The Spectator

How much food have we really been stockpiling?

How much food have we really been stockpiling?
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Time out

When did British workers start being ‘furloughed’? The word furlough is first recorded in the English language in 1625, believed to be derived from the Dutch verloffe, meaning a leave of absence of a sailor from the navy. It seems to have come back into parlance in Britain thanks to it being used in the US prison system to describe temporary leave for an inmate. It was the title of a 2018 American film in which a female prisoner is allowed out of jail for the weekend to visit her dying mother. The film was later renamed Time Out, perhaps because not everyone knew what ‘furlough’ meant. But to no avail — the film, which is reported to have cost $3 million to make, grossed just $8,472 at the US box office.

Taking stock

How much food have we been stockpiling? According to the British Retail Consortium UK shoppers have bought an extra £1 billion of food from supermarkets over the past three weeks. This works out at £15 per person. To put the £1 billion into context, the big supermarkets last year had the following sales:

Tesco | £64bn

Sainsbury’s | £29bn

Morrisons | £17.5bn

No respite

More than 400 people have now died from Covid-19 in Britain. How does this compare with the total number of deaths from respiratory disease? Latest weekly figures available:

Week ending | 2019 / 2020

7 February | 1,918 / 1,572

14 February | 1,931 / 1,586

21 February | 1,890 / 1,587

28 February | 1,786 / 1,517

Safe territory

Is any country still untouched by Covid-19?

UN member states not yet listed by the World Health Organization on Monday as having a single case:

— Belize; Botswana; Burundi

— Dominica

— Eritrea

— Guinea Bissau

— Kiribati

— Laos; Lesotho; Libya

— Malawi; Marshall Islands

— Micronesia; Mozambique

— Nauru

— Samoa; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia

— Sierra Leone; Solomon Islands

— Tajikistan; Tonga; Turkmenistan

— Vanuata