Home Cameras/Lenses Leica Britons supporting the National Health Service in any way they can

Britons supporting the National Health Service in any way they can


Last night at 8 pm was the national “Clap for Carers” moment here in Britain. Tens of millions of people came onto their balconies or stood outside their houses to applaud the efforts of all involved in fighting the disease. It won’t have done much directly, but as an example of a common purpose, it is hard to beat. It was certainly a morale booster at a very gloomy time in the history of the world.

Last week, the National Health Service (NHS) made a call for 250,000 volunteers to help support badly stretched social services. To everyone’s surprise, no fewer than half a million people registered within 24 hours. The target has now been raised to 750,000 and no one would be surprised to find the figure soon nudging towards one million. That’s a lot of extra hands to help free up those more skilled in the direct treatment of patients.

Select a task

These volunteers will be selecting tasks, just like an Uber driver, that they think they can manage. They can be on-call or off-call in their phone apps. Some will be ferrying older people to pharmacies or hospital appointments, others will be taking (perhaps prematurely) discharged general patients home from the hospital and ensuring that they are settled in.

A major part of the operation is looking after the estimated 1.5 million vulnerable people who are living alone, self-isolating and unable to go out even for groceries. The government is preparing food parcels containing a week’s supply for all those who are isolated and without family or friends to help. Another task for the new model volunteer army.

Call for a chat

A further vital component and one which shouldn’t be underestimated is the psychological support that is becoming increasingly necessary in a country in lockdown. Volunteers will be contacting isolated people, particularly the elderly living alone, to chat and provide encouragement. Most of this activity will be over the telephone or via video link, so people who are also in vulnerable groups, such as those over 70 but otherwise healthy, are taking up this challenge and simply calling and chatting to others.

Another interesting communal initiative which has taken off in the past few days is a simple monitoring application which has already gathered information from over a million people. Simply download the application, register basic details, including whether or not you have been tested, and then report your status daily — either all well and good or, if not well, you can list your symptoms.

In this way, the researchers, including teams from Kings College London and Guy’s and St.Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre, are now gaining a much clearer insight into the progress of COVID-19 in the UK. I have no doubt that similar initiatives are underway in other countries.

Statistics, statistics and more damned statistics

Within a few days, the responses indicate that ten per cent of people who register are showing symptoms. While this is a self-assessment system and thus subject to bias, it does appear to demonstrate that the number of cases is far more than official figures show (in this country the statistics are based largely on testing of individuals who find themselves in hospital, thus by nature high-risk). By simple extrapolation, these new figures could indicate that nearly seven million people could have been exposed.

UPDATE: By mid-day on Thursday, March 26, a total of 1.3 million people had registered, representing nearly 2% of the population of the United Kingdom.

The good thing, however, is that this undoubted wider circulation of the virus will help put the death rate into a more accurate perspective. The more the scientists know about this disease — and the research project is a vital component — the better we will be able to respond.

Register now

If you live in the UK and haven’t yet registered for the project, I encourage you to do so now. There are application versions for Android and iPhone and registration process is very simple. I now have a routine of opening the app every morning and reporting my status — so far well and good.

The more people who take part, the more information the responders will have and the closer we come to understand how this virus spreads and what proportion of the population has been infected. Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just been tested positive and, as we know from earlier in the week, the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, is now recovering from, presumably, relatively mild symptoms.

In addition to this, however, there is the factor of asymptomatic infection which is harder to track. With mass antibody testing expected within weeks, this aspect should become clearer and can only add to the information bank, putting the national rates for infection and deaths more into perspective.

Details of the COVID Symptom Tracker system, including how to download the applications.


  1. .
    “..I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!””
    – Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch), writer: Paddy Chayefsky, ‘Network’ (1976)

  2. Yep we all did our clapping, as did many friends who are recovering, or suffering from Covid 19.

    Mike – I encourage people who are in a position to support this, to do so.

    I do have a question though, what is the viewfinder bolted to your Leica X2?

    This virus is indiscriminate, so please do support the NHS if you are fit, able and capable to do so.

    • That is the Leica EV-2 viewfinder which was the big USP of the X2 over the X1. It is the same viewfinder as used on the M240 and X Vario. The later Visoflex arrived in 2015 with the T.

