Well, here we are… Week two of the lockdown has come and gone. The good news is that the lockdown seems to be working. South Africa is, for now, seeing a manageable number of cases, relatively few deaths, the vast majority of which have significant co-morbidity factors and a declining number of infections as a percentage of total tests as well as a growing gap between tests conducted and infections. The bad news is that our lockdown has been extended by two weeks. So whilst we are at the end of week two of our initial three week lockdown, we now still have three weeks ahead of us.
As I mentioned above the data is looking good. We are seeing a rise in infections, but these infections are manageable and the growth is a relatively stable 4% per day (average growth in infections since we started the lock down).
Infections as a percentage of total tests conducted have also been looking good. Initially this metric veered wildly between 2% to 4%. After the initial days it stabilised nicely to between 2.9% and 3.1%. The very good news is that this has since dipped nicely first to 2.8% and then yesterday to 2.7%.
The gap between tests conducted and infections confirmed continues to grow rather nicely over time. The greater this gap the better we can say we are doing as it shows it is becoming harder to find the virus. This metric is particularly relevant on the South African context. Our testing strategy is not to test the general population at large (we lack the resources to do this). Instead we are focusing on contract tracing as many people as possible who came into contact with an infected person and only testing these people. This means that we are already selecting people for testing who have an increased probability of having the virus. Any decline in positives in this demographic can therefore be extrapolated to having an exponential effect in the population at large.
the nett effect of all of this is that whilst we continue to see an increasing number of infections, this is a relatively small increase (certainly when bench-marked against the likes of Italy, Spain, the UK and USA at similar periods of their Covid-19 ‘journey) and that the curve is indeed flattening somewhat. It is however clear that more work needs to be done and this is almost certainly why the decision was taken to extend the lockdown for a further two weeks…
So we are all locked-down until the en of April at the soonest. This is bad news for the economy. I think our small businesses will probably survive a lockdown of 6 to 8 weeks at most. Any longer and I am not sure we will be ok at the end of all this. Time will tell.
In the meantime the kids are at home and as such I am presenting male 24/7. This is becoming increasingly difficult but not unbearable. My incrdibly supportive spouse has offered to ‘keep them busy’ for a day whilst I go to one of our (sadly empty) guesthouse rooms for the day to ‘be me’. This is not without appeal but the idea of skulking and hiding away is far from ideal. Also, it would seem odd and probably raise more questions than are strictly speaking necessary.
So I carry on carrying on… Fortunately many of my clothes are fairly femnine. My male presenting clothes are probably 50% bought in the ‘women’s’ sections of the shops. Everything from shoes to jeans and belts. So that does help. As the weather is getting cooler and I can wear a sweatshirt or light jersey during the day I can even wear a (un-padded) bra as well and I have tried that today… So far all good. Of course the dysphoria is still there and as such this is a poor substitute but it is better than nothing. I am increasingly thinking that the time has come to just tell them the truth… But at the same time I am aware that this is a stressful period for them too and I think the less disruption to life the better.
I was fortunate that just before the lockdown came into effect I had a business trip to Cape Town and I was able to have three afternoons and evenings as me. I stayed at a very accepting guesthouse. It is called The Lions Guest House and I can heartily recommend it. I stayed there in September last year and both stays were very comfortable. I e-mailed ahead in September and confirmed they would be ‘ok’ with me presenting en femme in the guesthouse and the owners were fantastic. They made me feel very comfortable and welcome.
I had a good and productive trip and I can also recommend staying in the Gardes area of Cape Town. There are lost of very good restaurants, cafes and other shops in the area. I walked from the guesthouse to restaurants on both nights I was there and I felt safe at all times (although as always I kept my pepper spray in my hand at all times). The only ‘nastiness’ I experienced was when walking down the main road two teenage schoolgirls were walking towards me and one of them shouted a nasty comment at me. I can’t even recall what it was now, but it was not pleasant.
The best meal I had was at The Millers Thumb restaurant. This is a quaint little establishment and very homely. The staff and hostess were extremely knowledgeable and were attentive at all times. The prices are not exactly cheap, but I felt that I got good value. The hostess was very good at explaining the menu and she insisted on discussing the various dishes in great detail before allowing you to order. This is refreshing. The place had a great vibe and the close proximity of the tables allows for a convivial atmosphere.
I had the pasta al forno which was very good and I followed that up with a delicious cheese cake.
Here are a few less than good ‘ultra quick’ selfies I took before going to The Miller’s Thumb on the Monday night…
Tuesday nights meal was less appealing. I went to Hudsons, the Burger Joint. This was the first time I have been to one of their franchises and I was underwhelmed. Covid-19 notwithstanding the place was very busy and service was very slow. I was not impressed. The food was ok but not fantastic. I wouldn’t say I would never go back on principle, but I would probably rather ho elsewhere if I had a choice. Here is my outfit for the Tuesday (again apologies for the less than ideal pic).
Well… That is enough for now I guess… More to follow shortly… That’s right I have three more weeks to come so you can expect more banalaties from me.
Laterz Sweetpeas. Stay safe stay healthy and STAY AT HOME!