Covid BCN 07: crime and (physical) punishment

I wanted to open this blog with some positive news: a couple of days ago the death rate in Catalonia dropped for the first time! I was hopeful we were reaching our peak even as the toll continued to rise in Spain (bearing in mind they didn’t go into full lockdown until around two weeks after Catalonia). But unfortunately it was a false alarm, just a blip on the graph. People are dying as fast if not faster than ever. So sorry, no encouraging news. I’ve been desperate to avoid falling into the trap of constantly regurgitating depressing news (hence I haven’t posted for a while). Unfortunately with this crisis, however, we haven’t a huge amount of choice.

Moving on, I want to urge people to stay safe in another way. Tuesday I went down to buy my organic veggies. I was surprised to see there was no Covid (or any other sort of) queue and the veggie woman seemed to be picking up a mess in the back of the store. She told me she had just been robbed. They had taken all her cash and her mobile phone. It is fortunate so many people have been paying by card to avoid virus spread, so she won’t have lost everything. She was most annoyed about losing her phone as all of her business info was on it. I called the mossos (police) on my phone and she reported it. Apparently, one guy had come into the store and started to browse the fruit down the back. She had thought he was shifty even before he tipped a box of lemons onto the floor. She went to help him pick them up and at that point another guy, whose face was covered (as everybody’s is nowadays), entered the shop and rifled the till (which presumably she had left open). She called out and ran to grab him, but he pulled his arm back as if to punch her so she let him go and he left. The other guy also left hurriedly and she is sure he was collaborating with the thief. They took advantage of the fact there are so few people on the streets right now, knowing they wouldn’t be seen or stopped. So remember, even in this coronavirus crisis, shit happens. Crime still happens. Be alert and stay safe.

And now for some overseas news – from Croyden, UK. A friend of mine who works as a primary care pharmacist, told me how he is collaborating in the fight against SARS-CoV-2, as it is officially called:

“I’m supporting a project – electronic repeat prescribing – so that stable healthy patients are able to be issued 12 prescriptions on one signing and they just collect it from the pharmacy every time they need a prescription [thereby relieving strain on GP surgeries]. The technology has been in place for years but was never pushed as it is a hassle to set up at GPs. So us pharmacists in primary care will do the set-up but that’s only until we get redeployed for work into hospitals to cover all those who go sick – till we might [get sick]. Then it’s a lottery as anyone can be a victim of death.”

He also shared a bit about the reality of patients who are on ventilators and necessarily sedated:

“Nurse to patient ratios are normally 1:1 in usual circumstances, but now it will be 1:4, so that means patients are sedated to level -3 to -5 (the scale is -5 to 0). In normal circumstances you get sedated to level 0 which means you’re asleep but wake up when your name is called and stay awake for at least ten seconds. Level -5 is no response when touched or spoken to. The reason for higher sedation is so that nurses can manage four patients. It would be terrible if a patient pulled out the ventilator tube suddenly and that risks virus [escaping] into the air; and sedation is given in the first place so the patient is comfortable with the tube down their throat. A long-term side effect of -5 sedation is that no memories are formed, and that means that mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder are likely in the future.”

But on the positive side (yes, there is one), all of this staying at home (and working out there) means you no longer have any excuse not to get to the gym.

Image of barbell made from cartons of milk in shopping bags on a bamboo pole
A little bit of Kiwi ingenuity and a bamboo pole can turn your improvised dumbbells into improvised barbells, saving you thousands in gym fees and exercise equipment every year

I have some aches and pains today as yesterday I did quite a lot of weights – and also skipping! Who knew that somebody who worked as a physical actor for over twenty years could have become so uncoordinated? Aiming to skip for a mere twenty jumps left me panting and out of breath – and I don’t even smoke! I blame it all on the lockdown. Now I know why all the boxing films show Rocky and his crew skipping rope for hours; it’s the ultimate tough-guy endurance activity. Don’t trust those devious eight-year-olds who make it look so damn easy. They’re just setting you up for a fall, entangled in your own rope.

Image of dumbells made out of full cartons of soup and milk in shopping bags
When you run out of milk for your morning coffee and have to raid your homemade dumbbells …

So after the lockdown lifts I expect you all to leap from your homes into the brisk spring (or autumn) air, showing off those ripped, toned bodies you have been working on so hard while inside.

Banner for BCN Free ART 01: The Port and Barceloneta
Click here to purchase BCN Free ART 01: The Port and Barceloneta on

About Kevin Booth

Kevin Booth pens contemporary and LGBT-themed fiction, often about Barcelona and its history, such as his first novel, Celia’s Room. He also writes about the city’s art and architecture in the BCN Free Art guides. As K. Eastkott he has created the ‘Jewel Fish Chronicles’, an environmentally focussed ocean fantasy exploring non-Eurocentric worlds. He combines writing with work as a translator and editor, while operating as a micro-publisher for other authors. View all posts by Kevin Booth

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