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Saturday, 18 April 2020

Questions about Covid-19 and the lockdown

We're now almost four weeks into the lockdown and in some ways, it's beginning to feel like normal. We've managed to largely find ways of making life work, though nothing takes away the desire to see family and friends, and to go for a walk on the beach.

As the time ticks by, I find myself with so many questions. If you have answers for any of my questions, please feel free to comment.

The virus

Q. Why is there such a huge spectrum of symptoms from the same virus? We're told that older people and those with health conditions are more vulnerable, which seems to often be true... but then... Some very old and/or people with underlying conditions get a mild version and/or recover. Some young, healthy people die. Scientifically, there must be reasons for this. What is going on?

Q. How long does the virus live on different surfaces? We know that it can live for 3 days on most hard surfaces, hence the need for constant hand washing. Does the ground count as a hard surface? Assuming that infected droplets fall to the ground within 2m of you breathing them out, is the ground covered in the virus now? Most people will barely think about this. I know some are taking their shoes off before entering their home. That is almost impossible for me though. I have two large wheels with pushrims, two front casters and four paws that have all been in constant contact with the ground. What is the risk here? 


Q. Why is there so much conflicting advice? The government has issued some rules, which seem okay, except that they are a little bit vague. Police forces have all interpreted these differently and issued a mixture of official and unofficial guidance, some sensible, some not. There is a fine line between people trying to find loopholes to justify going out and those whose circumstances are not standard, trying to work out how to get through this.  It would be so much easier if there was more clarity.

Q. Has anyone thought about cars? I know this seems a strange question but I am concerned that when this is all over, we're going to all have problems with our cars. I have a diesel. Diesel cars are designed for long runs and motorway-type driving. When barely used and only doing short runs to the supermarket, they begin to object. We know this from Neil's dad. Neil had a lovely Ford Mondeo diesel. We never had any problems with it. When we changed cars, Neil's dad bought it from us, but he didn't drive much and mainly stayed local. The next time we drove that car, it was awful. I took off, one holiday, with two small children and chugged and bounced around the M25, with black smoke puffing out of the back. I have never been so scared in all my life! I really want to take my car for a longer drive every couple of weeks, to keep it healthy. Obviously the health of my car doesn't matter to anyone else, but like Liggy, it is crucial to my independence, and I am acutely aware that a breakdown situation for me is far more complicated to deal with than for most other people.


Q. Couldn't people who are known to have had the virus and recovered, go back to normal life? I don't know many people who have had it. In Yorkshire, the numbers are thankfully still relatively low. However, in London, it would appear that many people have had it. Certainly, we know there are over 100,000 people in the country who have tested positive. Couldn't they be given some kind of ID card that allows them to go out again as normal?

I also have lots of personal questions, about how to deal with this situation as a wheelchair user, how to balance staying safe with staying healthy, how to keep Liggy safe and healthy, and about plans we had for later in the year. 

There's a lot of people on social media, being quite harsh with the message about staying at home. It's easy for those with no additional needs to follow the rules to the letter and just stay at home, and exercise from home, etc. Most people can take a variety of routes from their home to go for a 30 minute walk. I have one or two options... only one that is really safe and doable. I get that preventing the spread of Covid-19 is important but walking around a cemetery every day for a month, staring death in the face every time I leave the house... I am beginning to find that quite depressing. I'm trying to focus on the positives... on life and nature... but there's only so many squirrels and pigeons to see there. The number of fresh graves being dug is more 'in your face'. 

On a more positive note, we were doing some work in the front garden yesterday (quite rare) and got chatting (at an appropriate distance) to a neighbour. It emerged that the guy makes hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial soap. I joked that at least they should always have some. At this, he asked if we needed any, and then proceeded to give us enough to get us through the next few weeks (maybe months). For those that are under the impression that I always refuse help... you're wrong. I refuse un-needed help but when someone offers something that I really need, I say a huge thank you and gratefully accept. 

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