlotys are saved in my wallet. I pick up a Hyundai i30 with 1.0 engine from a lawn mower, with an automatic gearbox, which I dislike.

1 December 2021
I drive to Pyry to pick up a washing machine delivered to one of families I look after in Szlachetna Paczka. On my way there, the locking system conks out and driver’s door opens while I cross a speed bump. It’s all downhill now I hope.

7 December 2021
I pick up the car from repair. Done professionally, at the cost close to two-third of the vehicle’s value, but I do not give a damn about that expense. I am finally happy to have my well-run-in, looked-after reliable car with manual gearbox. With hindsight, I discover that the window opening mechanism in the left-rear door replaced during the repair does not work correctly. It will be fixed free of charge after Christmas.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Pandemic diary – weeks 90 & 91

Monday, 29 November 2021
In reaction to the new Variant of Concern (Omicron) the government announces tightened restrictions, which are… laughable and not enforceable.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Over the weekend I need to part with my girlfriend for a while. She moved to look after her (unvaccinated) mother down with COVID-19. Her saturation varies from 90% to 93%.
And customary month-end report of the sluggish pace of vaccinations in Poland.

1. Vaccine uptake in age groups – age groups reported by ECDC have been changed and booster status has been sorted out.

2. Vaccination status in the entire population of Poland

Wednesday, 1 December 2021
My girlfriend’s mother boosts today’s statistics of new infections. She will be isolated until 9 December, but actually is recovering. I believe it takes weeks before she pulls through.

Thursday, 2 December 2021
During the current wave infections of children aged below 12 are prevalent. Lots of friends whose offspring go to nursery or elementary schools now see their daughters and son down with COVID-19 (i.e. no longer asymptomatic carriers).

Friday, 3 December 2021
In Slovakia 1 in 358 citizens was tested positive the day before, in which the country sets the new record, hard to be broken, unless we underestimate potential of Omicron and testing capacities.

Saturday, 4 December 2021
70% of Warsaw’s population fully vaccinated. No idea how many unvaccinated słoiki hang around, no idea, how many of those people have deceased in the meantime, how many had previously been infected, how many no longer have antibodies, how many have had a booster. Statistics seem good for nothing.

Sunday, 5 December 2021
Ustronie Morskie as the first gmina in Poland reaches the threshold of 75% of population vaccinated with at least one dose.

Monday, 6 December 2021
Number of new infections reported within last 7 days: 163,687
Number of first doses administered within last 7 days: 161,593
The figures speak for themselves.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021
More than 2,000 patients on ventilators. Hospitals in Warsaw.
With hindsight – the Delta wave hits its peak of new infections with 7-day average of 23,425; lower than during two previous waves. Officially.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021
After a stay in hospital last week, my mother has symptoms of potential infection. She refuses to get the referral for a regular PCR test, so I buy an antigen test in a pharmacy and learn how to conduct it on my own. The result is clearly negative.
4 days later – all symptoms are gone

Thursday, 9 December 2021
The chart of new infections shows a plateau. Since 28 November the 7-day average number of new infections has been in a narrow range from 23,100 to 23,500 daily.

Friday, 10 December 2021
The 7-day average of new deaths hits 400. There is some chance hitting 500 is out of reach this month.

Saturday, 11 December 2021
Szlachetna Paczka final weekend is… also a great opportunity to catch the virus. A pity I have not been eligible for the booster ahead of it.

Sunday, 5 December 2021

Reasons to worry

Being in a swing of things, I write for posterity, to record my mindset.

Note many reasons for optimism, but I keep hoping the future is brighter than today.

I worry about my country, about how it is ruled.

I worry about the rising inflation, since it impoverishes those already underprivileged. I do not worry about myself. The recent pay rise has offset the higher costs of living and my savings have been parked in inflation-linked government bonds. I know how to take care of myself.

I worry about my compatriots, stupid enough not to get their jab and merrily spreading the virus which takes away more than a thousand lives every three days.

I worry about my girlfriend’s mother, who is pulling through from COVID-19 (also unvaccinated) and possible long-term implications for her health.

I worry about my parents whose access to healthcare has been impeded by the pandemic. I worry about my mother’s cardiac problems which prevent her from having a hip joint surgery. I worry about my father who is facing a diagnosis to confirm or rule out a prostate cancer.

