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Peter Rhodes on nuclear rain, an archbishop on the ward and why a game-changer may not change the game

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published: | Last Updated:

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

Rain on the way

Does anyone else feel sympathy for Londoners forced to use crowded Tube trains, only for the sympathy to evaporate on seeing how few of them are wearing face masks? Heaven helps those, etc, etc.

The European Union seems determined to salvage something of the 2020 summer holiday season by opening borders and encouraging some travel between states. This is a stirring reminder of the sacred founding principles of the Union: peace, liberty and the free movement of viruses.

Justin Welby has been working quietly as a hospital chaplain during the pandemic.

“Doctor, I thought you said I had only a mild case of coronavirus.”

“Yes?”

“So why is the Archbishop of Canterbury standing at the foot of my bed . . ?”

If you are of a certain age, old enough to remember Muffin the Mule and the Six-Five Special, this may make you smile. By studying weather records from the 1960s, researchers at the University of Reading believe they have found a link between American nuclear-bomb tests and rainfall in Britain. Which, as many of us recall, is exactly what everybody in Britain was saying back in the wet and chilly 1960s. Raining again? Damn Yanks must have set off another bomb.

Don't expect the “100 per cent accurate” Covid-19 antibodies test to be quite the game-changer that some people are claiming. In medicine there is rarely 100 per cent certainty. Nor is there any guarantee that having had the virus makes us immune long-term to a second dose, or prevents us from passing the disease to others. Here are two possible outcomes. Firstly, if it is proved that millions of us have already had the virus and barely noticed, it will suggest that the mortality rate is exceedingly low. If, on the other hand, the test shows that very few of us have had the virus, it will suggest that this is, in medical terms, a difficult disease to contract. Either of these findings would reduce our fear of the disease. This may sound like a good thing but it could actually make us more reckless, putting vulnerable groups at even greater risk. But I suspect the most likely result will be somewhere in the middle. Some of us have had this wretched virus, others have not and we may or may not be immune. Impasse.

I gazed in awe and astonishment at the enormous queues outside the newly re-opened garden centres. Back and forth they snake, shuffling forward at the pace of a sleepy slug. Dear God, let me never be that desperate for a hanging basket.

A reader says that under the lockdown rules, he cannot visit relatives but he can sell his house. He has therefore put his house on the market, and his aunt and uncle are coming for a viewing tonight.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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