Vil­lage crier is faster source of info than of­fi­cials

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - PAUL ROUT­LEDGE GE

THESE days, you grasp at any­thing go­ing, so here goes.

The Prime Min­is­ter told us to check our lock­down sta­tus by log­ging our post­code into a gov­ern­ment web­site.

That’s pos­si­ble for most, but not all. Many, like Mrs R, don’t do com­put­ers.

And it’s com­pli­cated, be­cause ours is a Brad­ford-based set of dig­its but we live one pre­cious mile in­side the bor­der of North York­shire. There’s a big dif­fer­ence. The in­fec­tion rate is much lower – it was zero in Au­gust – and fa­tal­i­ties are fewer. Not that any­body has told Mr Covid, and I hope he’s not read­ing this. But I di­gress.

I punched in my post­code, and waited. All I got was a link to Craven District Coun­cil, and a “medium” level alert.

Hardly a drill-down on the fig­ures. I’d al­ready been told as much af­ter Boris John­son’s press con­fer­ence – the one where he omit­ted to men­tion his re­jec­tion of sci­en­tific ad­vice for an im­me­di­ate “cir­cuit breaker” three weeks ago.

In­stead the news­pa­per web­site York­shireLive tells me there have been 86 new cases in the week to Oc­to­ber 10, a de­crease of 6% on the pre­vi­ous week.

And Craven has an in­fec­tion rate of 150 per 100,000 peo­ple, wor­ry­ingly high but much lower than the big cities. Vil­lagers round here don’t rely solely on gov­ern­ment num­ber crunch­ers, any more than we trust weather fore­cast­ers.

Lo­cal gossip is usu­ally ac­cu­rate, quicker than of­fi­cial sources and more in­ter­est­ing. Ev­i­dently, Skip­ton is a “hotspot”.

Nurses and other key work­ers live here, and peo­ple do talk. In­clud­ing my­self, which is why they say the three fastest forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion are: tele­phone, tele­graph and tell Rout­ledge.

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