Coronavirus Blog

Unprecedented times. This is a collection of my thoughts, feelings and experiences recorded during the coronavirus outbreak 2019-2020.  Please do not take the posts as medical advice and always follow the guidance of your government and medical advisor. 

 

Feel free to comment with your experiences - it would be great to hear stories from around the world whilst most of us are either socially-distant, isolated or quarantined.

 

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Work is Strange

Posted on 27th March, 2020

Its a few days into the more stern restrictions issued by our government and in that time, I have been noted as a key worker, providing emergency eye care at a local optometry practice for a few hours a week.  Despite my training to manage emergency care, most of my time has been trying to sort through the deluge of patient queries regarding their glasses on order or managing their supplies of contact lenses at this unusual time.  It really has made me appreciate the work of reception staff - I already knew they were the ones keeping my clinics ticking over, but they do an incredible job. The amount of paperwork involved in having to do things away from your usual method soon mounts up!

 

3 piles of paperwork

A near accurate representation of my desk right now (Image Source: Pixabay)

 

I am currently thankful that I have not seen any emergency patients and that face to face consults have been near an absolute zero.  I have washed my hands with soap so often, I feel like I don't have much skin left on my hands to wash - and the hand sanitiser we are using so frequently may result in the rest of my hands being about 60% proof!

 

2 red hands from scrubbingRed hands due to repeated hand washing and sanitiser (Image Source: eyesonjason)

 

 

Many patients have been incredibly grateful of what service we are providing and understand delays in the chain regarding their glasses and lenses.  I just hope their tolerance and patience continues as we move deeper into the crisis. 

 

We have also been given news that self-employed workers, such as myself, may be eligible for a taxable grant in the near future. Hopefully this will alleviate the financial worry that is above my head right now. After a recent house purchase and a wedding to pay for (which has been postponed), we have been watching our cash outflow carefully and we hope this will provide some relief in our worries. 

 

A pile of coins representing the taxable grant for self employed workersIt may not be a lot, but during a crisis a small amount of money or relief is gratefully received

(Image Source: Pixabay)

 

In other news our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has today stated that he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is now self isolating. They are saying it is likely that many of us have already been infected by the virus and it will be a matter of time before we will see the implications if this is true.  In my honest opinion, if we have been massively exposed to this virus worldwide, the numbers of critical are low and the death rate will be much lower as there has to be millions without symptoms if this is true. That said, I am still taking this to be our plague and will do everything in my power to prevent myself from either catching the virus or spreading it to others.  To anyone reading this during the crisis, please STAY AT HOME, PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE and STAY SAFE!

 

Tonight we are expecting a food delivery that we ordered about 3 weeks ago. Sadly, most of our list has been substituted or is missing due to it being out of stock. Hannah is devastated as they won't be delivering some icing sugar for a birthday cake she had planned for me tomorrow. I'm just grateful to be spending a day trapped indoors with my fiancee - there will be plenty more time for cake when this passes. 

 

An example of some of the content created for businesses available free of charge (Source: eyesonjason)

 

I'll be planning to do some VFx videos in the near futures and basing it around the crisis - so fingers crossed it will help provide some light relief! That is in addition to some social media posts that will be made FREE OF CHARGE to any business that need them in surviving the situation and helping in their recovery when this passes. More details soon!

 

Take care!

A Taste of Dystopia

Posted on 25th March, 2020

The second day of the three-week lockdown has started. Non-essential retail units, pubs, restaurants and everything that encourges social interactions have been ordered to close. We have been urged to remain in our homes unless we have an essential reason to leave them. These essential reasons are:

  • To attend ESSENTIAL work (healthcare, supermarket workers and other key workers)
  • Shopping for basic necessities (infrequently and as quickly as possible)
  • A SINGLE form of outdoor exercise (such as a walk or cycle) per day
  • For any medical need or to care for a vulnerable person
  • To donate blood.

There are a few more caveats to the above and the Guardian document the concerns here.

 

It is very odd to see the news and most television channels have a good hour (plus) discussing the virus and its effects. Economies have tanked and everyone is concerned for our futures. 