      • I have been pondering a visoflex for x typ 113 – darn you Gerlach. But really dont understand what would work with it, or what is the best option – and given I have a silver one I accept a black ugly lump might end up bolted to the top of it. But hey at least it will give me a viewfinder for the camera.

          • Not sure, I think it defo takes the visioflex 020, as that seems to turn up in many reviews – oddly Reddot have a couple of used ones for sale, or a new one if I fancy new.

            My wallet is itchy now. hmmm

            Good job they are offline.

          • The VF2 wasn’t actually referred to as Visoflex, although that is presumably what the VF stands for. It is the same one as on my X2 which is fortunate since it is cheaper on the used market than the more recent Visoflex (which has a round front aspect without the LEICA instruction. You can also buy an Olympus version which is identical but cheaper. Both these older finder are nearly ten years old in design. They are adequate but not as good as the new Visoflex. An alternative is the Brightline 36mm OVF as discussed in Wayne’s article.

  3. Hi Dave – the X typ 113 takes the Visoflex 020 – the one that fits the Tl. TL2 and the CL, as well as the M10. It’s not the same as the eve for the X, X2, and X Vario.

    • Dave ..Leica’s own UK website says that the X 113 takes “Visoflex (Typ 020), black
      £420.00” ..uh, uh, oooh! ..Wow – that’s a bit pricey! ..I got one from Ivor for £300 a while ago (it’s the same electronic finder as for the M10). And I see one, too, for really silly money on eBay “From Japan” at £765.69..! ..Are they in that short supply or something?

      Of course, there’s also “LEICA 020-448-057-000 ARM LOAD LIFT#1 TO FLAT-FINDER 6 HOLDER Brand new £55.46 From United States” (..but I suspect that may be something completely different!)

      Keep well, everyone, and don’t talk to strangers ..even if they’re only friends you haven’t yet met ..sorry; typo: I meant to write “don’t talk to stranglers..”

      • Hi Guys,

        Thank you ever so much for the information, guidance and wisdom.

        Ivor still has a couple for £300 David, so I will go and inspect the Seargeant coffers and see what I can do for when trading resumes again. This will be a new experiment using my first LCD viewer on my X typ 113.

        Cabin Fever starting to set in – I worked this morning, and walked this afternoon – this is not fun, but necessary. I miss my freedom to come and go as I please in the free time I have.

        Roll getting the camera’s out and enjoying something like normality.

        Best wishes.


        • You’ll enjoy the visoflex. My EVF for the X2 is always attached to the camera and you’ll appreciate the fact that it’s tiltable and avoids lying flat on the ground at times
          make the best of a lockdown weekend

          • Cheers – I was thinking of reading the diaries of Rudolph Hess the Spandau years, now that I am starring in them.

            Friday –
            “Woke up this morning, and saw a man in a surgical mask reversing his car.”

            Saturday –
            “Woke up this morning, and saw a man in a surgical mask reversing his car.”

            Sunday –
            “Woke up this morning, no car, hail stones like golf balls bouncing up the street.”

            Roll on Monday. Can’t wait to get cabin fever – can anyone help with identifying the symptoms.

  4. Just to send you all my very best hopes from NY inferno ; be well and observe social distance – not what Ive been observing on Boris and his cabinet – not what I see on Trump’s own telecasts. So — 6 ft only – that means rangefinder street photo distance!!

    • Thanks, Tony, on behalf of all Macfilos readers and contributors. Most of us seem to be in lockdown at the moment and it’s something I don’t think any of us could have foreseen just a few weeks ago. Our best wishes to you, also. Mike & Co.

    • Yep – we are currently ending week 1 of lockdown, not fun, I have never spent this much time not doing something of interest – usually work, or photography.

      I even have a string of articles titled up and awaiting the events that will fit them – yes I write some stuff in advance of doing it – so at least I have a thread. And I have a series of events that once we get out of this lockdown I can book up, go and do, and then report back. And it is different stuff to what you are all used to from me.

      Hang in there Tony, we Europeans are all with you. We will all look back on this period as being defining. Our tech, our knowledge even our wit and wisdom couldn’t protect us from this – the most basic organism on the planet more or less wipes a section of us out. Even Bill Gates warned us four years ago this was the next big thing to happen, and we took no notice of Uncle Bill. (see his youtube leadership speech where he said a virus will effectively wipe us out if we do not prepare for it). We didnt prepare, we didnt listen. That is the most telling thing for me.


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