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The Corona Files: An explainer

After the Coronavirus reached Italy and created havoc there, it was only a matter of time when it would arrive in Ireland and so it happened and – through visitors in Italy – the virus made it to our little island.

And like in most European countries the confusion was huge at first, the demands on politicians were massive and finally the Taoiseach had not other option but to also declare the closure of schools and universities and cultural institutions.

This is a completely unprecedented situation that nobody in this whole world has any experience with, so there is no real right or wrong yet and I think our politicians have done the best they could.

You might be very worried about this virus, so let me explain what one of the most eminent SARS experts in Germany, Virologist Prof. Dr. Christian Drosten, says about the Corona Virus /Covid-19, which has a lot of similarities to the SARS virus.

He explains that it is expected that nearly every one will get infected at some stage over the next few months. For kids, there seems to be an indication that they are only carriers and will not experience severe symptoms. Then there is the age 12-65 where the symptoms will be a general weakness, a persistent cough and – in most cases – a raised temperature. But after about 2 weeks all is over and they will recover. And then there is the groups of elderly people from 65 years of age. In this group it is expected that unfortunately up to 20 or 25% of infected people will die. The virus itself doesn’t kill, but the body (especially the circulatory system) will be so challenged after around 5 days with symptoms, that it will not be able to continue to work in weaker people or people with an pre-existing heart problem and a few other issues. They and younger people with other underlying health problems will be the people that need to be looked after in a hospital.

After the first phase, the Containment Phase, didn’t succeed and the virus could not be contained. We entered the Delay phase. In this phase the focus is on delaying the spread of the virus (not stopping it!). There is no way to stop it, but if all people that could get infected would get infected around the same time, the health system would collapse. (I saw a calculation that described that the UK, for example, would need over 1 million hospital bed if the spread couldn’t be delayed, but they only have 140,000 beds.) So currently they are ONLY trying to delay the infection.

The experts are expecting that the infections will continue until September or even longer. :-O And that nearly all of us will get infected at some time over this time. So all the current limitations, including school, university closures and closures of all cultural institutions will unlikely end on 29 March.

Most flu viruses don’t like the warmer weather, but it seems the Corona virus can handle it, so there is a high probability that the virus will not “disappear” over the summer and then come back in autumn/winter, but that it will stay with us.

In that case – and if it ha immunisation as a result – it would be positive for the healthy among us to get it early on, but the problem is that for a period of 2 weeks BEFORE you show any symptoms, you can already infect people. So this is the dangerous period during which you should stay away from all weak and elderly people.

No vaccines will be available until probably next year, so we can’t hope for that to sort the situation.

In general, try to stay upbeat and try not to panic. Prepare yourself mentally that this virus will be with us for quite some time (And we thought Brexit was an endless story!?) and that the current or some other social distancing rules will either stay in place or will come back again in a few weeks. Oh and stay healthy as much as possible so that you will get over it fast when the virus hits you.


And here is some advise on how to behave in the next few weeks or months:

1. An infected person would have to cough, sneeze or – and we all do that – spit while talking. The droplets fly through the air and would have to land on your face to infect you directly. If you keep a distance from the people you talk to, there is a good chance that the droplets fall on the ground and will be harmless for you.

2. If an infected person coughs into their hands and then touches a doorknob/tap/fridge door/steering wheel/shopping cart, they will leave the droplets there. The droplets are relatively sticky and can survive for up to 3 days and some surfaces and only approximately 3 hours on others. If you then touch that surface AND transfer the droplets to your eyes, nose or mouth you can also get infected. So, don’t touch your face and you are most likely fine.

3. An infected person doesn’t show symptoms for up to 14 days, but can pass on the virus already. So we should be vigilant with regards to all people, not just obviously ill people. You will not get sick just by being in the same room with someone who is infected.

Adhere to this protocol:

◦ Don’t touch your face

◦ Wash hands surgeon style for at least 30 seconds after potential exposure to surfaces that others may have touched. You may think you know how to wash your hands, but you should STILL watch a video and get it right.

◦ Social distancing will decrease the risk of getting infected. Cancel unnecessary meetings, but confidently go to necessary engagements and then use the protocol above.

◦ Carry a large handkerchief at all times, even when you are not sick. Cough into it or at least cough into your elbow. Do not cough without covering your mouth.

