Saturday, October 31, 2020

Qatar Coronavirus Update - Still the Same

Nothing has changed much, still hovering around 200 cases a day, travel restrictions and quarantines still in place. No new restrictions added. It could definitely be worse, other GCC countries experienced a second wave and the number of cases and deaths went up. Qatar has been spared that at least. Lots of the detected cases are from travellers returning to Qatar and sitting in quarantine, some days up to 40 cases are from travellers. Goes to show how prevalent the virus is in the world and how if you fly anywhere there is a reasonable chance someone on the plane will have COVID. Flying is still risky.

Yesterday marked a milestone, Bahrain passed Qatar for most detected cases per capita in the world (well, except the micronation of Andorra). Qatar no longer has that unfortunate title. With so many other nations having a second, or third, wave if Qatar can keep the restrictions in place and keep things to 200 cases a day or lower then Qatar will drop down the "most cases per capita" list fast. To reach Qatar's total though the US would need 15m cases (currently it's at 9m) but let's face it, many nations did not do enough testing and their reported numbers are lower than the actual. 

My life is reasonably normal now. I go to the office, meet with friends occasionally, went to the beach with some people the other day. I wear a mask always but outdoors almost no one else does. Malls and office buildings are still quite strict but shops on the street less so. Went to the mall yesterday and it was very crowded, more than I was expecting. I wasn't comfortable with that so I got a coffee to go and soon left without going grocery shopping like I planned. I figured back in June COVID would be mostly over by now in low-risk areas like Europe, boy was I naive. Multiple waves follows the pattern of the last major pandemic, the 1918 'Spanish Flu', which had three distinct waves, so I suppose there was no reason to think only one wave was going to happen this time. It's not like the world did something extraordinarily different from 1918 to stop the pandemic. We can only count our lucky stars that the mortality rate is a lot lower than initially expected. Remember when it was first going around China the mortality was thought to be as high as 3-4%. It looks like it is more around 0.3-0.5%, though we will not know for sure unless we figure out exactly how many people ultimately were infected. 

The other excitement of the day is the current uproar the Muslim world has with France, given comments by Macron and others. Lots of people here are boycotting French products and on social media I see lots of information being shared about which brands and shops are French. Most (not all though) of my Muslim friends are boycotting but non-Muslim expats don't appear to be too concerned about it.

As for the US Election the general view is 'meh'. No one is too fussed about it, Qatar has its own problems to worry about (COVID, oil prices, blockade, lack of travelling) so while everyone is aware it's happening, I don't think anyone is thinking much about what would happen afterwards. I can't wait for it to be over though, getting so sick of seeing it dominate all the news.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Qatar Coronavirus Updates -- Under 200 Cases a Day

It's been a while since I posted -- I'm wondering if people thought I came down with COVID!  No, I'm fine, I have not been ill. Just a lot of work and stuff keeping me busy.

For the most part Qatar was holding steady at 200+ cases a day, and the occasional death, but the number of cases was slowly creeping down and for the last four days it has been under 200 cases a day, which is great.  Maybe the long consistency of 200+ cases was due to the schools opening.

Today was 194 cases but the Government statistics notes that 14 cases are from returning travelers in quarantine so the number of community cases is 180. It's an improvement but people need to stay vigilant about masks and so forth, there are currently 377 people in hospital, and of those 59 are in ICU, so the virus is still making a lot of people seriously ill. The number of active cases is around 2800, which is roughly what one would expect from 200 cases a day over two weeks, and a far cry from the peak when Qatar was getting over 2000 cases A DAY!

Qatar is doing much better than other Gulf countries who are reporting large numbers of cases (Bahrain, UAE) or deaths (Saudi, Oman). The Government still has strict entry controls and quarantines in place.

But 200-ish cases a day means that slowly, but surely, the virus is spreading. Gone are the days when no one knew someone who had the virus, now almost all my friends know somebody (relatives, friends, co-workers) who caught it. In my office at least three people have had it (no deaths thankfully). Does this mean people have become more careful? Nope! I am the only one wearing a mask at a majlis or when visiting friends. It is stricter in malls and restaurants though. My fear is that it will take someone close getting the virus before people take things seriously again. My fear is finding out there was a "super-spreader" event at a majlis and suddenly many of my friends and their families fall ill.

I was hoping to travel this November-December to somewhere but alas that just doesn't seem likely anymore. I was too optimistic about the virus diminishing and there being no second wave.

Stay safe everyone.