I worry that 5 out of 46 families looked after volunteers from Ursynów area in Szlachetna Paczka have not found their donators, less than a week ahead of the final weekend. More on this on Boxing day.

I do not worry, but have had several stressful moments after a car collision I had over a month ago. More on this in two weeks.

I long for a peace of mind. I long for a restful sleep and waking up later than 5:00 a.m. Fortunately, some of those issues will be sorted out. Others, which cannot be influenced by me, should not worry me excessively. Keeping a healthy distance towards whatever the life brings sounds like a good recipe for not ending up as a bundle of nerves.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Pandemic diary – weeks 88 & 89

Monday, 15 November 2021
The first full week of November should bring normalisation of statistics, distorted by two long weekends and consequent scant testing.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021
The 7-day average of new infections exceeds 15,000 (in 2020 it hit the mark on 30 October, 18 days earlier), but is 36% lower than on 16 November 2020. I got it wrong, this time fortunately, but by just 3 days. I predict the 20,000 hurdle will be crossed on 24 November.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021
What a wipe-out! Nearly 25,000 new infections and more than 15,000 hospital beds occupied. The Czech prime minister announced a lockdown for the unvaccinated. The Polish government does not want to mess with anti-vaxxers.

Thursday, 18 November 2021
The 7-day average of new deaths exceeds 200. With such statistics of new infections and 53% of population vaccinated, I believe the number hits 500 in December.

Friday, 19 November 2021
Austria imposes a lockdown for everyone, including the vaccine, for 10 days starting on 22 November and mandatory vaccinations starting from February 2022. They’ve got balls.

Saturday, 20 November 2021
My girlfriend’s unvaccinated mother is down in bed with some sort of infection. She refuses to go to a doctor nor to get tested…

Sunday, 21 November 2021
The 7-day average of new infections exceeds 20,000 (in 2020 it hit the mark on 4 November, 17 days earlier), but is 7% lower than on 21 November 2020. I got it wrong, this time, as the number was hit 3 days earlier than foreseen. I predict the 25,000 hurdle will not be crossed during this wave.

Monday, 22 November 2021
In Romania and Latvia where the delta wave has taken a heavy toll, people rushed to get vaccinated. In Poland the health service begins to get overwhelmed, daily number of deaths is three-digit, though 4 times lower than in early April 2021, but local morons do not seem well convinced they should get their jabs. There has been some increase in first doses (up by more than 50% since trough), but crowds have not rushed to get immunised.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021
Had an antibody test done, more than 5 months after the second dose. My antibody count is 163 BAU/ml, vs. cut-off of 33.8 BAU/ml. Of course there is the humoral response, but definitely I can’t feel comfortable with such immunity. I will need to sign up for the booster in late December or early January.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021
A day of sad records broken:
- 1 in 415 citizens in Czech Republic was tested positive yesterday,
- Warsaw sees record-high number of new infections, i.e. 2,449,
- more than 570,000 people are under quarantine in Poland, the highest number since the onset of the pandemic.

Thursday, 25 November 2021
The 7-day average of new deaths exceeds 300. Most of those deaths could have been avoided. The pace of the pandemic slows down and the inflection point is not far ahead. I bet it is on 2 December.

Friday, 26 November 2021
Just when I thought the record would not be broken, in Czech Republic 1 in 387 citizens was tested positive. This happens in a country where 58.7% of population have been fully vaccinated and 19.4% had been tested positive since the pandemic began. Herd immunity is out of reach.

Saturday, 27 November 2021
The R(t), i.e. reproduction number in Lubelskie and Podlaskie provinces has declined sustainably below 1.0, which means the epidemic is past the peak in new infections. Even without restrictions, this is a natural course of the epidemic driven by patterns of social interactions.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Natolin, November, walk

A lot is going on around. The pandemic is covered by my bi-weekly diary. I could go on about inflation and record-weak Polish currency. I could write a dissertation on a dismal situation on the Polish-Belarusian border. I could come up with a nasty longer comment on the launch of TVP World, a decent competition to Russia Today. I could, but I won’t. I care about what is going on around, but my mind needs to get some rest from what is upsetting me.

So for the record, a photo coverage of my morning walk taken yesterday. 8:30 a.m., end of the second decade of November, sunshine, gusty wind and +10C. Spring in the air, while the winter is coming.

The Park im. Cichociem-nych is due to be revitalised in near future. For no apparent reason, restoration works involve chopping down several trees, a part of the project which many locals oppose. I see no idea why this coppice is to give way to a cycling path, which may run past the trees.

