Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Day 65, Week 10, Month 3 of Self Isolation.

The Numbers

545 new deaths taking the total to 35,341. However, the ONS estimates that this figure is closer to 44,000. 11,000 of these deaths have been in Care Homes.

The News

2 million people have registered as unemployed. The Chancellor has predicted the aftermath of the pandemic will bring a severe recession the likes of which we have never seen.

Solihull Council are the first Conservative council to defy government guidance for schools to go back on the 1st of June.

Donald Trump has been taking a malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a preventative treatment against the virus despite any evidence that it is effective.

The New Way of Life

A friend contacted me this morning to say that a small private health clinic in our village is offering an antibody test for £195 per person. She is considering getting it done for herself, her family and her daughter’s carers. Like us, they are all “shielding” (except the carers), as her daughter, like M, is one of the 1.8 million people deemed extremely vulnerable.

My first reaction, I have to be honest, was suspicion. Why would a private provider be offering a service that the NHS was not? Was it a legitimate test? If it was, what would it actually mean? There are always unscrupulous people who crawl out from under their stones at times this this and capitalise on the fear and vulnerability of others.

So, I made a few enquires and spoke to a few medical people I know. The consensus was that it probably is legitimate. They are a trustworthy organisation. They have been contracted by the health authorities to do this type of testing for the NHS. It’s just that they are not widely available to the general public yet. It’s also their prerogative to make some money by selling it to people who are prepared to pay rather than wait. However, there are purported to be other organisations who are selling the same test for half that price. So, it sounds like a valid test, if you are comfortable with the ethics of it only being available to people who can afford it. My friend believes that if you can pay you should, and take some of the pressure of the NHS.

But, what would such a test tell you and what would it mean? The only thing it would tell you for sure is whether you have had the virus and have antbodies. Antibodies can infer a degree of immunity at the point when the test is done. But, it does not guarantee immunity and no one knows how long any antibodies will be present for. So, it won’t allow you to think that you are “safe” and start getting out and about again. And, you could still transmit the virus to others, whether you got sick or not yourself. Lockdown and social distancing is about reducing community transmission not about self-protection.

But, for us, and M in particular, it would tell us if we have had the disease and didn’t get very sick and die. Again, no guarantee that if we got it again we wouldn’t get a more serious case. But, for me, it would remove some of the fear of certain death if M gets it. He’s not so sure and doesn’t really want to consider it at this time.

Been working on Zoom again today. Made a broth with Sunday’s bones. Went for a long walk in the sun. As usual, the day seemed to fly by.



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