◦ Wipe your phone down (at same time as washing hands)

◦ Wipe fridge door, taps, light switches, remote controls, keyboards etc

◦ Use a paper towel to open the door on the way out of a public toilet.

◦ Washing your hands with soap and water is sufficient. Anti-bacterial soap is NOT required. Hand sanitizer is NOT as efficient as soap, but can be used when no soap and water is available. Make sure that the hand sanitizer has 60+% of alcohol in it.

◦ Remember you have an immune system too. Even if the droplets manage to reach you, the virus still has to get past your immune system. So keep that healthy! Look after yourself and don’t run yourself down.

◦ Take care of your emotional self – fear, worry and anxiety wear you down

◦ If you do feel sick, immediately self-isolate, get tested and take directions from your health care provider.

Bad News about some events in Dublin!

Today I have lots of bad news and I am reluctant to spread all this doom and gloom because I prefer to spread joyful and happy news, but our event world in Dublin got some very unfortunate news that I have to share with you!

Yesterday the organisers of the Oktoberfest Dublin announced on Facebook (www.facebook.com/OktoberfestDublin/posts/2441964082556827) that “the 2019 event cannot go ahead due to unprecedented increases in our insurance premium”.

They then continue to explain that the claim culture in Ireland brought them to the decision to take a break this year. At the end of the post they offer some hope by saying “[we] ask you to look forward to Oktoberfest 2020.”

BUT there are other developments that will make Oktoberfest 2020 VERY unlikely: Dublin City is attempting to implement a “Water Animation Strategy” (Yep! That’s what they call it!), which will see George’s Dock being turned into a 250m long commercial whitewater kayaking course for a whopping 15mio. So then there will be no more events on the platform in George’s Dock or around the chq Building. (www.thejournal.ie/outdoor-pool-kayaking-ifsc-3965859-Apr2018/) And since an event like the Oktoberfest needs some suitable space where neighbours won’t complain about a beer festival until late in the evening, it is very unlikely that another venue will be found.

This is bad news for events in Dublin, but I hear some of you saying that it is just a beer festival, so not the biggest loss. You might be right, but read on…

In other recent news, the organisers of the “Dublin Flea Christmas Market” have announced (dublinchristmasflea.ie/) that the market will NOT take place anymore. In 2018 it was at the Point Village and happened over two weekends with 280 stalls. In 2019 there will be no more market because no suitable venue can be found (the building where the market took place in the last few years now has a tenant and is not available anymore).

Since this was the last large scale Christmas Market (not in the traditional meaning of a Christmas Market, but still a big market at Christmas!), this means that we really have hit rock bottom as far as Christmas events are concerned. Dublin City would have to take ownership of a market and NOT outsource it to an event management company, that’s how markets can be so successful in Germany and Austria and Poland etc, but Dublin City has no real interest!

One indication is this: If you had some hope that the closing of College Green for traffic would get Dublin City to put on some brilliant events, you will unfortunately be very disappointed.
Last weekend was the first of a few temporary College Green closures which will happen this summer to test the impact the pedestrianisation of this area could have and Dublin City promised “three great events” over three weeks under the headline “Summer Sundays on College Green”.
But the first one was the poorest of events that you could imagine. :-O The whole area from Trinity College to George’s Street was closed for traffic, but nothing was done with it! The area was just empty! A few small tents on the median just outside the Bank of Ireland building invited to “Drawing in the City”, but if that is what Dublin City calls a “great event”, we are truly doomed!

With over 80,000 followers and with a reach of over 30,000 for the weekly event post, we are one of the biggest event communities in Dublin and definitely the biggest community for free events. So can we do something to improve the situation in Dublin? Leave your suggestions below and also please spread the news to your friends, families and colleagues!

May your week be Event-Full!

–Joerg
(www.dublineventguide.com)

Failte Ireland lies to International Media!?

I love Dublin! I am living here for ages and for more than 11 years I wrote a online publication about cultural events in Dublin, but during that time I also have seen how the official groups responsible for tourism (especially in Dublin!) do less and less and expect more and more money to be dropped by tourists.

