Sunday, 22 March 2020

The Isolation Game

Hello dear readers!

Isn't it funny how the passage of time can pass by us in such a strange manner? I'm not talking about the way it tends to fly when you're having fun, or the way age lends us a fresh perspective which makes the 6 endless weeks of the school holidays pass by in an all-grown-up blur.

No, I'm talking about the way you can look back at something that seems like it was an age ago, and realise it was an age which lasted only a few weeks. I'm talking about how the orderly, plodding progress of such weeks can erupt into an ever-changing rush of current events.

I'm talking, of course, of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Home Front
It was, you see, only two weeks ago that I penned a post on this very blog regarding the virus and, looking back, I may have been just a little blasé in my response.

The whole world seems to have changed in those two weeks. We have daily briefings by the people who say they're in charge of the country. We have people fearing for their jobs, and their livelihoods. We have reports of ever growing numbers of the sick and the dead, reports which seem to be getting closer and closer to our own little homes.

In response to the quickly spreading threat, the human animal has shown both sides of its split personality. There have been stories which plumb the depths of man's iniquity to man. Chief among which, as I'm sure I don't need to tell you, is the panic buying, which seems to be spreading in its own little pandemic. The initial outbreak of shopping as a contact sport seems to have spread from a story that all toilet roll was made in China (spoiler: it isn't), and grown from there to a fear that total lock-down will become a reality, and we could all be left in out homes with nothing but that one tin of Jackfruit we don't know what to do with to eat (Just me?).

Indeed, although myself and my good lady wife, Tina have tried our best to stick with our usual shopping habits, the fact that the mob got there first means that, despite a couple of trips to local shops in the last few days, not one tin of tomatoes, not one egg, and of course not one bar of soap could be found.

Online shopping fared us no better. The items in question could be added to the basket with no problem, but delivery, well that was a different matter. At the last time of looking, some 3 or 4 days ago, the nearest available delivery slot was between 3 and 4pm... On the 14th of April.

Common Or Garden Decency
On the flip side, I have also heard some wonderful stories. Stories that give one hope in the human condition. Stories like the gardening firm which, in the face of a stupendous lack of demand, have offered their services to buy shopping on behalf of elderly people (cash on delivery, of course). They will no doubt be faced with the same lack of choice, but they may well save people a few bruises and allow them to stay safely away from the crowds.

Which brings me to the title of this post. The need to stay away from our friends, our families, and the world at large. This is especially important for the elderly and those with existing health conditions. Such people are classed as 'vulnerable' and it's a class I, as a result of my MS, and a lymphocyte count low enough to beat even the most talented limbo dancer, find myself stuck in the middle of.

It has meant a week of heavily restricted movement.The visits to the shop (I didn't go in), and one walk out with the dog, the only time your friendly neighbourhood blogger has left his four walls, and it will mean a good few more weeks of exactly the same. Now I'm not the most social of butterflies, and I don't mind my own company (or that of my wife, all that much), so one week in I feel that my mental health is as robust as my immune system is buggered. It's still better than the alternative, and I think that's what we all need to remember.

You see, it's not me, it's you.

No Superman
I don't mean you as the one person reading this blog now, but more of a collective you, all though that collective would still include any reader, so maybe I do. Yeah, I do. It's you. You have the power to save my life. In fact you have the power to save a lot of lives, and you don't need to be superman to do so.

All you need to do is to sit at home, watch a bit of telly, read a book, and maybe pop online. All you need to do is limit your social interactions. To keep your distance from others. To wash your hands frequently, and well. Do these things and we can limit the spread of this pandemic, but we need everyone to be doing it. We need every single person to be singing from the same hymn sheet, because if we don't, it will cost lives.

Now you might feel fine. You might not know a single person who's been coughing, or had a temperature. You might think the advice is fine, but surely it doesn't apply to such a paragon of health. I mean why should you be the one to suffer? Why should you be constrained?

Well, it goes like this. You feel fine, and the man you shared a lift with yesterday felt fine as well. Unbeknown to you however he had Coronavirus, but was yet to show any symptoms,He brushed past you, and now you have it too. In the next few days every person who comes in contact with you has a chance to contract the disease, and so does everyone they come in contact with, including all their family members. The disease makes it's merry way across the population, each person infecting 2 more until it reaches someone who is vulnerable and that person ends up in hospital fighting for their lives.

Life Saver
Left unchecked Coronavirus could be an absolute disaster, but to stress the point I made earlier, we have the power to stop it. Follow the advice. Do the things I mentioned above and the chain can be broken, and a life potentially saved. It might be a pain in the derriere but it won't be forever, and any inconvenience you suffer pales in comparison to someone fighting for their life on a ventilator.

Now, in my previous post on the matter, I said that this was not the end of the world. That there was no need to panic. I still believe this to be true.  That does not mean we should not act though. So I urge you, do it. Shop responsibly. Stay in. Watch telly. Go online. Be a hero... Save a life.

Until next time.

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