Coronavirus: Extracts from my Journal

COVID-19: Living in a coronavirus pandemic. 25 March 2020

These are strange and scary times as the COVID-19 pandemic grips the planet. As of yesterday, the UK is in lockdown. This means that nobody is allowed to leave their homes except to shop for food and medicines, to care for a vulnerable person, to exercise once a day or to go to work only if it isn’t possible to work from home. Prior to that, we were asked to carry out social distancing, a minimum of 2m from another person, with a ban on all gatherings. This pandemic is merciless, nobody could ever have imagined anything so frightening could happen in our lifetimes. The schools and universities closed last week for the majority of pupils, it’s highly unlikely any of them will return for a summer term, and exams have been cancelled.

On the positive side, we have been blessed with fabulous spring weather, and the lack of traffic means that the air is clean and the countryside is stunning! Nature is happily just getting on doing what it does best, undisturbed by human intervention. This is going to be a massive wake up call to humanity on a global scale. We will need to reassess how we live, travel, spend, abuse the planet and expect to be able to buy anything at any time of the day and have it delivered the next day, or sooner.

Many fantastic community initiatives have been set up to help those in need, the ones who can’t get out as they are having to self-isolate for the next 12 weeks. It’s unimaginable how everyone will get through it. Panic buying has been rife for the past two or three weeks and it’s virtually impossible to book food deliveries from supermarkets. There are also some heart-breaking stories of scams, thefts from doorsteps and violence towards the police trying to split up groups of people. But these are surely the minority, hopefully human nature will show its good side and overcome this terrifying pandemic?

27 March 2020

Day 4 of lockdown. Yesterday the death toll in the UK rose to 578, with 11,658 cases confirmed. Today, the Prime Minister and the Health Minister have both been confirmed as having contracted COVID-19, as well Prince Charles. For the first three days I went out to exercise, but today I’m feeling much more anxious about leaving the confines of the garden. Nobody knows who might be carrying the virus without knowing it and the risk feels ever-present.

It seems surreal that as little as two weeks ago we were laughing about the prospect of having to isolate for 12 weeks, now I wish we’d all taken it much more seriously. How strange it seems that our freedom to book holidays, meals out and trips to events has been taken away, and I can’t imagine when these are going to return. The estimate is for the virus to peak anytime from Easter until June, which is a terrifying prospect! I have tried to keep away from the news intentionally today as I’m finding it becomes overwhelming very quickly.

Working from home is proving quite difficult. It’s alarming how much we rely on contact with others and everything being in one place. But that is trivial compared to what many are experiencing: all the healthcare professionals, carers, emergency services, supermarket staff, and cleaners etc. who have no choice but to carry on, putting their lives at risk every day. Last night, at 8pm, the nation opened their doors and windows to clap and cheer for everyone who’s fighting to control this pandemic and keep us alive. It was a wonderful, moving collaboration.

30th March 2020

Week 2 of lockdown, and starting to feel more ‘normal’ as we all adjust to working remotely. Psychologically, we probably all feel more optimistic as the initial timescale is for three weeks, however it seems likely that it will be extended, which will be so demoralising.

There are very many profound words on social media, some great, some not so great, but these ones struck a chord:
“Whilst we spend time wondering when life will return to normal, think about which bits of normal we should return to.”

How true: we currently have drastically less pollution and enforced down-time; maybe we will come out of the other side as better human beings.

(The Kibworth Chronicle would be interested to hear your experiences of the past few weeks living in these unprecedented times; these will provide a useful archive for the future. The above are excerpts from a journal I have been keeping since the country went in to lockdown. If you have any thoughts or diary entries of your own that you would be willing to share – anonymously if you prefer – these would be most welcome. They can be from anybody of any age and tell how you have found the lockdown, home schooling, working from home, caring for loved ones, shopping and so on. Please include any relevant photos you would be happy to share. More information can be found here.)