New Year’s Eve is not the most exciting day of the year in Dublin and if anyone asked me, I would strongly recommend that potential visitors stay far away between 24 December and 02/03 January. It is just sooo disappointing if you go to a city for these celebrated days and there is NOTHING happening.

In previous years some attempts were made to make Dublin a little more interesting at least over New Year with the New Year’s Festival Dublin. It consisted of some events on New Year’s eve (many years ago we even had fireworks!) and then more events and activities on New Year’s Day. But in 2018 all this changed again and it is the poorest and most disappointing events programme for the New Year’s Festival in at least 5, maybe 10 years!

There are just two light shows at Customs House. They are free, but needed tickets (which are all gone) and then there is a gig (not free!!) in the 3Arena. Apart from that there is not a single official event and NO events on New Year’s Day. Private Fireworks are forbidden in Ireland, nobody pays fro public Fireworks, so New Year’s Eve is a Non-Event!

That’s the facts!! But Failte Ireland is of the opinion that the facts shouldn’t get in the way of their “Fake news” marketing!

900 media representatives from 20 countries were invited to come to Ireland just before New Year’s and Failte Ireland is trying to convince them of something that is clearly untrue.

A RTE News article here says:

“The New Year’s Festival in Dublin is set to showcase tourism in the capital, and encourage more people to visit the capital and Ireland in 2019, according to tourism groups.”

“Liam Campbell from Fáilte Ireland’s International Publicity team said this year’s New Year’s Festival promises to be the most impressive end of year celebration Dublin has ever seen.”

What an amount of codswallop!

Do I think people should come to Dublin? Absolutely YES! It is a great place with lots of free and non free events during the year. This is mostly not thanks to Failte Ireland or Dublin City, but luckily we have lots of great people and businesses in Ireland that do a great job. But PLEASE tell people that they should avoid the Christmas and New Year’s period if they don’t want to be disappointed.

Bloomsday!?!?! What is that?

You either love it or you don’t care at all about Bloomsday, there seems to be nothing in between. It is a HUGE day for some and others don’t even know what it is about. If you belong to the latter group, let me help you a bit.

Bloomsday is a made up day and nothing of it is based on real events. James Joyce wrote the book Ulysses between 1914 and 1922 and the book describes one day, Thursday 16 June 1904 when Leopold Bloom, a fictional figure in the book, went about his business from 08:00 to the early hours of the next day. This invented day, lived by an invented person became Bloomsday.

You could compare it to McClane Day! Which doesn’t exist!!! But would be the day just before Christmas when we copy all the things that John McClane did in Die Hard. We go to Nakatomi Plaza for a Christmas Party, have a disagreement in the toilet and then spend the rest of the day to fight against Max Gruber and some terrorists/thieves with all sorts of weapons. So if McClane Day makes sense to you, then Bloomsday will also make sense.

The James Joyce fans dress up like characters from the book in clothes that were worn by people around 1904, then they have a breakfast like Leopold Bloom and visit the locations he went to during the day.

Does that help a bit? If not, get a better description here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloomsday :-)

I think we should plan for McClane Day! We just have about 6 months to prepare for it! :-O

National Museum at Collins Barracks hikes up Parking Fees

We have something great in Ireland! All our four National Museums do not charge any admission charge. That’s the National Museum at Collins Barracks, in Kildare Street, in Merrion Street and in Turlough, Co. Mayo. This is a bit of a luxury that not many countries have. Sure, it is not really free because in the end we all pay for it through our taxes, but at least you can go there without paying as often as you want.

Collins Barracks is a huge site with only half of it open as a museum and the other half is storage for a huge amount of additional exhibits. Collins Barracks also has is – as a former barracks – on a huge site that has its own car park.

Until 2013 parking was free there, but due to budget cuts in 2013 it was announced that they would have to charge for parking and the fees were a very moderate
+ EUR 2 for 0-3 hours
+ EUR 4 for all day parking.
That was still a good price and you could go to the museum for up to three hours for a low cost.

But last week on 19 May this substantially changed. The new charges are now
+ EUR 2 for just 1 hour
+ EUR 5 for up to 4 hours
+ EUR 12 for all day

That is a HUGE increase! If you assume maybe 2.5 hours for an extensive visit it will cost you EUR 5 instead of EUR 2 before. That’s 150% of an increase!! :-O

And no! Your taxes didn’t go down!

 
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