 

On Friday (20/03/2020) we had what we think may have been our last takeaway.  We arrived during the social-distancing measures and saw a sign on the door. We were told we needed to call our order to the takeaway, before given a number. We were NOT allowed on to the premises. The man who took the order then had to write a number on a board (I think it was his toddler son's reusuable doodle box) and when our number was shown, we had to pay the correct money through the crack in the door. An elderly gentleman, who didn't seem to have a mobile took his order through the window. It was very unusual and somewhat unsettling experience. 

 

a man ordering a takeaway through the window of the restaurant due to coronavirus 

 

Work for me has been very odd over the last week. If anyone has followed my "Eyes on Eye Care" or knows me personally, I have strongly promoted the importance of regular eye examinations and dissuaded obtaining contact lens specifications without a check up. This has been forced on its head - as on Monday (23/03/2020) we were advided to stop all routine eye examinations by our optical bodies. One of my clients have utitlised me to help run a very reduced clinic - helping with eye health emergencies (such as sudden vision loss, flashes and floaters, double vision and eye pain) to help keep them away from the higher footfall areas of the hospitals. It will not be enough to keep the bills paid, but think the move to emergency eye care only will help those who really need help with their vision in this time and to help stop the spread of the virus. The government are looking to provide help for self-employed individuals such as me - so hopefully we will be ok moving forward. But it really is worrying times. 

 

I'm not sure what I have planned for today - I really want to do some more visual effects to practice and have thought of a "Wizard in Lockdown" to provide others some light relief and to give me something to do. On top of this, I am hoping to produce some social media images/GIFs/videos for small businesses (free of charge) to help them alert their followers that they are back open for business (when the time comes!).

 

How are you finding the lockdown so far? What are your thoughts on the virus outbreak? I'd love to hear from others who have their own stories to tell during these very uncertain and unusual times.

 

 

Introduction and the Start of Lockdown

Posted on 24th March, 2020

In December 2019, a virus that caused severe pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, first was noted in the city of Wuhan, China. It was alarming to read about, as it was initially deemed to be covered up by the Chinese authorities, but unfortunately spread too quickly and with too many deaths that news broke internationally. A good site to read more about the origin of the virus can be found on Vox.

 

Through strict and draconian measures to keep people quarantined in their homes, China was able to get a grasp on the overwhelming numbers that came from the rapid spread that occurred in Wuhan. Pockets of infections were reported in different areas of China and slowly but surely reports were coming in from different countries to say that they had cases of the disease. 

 

Iran and South Korea were the next to see rapid spread and Iran's death toll rocked the world. South Korea's efforts were commended by the world as they quickly introduced methods to contain and track cases, offering accessible tests for the disease. Italy was the next to face exponential growth of cases. Their death toll horrified the world and many parts were quickly forced into lockdown and some areas quarantined. As of today, daily deaths in Italy are still approximately in the region of 600 (6077 total to date). 

 

The UK and USA have been very slow in reacting to these alarming signs. Whilst many countries were shutting down their borders and restricting ways it could transmit, the UK went through a very different (and dangerous) plan of encouraging herd-immunity (letting all those likely to get it, get it and recover, whilst keeping the vulnerable in isolation). When it was revealed that this idea would overrun the National Health Service and that thousands would needlessly die, the idea to implement social distancing came into force.

 

The UK public, following the Brexit fiasco, don't generally take too kindly to doing what people who know better than they do tell them to do and this resulted in mass gatherings in pubs, public transport, landmarks, attractions and restaurants - completely defeating the point of the social-distancing measures. It was last night (23/03/2020) where the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, declared a partial lockdown - highly restricting movement and encouraging people to stay in their homes. This comes after several days of 40-50 deaths per day and mass outrage at people ignoring the guidance to socially distance. This was his address to the UK last night:

 

 

So, given that we are in partial lockdown, a lot of us have a lot more free time on our hands. Many of us currently welcome the news of the lockdown, but we are also worried about our jobs and livlihoods. This compounds on top of the worries of our own health, the health of our loved ones and facing the prospect of being isolated away from our families. 

 

This is likely to be the story of our generation - the way the wars were the tales of our grandparents. I aim to keep this blog updated to record our piece of the story that will go down in history as one of humanity's most desperate times. Feel free to share your story and experiences in the comments.