The first work done has been digging up the ground for the cycling path. The progress of works has come to a halt. Since early November nothing more has been done. The desolated area is fenced off and probably waits for the advent of winter.

The base of POW construction site is being wound down. Astaldi workers have taken away the car park and I hope they bring the area back to how it had looked out before machinery came in. I hope the concrete will give way to greenery. In the distance, a tunnel supervision centre and fume let-out chimneys. I wonder if the last section of S2 is opened before Christmas.

The Oczko wodne Moczydło 2 next to Las Kabacki, a hangout for ducks, in the summer a swimming pool for local dogs. Looking at the photo one would find it hard to guess whether it was taken in late November or in late March.

The sun-lit track which connects the underground line to the rest of the world. For more than 2 years I have not spotted a single railcar on it. Looking forward to the news of new underground trains being trundled here to the nearby depot, probably next year.

A rural view of Ursynów. The forest behind, a mown meadow with molehills ahead of me. Tall blocks of the district far in the distance. I am half a mile from home in an entirely rural area. I am glad to have found the place I belong!

For the end of the stroll, at look at ul. Moczydłowska, ultimately freed from motorists parking their vehicles on both sides. After several inspections and wheel blockers put on by the straż miejska, sods have finally learnt that road belongs to pedestrians, cyclists and runners.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Pandemic diary – weeks 86 & 87

Monday, 1 November 2021
This year cemeteries have not been closed. I ventured to visit the graves of my relatives yesterday and the day before yesterday, on both days before noon. Cemeteries were anything, but crowded. One could enjoy the spell of late autumnal warmth (day-time highs above +15C).

Tuesday, 2 November 2021
The number of new infections declines on a week-on-week basis. Not a reason to be cheerful, since we can put it down to the bank holiday yesterday.

Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Will Poland follow the path of Britain, where the level of new inflections is high, but fairly stable, without distinct waves? Some experts claim it is conceivable.

Thursday, 4 November 2021
Statistics of new infections catch up after the long weekend, hence over 15,000 cases are reported. But the more terrifying figure is the number of new deaths.
In Slovenia 1 in 460 citizens is tested positive, thus the country breaks the record set in Belgium on 30 October 2020 (1 in 487 citizens tested positive).

Friday, 5 November 2021
The number of fully vaccinated Poles exceeds 20,000,000 (which is less than 53% of population, less those who have died since getting their jab).

Saturday, 6 November 2021
250 million officially reported cases worldwide. I would safely bet the actual number is above 1 billion.
The 7-day average of new infections exceeds 10,000 (in 2020 it hit the mark on 23 October, 14 days earlier), but is 52% lower than on 6 November 2020. I got it wrong, this time fortunately, but by just 2 days. I predict the 15,000 hurdle will be crossed on 13 November.

Sunday, 7 November 2021
The 7-day average of new deaths exceeds 100, which translates into CFR of …, given a customary delay of 14 days between new infections and new deaths. This implies around … of cases are not detected.

Monday, 8 November 2021
10,000 hospital beds occupied. Still far from the peak of around 34,000 occupied in April 2021.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021
The number of new infections in Germany is now higher than during the previous waves. The country has relatively low, given the standards of the Western Europe, vaccination rate, with inhabitants of the eastern land (former GDR) being more reluctant to get the jab.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021
Among 11 best-vaccinated communes (gminy) I see:
5) Warsaw, where I and most of my friends live,
6) Poznań and
7) Wrocław where several of my workmates live,
9) Konstancin-Jeziorna where my father hails from and some of my family members live,
10) Piaseczno, where I grew up,
11) Lesznowola, where my parents live where I resided for nearly 13 years.

Thursday, 11 November 2021
In 2020 the second wave reached its peak (as measured by the 7-day average of new infections). This year the wave is still ascending, yet I predict it might reach a peak in late November and then slowly descend.

Friday, 12 November 2021
The Austrian government a lockdown only for the unvaccinated (except for those recovered). Austria joins the group of countries taking harsh measures to crack down on those unwilling to get the jab. The Polish government has no intention of irritating its mostly brainless electorate.

Saturday, 13 November 2021
The best summary for the way the government handles to fourth wave of COVID-19 in Poland: “Poles are left to their own devices”. Fortunately, FFP2 masks are widely available, whoever wants will find a vaccination centre round the corner.