Coronavirus Diary: My Initial Thoughts

We are currently in the midst of a global health pandemic.

COVID-19 has swept through the planet, leaving a trail of fear and death in its wake. The most powerful countries in the world are struggling to contain the virus, and citizens are advised to stay inside their homes unless absolutely necessary. Supermarket shelves are empty, schools are closed and the hospitals are completely overwhelmed with patients.

Sounds like the plot to a post-apocalyptic movie, right?

Unfortunately, the coronavirus is all too real.

Every morning I wake up to headlines that are almost impossible to believe. I ask myself, how can it get any worse? Then I look at Italy, and I see a horrifying future looming just ahead of us here in the United Kingdom.

I have little confidence in Boris Johnson’s ability to curb this virus and keep us all safe. In my eyes he should have acted sooner, instead of wasting time with his ‘herd immunity’ plan which would have killed upwards of 250,000 people if left unchecked.

Even now, our government’s actions seem impossibly slow. It took them far too long to close schools, and they are merely advising people to stay home instead of actively enforcing a quarantine. It’s only a matter of time until the coronavirus completely overwhelms our NHS, and then we really will be in trouble.

A total lockdown may sound scary, but it’s far better than the alternative.

We need to close ranks around the elderly and vulnerable, and that involves staying home unless it is absolutely essential. I care deeply for a number of people who are particularly susceptible to the effects of the coronavirus, and it’s impossible not to worry about them. Each of us has a responsibility to do everything we can in order to protect our most vulnerable members of society. If that means my life needs to be put on hold for a few months, then so be it.

I know how lucky I am compared to most people. I’m young and healthy, so I feel pretty confident in my ability to fight off this virus if I’m unfortunate enough to catch it. I have the budget (and the pantry space!) to stock up on food and essentials to ensure that we are well-fed during this period of self-isolation. I’m also self-employed, making it easy for me to work from home without having to worry about money issues.

I’m very grateful for my position, but I still can’t shake this feeling of worry and uncertainty.

When I began to prepare for my wedding earlier this year, I didn’t anticipate that a global pandemic would bring my well-laid plans screeching to a halt. I’ve had to cancel dress appointments, delay the registry process and press pause on making any commitments with vendors. As you can imagine, it hasn’t been fun.

When this whole thing first started, the thought of postponing our wedding felt unthinkable. I cried, I resisted and I even threw a few tantrums (sorry Elliott!)

But this last week has given me a lot more perspective. I’ve managed to snap out of my privilege and realise that our wedding is completely insignificant compared to what the entire world is currently going through.

Thankfully, Elliott had the foresight to take out wedding insurance before things got too crazy. But I’m still holding out hope, as our wedding isn’t until November!

Here in London, life has changed drastically during the past week. It’s becoming more difficult to buy food and cleaning supplies, and I haven’t left my apartment in almost a week. Like many people, I’ve developed a phobia of getting sick. Every little cough or sniffle sets me on edge. I bleach our surfaces daily, and disinfect every single package that comes to the door before it is allowed into our sterile apartment. My hands are dry and red after being washed multiple times a day (no, I am not singing Happy Birthday twenty times a day!)

As I write this, we currently have 32 confirmed cases in my London borough. However, there are so few tests being conducted that I’m sure the number is more likely to be in the hundreds or even thousands.

I’m sure you’re very aware of the actions that we need to take in order to stay safe and healthy. But just in case, I’ve listed them below!

This list is taken from the official NHS website and is correct as of 19/03/20.

DO

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus
  • Only travel on public transport if you absolutely need to
  • Work from home, if you can
  • Avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas
  • avoid events with large groups of people
  • Use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services

DON’T

  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • Do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family

I hope I can look back at this post one day and breathe a sigh of relief. But for now, I’ll continue to shelter in my apartment and take comfort in the words of others.

“When this is over, may we never again take for granted a handshake with a stranger or full shelves at the grocery store. May we never again try to rush a conversation with a neighbour or dread a large gathering to celebrate with family or friends.

When this is over, may we never again rush our children out of the car in our hurried morning routine or forget to breathe in the crisp fall air in a stadium full of roaring fans.

When this ends and our normal routines have returned, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be all along. And may we stay that way – better for each other because of what we survived together.”

Stay safe and stay healthy. As a planet, we will get through this.

One thought on “Coronavirus Diary: My Initial Thoughts

  1. Hi Jenna.

    Such a poignant post. I’d like to add that we should all schedule times when we will catch up with the news not constantly checking. I can relate to the resistance of having to put plans on hold but that also passes! It sounds as though you are doing your upmost to protect yourself and others.
    Lots of love xxxx

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