In a matter of weeks, the rapid spread of coronavirus has given us an unprecedented glimpse into how ready and able we are to handle a global health crisis. While doomers sit comfortably in their bunkers and people above ground fight for groceries and toilet roll like it’s Black Friday, others are praying for their loved ones and looking for ways to help their community. With human survival now top of the agenda, we’re seeing all shades of the best and worst in governments and people.
So yeah, I think I had the coronavirus. But I have no way of knowing for certain as here in the UK, unless you’re the Prime Minister, a Premier League football player, Idris Elba or hospitalised… you won’t be getting tested.
No need to rub the wax from your ears, you heard that right. As I understand it, the UK says it’s a capacity issue. But as the world is quickly learning, anything is possible, if only people think it’s important enough. Like a hot chick outside a nightclub, I’m thinking climate change just got bumped up the queue.
With offices, businesses and universities (finally) closing their doors, and the mass cancellation of flights, hotel rooms and events, surely this government too could rally its resources behind the urgent need for greater testing? We don’t send soldiers out to war without bullets, and yet the brave NHS workers on the frontlines of this epic battle are also having to petition for testing?! What the…
UK, I am disappoint. Honestly, for me it feels like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Because coming after the recent never-ending Brexit shitshow, my tolerance for British political clusterfucks was already in the negative.
Just a Flu?
I have no choice but to self-diagnose here, but whatever I had literally followed all the coronavirus symptoms step-by-step. It started with a very sore throat and high fever, was followed by a persistent dry cough and shortness of breath, and ended with chest tightness, lung pain, phlegm and possible pneumonia.
That’s when it got a little scary. Assuming I had coronavirus, had it continued to worsen, the virus could have caused permanent, irreversible damage to my lungs. While I was monitoring my situation, I read a report that by the time most patients enter the hospital they typically have 50% lung fibrosis, the equivalent of losing a lung! And so for those, like me, who think to wait until it’s really bad, by then it would be too late.
This information scared the bejesus out of me and so I called for immediate force majeure in my household. Up until that point, I was still taking care of our 10 month old baby as my husband had a lot going on at work. But as I was running on fumes and with no medication for my situation, I figured that fluids and rest was literally my best and only shot at recovery. So to fight this thing, this deadly imposter dressed up as mere ‘flu,’ I needed it in buckets.
And so that’s what I did. I slept, I rested, I drank only hot water – the only thing I found soothing – took daily vitamin C – it’s supposed to help – swallowed a lot of paracetamol – because the verdict is still out on that ibuprofen story – and within a few days, I started to feel better!
Of course I called 111 – but no one answered. Instead I got a recorded message saying there was a wait time of over an hour to get through and to visit the website before it hung up. So I went online, filled out a form, and actually did get a call back.
The woman on the other end of the line asked me two key questions: 1. Had I travelled in the last 14 days? Or in the last month? No and no. 2. Had I been in contact with a confirmed case? Well, to my knowledge, no. OK, she said, at this time, you’re not a probable case of the coronavirus. Oh, I’m not?
That’s possibly the worst, stupidest advice I’ve ever heard. Because anyone with flu-like symptoms, especially those with a fever and a continuous, persistent dry cough could probably almost definitely have it. If only there was a test to be sure…
Here’s the deal, 111 is bullshit. 111 isn’t going to help you. As far as the coronavirus is concerned, 111 doesn’t exist. The only thing you can do is wait it out, pray, and if that doesn’t work and you feel your breathing is increasingly compromised, call 999. It’s an emergency.
I remember watching the news as the first videos of self-isolation circulated from Wuhan. People were literally being locked up in their homes, an entire hospital was built, and at night a chorus of people shouted and sung words of encouragement to each other from skyscraper balconies.
Like most things on the news, it looked like a them problem. Whatever was going on in Wuhan seemed so far removed from everything else that I never imagined it would come to this, here, everywhere.
Since this thing started whizzing around the world faster than a celebrity sex tape, it’s now a global pandemic, with each of us called upon to do our bit to help stop the spread. Social distancing, strict hygiene and hand washing and #Staythefuckhome are just some of the ways that me and you can help protect each other.
Unfortunately, not everyone can work from home, while many don’t have the money or space to stock up on enough supplies to see them through. So if you’re not sick and know someone who could use your help, an elderly neighbour, your cleaner, family or friends, you could make a real difference.
I’m not a doomer, but… my husband is. My husband was already prepared for an isolation event because he’s just that kind of guy. He’s the guy who always travels with a special tool that can cut through a seatbelt in a flash, carries a flashlight and portable phone charger, and packs about 5 kg of survival crap whenever we go hiking, including 1 litre of water for every 30 minutes of the hike. That’s just my boo.
However, since Boris suggested that the UK could experience months of lockdown, I’ve watched online supermarket delivery slots go from days, to weeks to completely unavailable. Which. Is. Not. Helping. Anyone! A wave of panic buying has left supermarket aisles empty with some people desperate to look out for number one at the expense of others.
Unfortunately, this behaviour does more harm than good. We all understand the rational need to buy more food and staples in the face of such uncertainty, but there is a lot of irrationality regarding just how much is necessary.
Supermarkets are now appealing for their customers to think of others and buy only what they need. Meanwhile, many restaurants are still offering delivery services as they try to stay afloat. So if you can order out instead, you could help ease supermarket demand while supporting local businesses. Luckily for us, HelloFresh are still delivering, saving our lives yet again.
Indeed, these are crazy times. For a lucky few, this crisis will mean nothing more than a couple of weeks of take-out and staying home watching Netflix. While for many others it’s so much more than that. From losing your job to losing your loved ones, the coronavirus is set to impact us all.
Have you been affected by the coronavirus?
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