COVID -19. The facts so far.

Today, I just want to summarise chronologically, for the record, the facts so far, mainly from a UK and personal perspective.

Apologies, that it’s a bit of a marathon read. It’s mainly for me and posterity, you don’t need to read it.

From now on, I will report facts and developments as they occur on a daily basis.

December

December 31, 2019
WHO notified of first cases of unexplained pneumonia- like illness in Wuhan, China.

January

January 3, 2020
44 suspected cases reported. All centred around Huanan seafood market.

January 4, 2020
We fly out to Barbados for a 3 week holiday.

January 7, 2020
New coronavirus 2019-nCoV identified as the cause.

January 9, 2020
1st death reported.

January 13, 2020
1st case in Thailand – unrelated to the seafood market.

January 15, 2020
2nd death in China

January 16, 2020
1st case in Japan – unrelated to seafood market.

We begin to follow the situation from Barbados – half-joking about what we will do if we get trapped in Barbados is a world pandemic is declared.

January 17, 2020
2nd case in Thailand.

January 19, 2020
204 cases and 3 deaths in China.

January 20, 2020
1st case in South Korea – unrelated to seafood market.

January 21, 2020
WHO confirms human-to-human transmission.
220 case worldwide and 4 deaths in China.

January 22, 2020
580 cases and 17 deaths in China.

January 23, 2020
China introduces some early lockdown measures in Wuhan and two other cities.
1 case in Singapore and 2 in Vietnam.

January 24, 2020
New cases in Japan, US and Nepal.
1287 cases in China and 41 deaths.

January 25, 2020
Cases reported in Australia, France, Malaysia and Canada
1975 cases in China and 56 deaths.

January 26, 2020
2801 cases in China and 80 deaths.

January 27, 2020
Cases reported in Cambodia, Germany and Sri Lanka.
Worldwide 4580 cases of which 4515 are in China. 106 deaths.

We return home from Barbados.

January 28, 2020
5974 cases in China with 132 deaths. Over 6000 cases worldwide.

January 29, 2020
Finland and United Arab Emirates report first cases.
Global cases 7816 with 170 deaths in China.

January 30, 2020
Cases reported in the Philippines and India.
9692 cases in China with 213 deaths.

UK risk level raised from low to moderate.

January 31, 2020
Cases reported in Russia, Spain, Sweden and UK.
2 cases reported in visiting Chines citizens in York.

Public Health information campaign launched advising “Catch it, bin it, kill it” and handwashing.

February

February 1, 2020
14,380 cases in china with over 300 deaths.

February 2, 2020
1st death outside China in the Philippines.
Global cases 17,386 with 362 deaths.

February 3, 2020
Global cases 20,625 with 426 deaths.
UK develop prototype specific laboratory test.

February 4, 2020
Global cases over 24,000 with 492 deaths.

February 5, 2020
Global cases over 28,000 with 565 deaths.
10 cases reported on a cruise ship in Japan, the Diamond Princess, giving Japan the second highest total after China with 35.

February 6, 2020
China 31,161 cases with 636 deaths.
Elsewhere, 310 cases with 2 deaths.

3rd UK case in Brighton. – Super-spreader contracts infection at a conference in Singapore, then travels to France on a skiing trip, where he infects 5 others that he shared a chalet with.

February 7, 2020
Diamond Princess in Japan reports 61 cases.
Unconfirmed reports of cases in North Korea.
Wuhan doctor, Li Wenliang, who first tried to raise the alarm in December, dies from 2019-nCoV.
1st contact from French chalet tests positive bringing UK total to 4.

We have some new blinds fitted that were made in China and the fitter’s wife has just returned from China. They give us a complementary pack of Jelly Beans. M won’t eat them so I do!

February 9, 2020
Global deaths exceed 800, surpassing those from the SARS epidemic in 2003/2004.

February 10, 2020
UK declares 2019-nCoV an imminent threat to Public Health giving them the power to forcibly quarantine people.
Global deaths exceed 900, surpassing those from the MERS epidemic in 2012.
4 new cases in UK bringing total to 8 – all 4 are contacts from the French chalet. 2 of whom are healthcare professionals.

February 11, 2020
WHO names the virus as COVID-19.
Deaths exceed 1000.

M starts a month-long course of inhaled tobramycin, twice a day every day.

February 12, 2020
175 cases on the Diamond Princess.

February 13, 2020
Spike in cases in China to 14,840, but thought to reflect increased testing activity.
9th UK case – a woman in London who was infected in China.

February 14, 2020
China reports that 1716 health workers have been infected with 6 deaths.
First African case reported in Egypt.

February 15, 2020
France reports 1st death.

February 16, 2020
1st death in Taiwan, 5th outside China.

February 18, 2020
92 cases in 12 countries outside China.

February 19, 2020
Iran reports 1st case.
Global deaths exceed 2000.

February 20, 2020
Iran 5 cases with 2 deaths.
South Korea 104 cases.
1076 cases in 26 countries outside China with 7 deaths.

February 21, 2020
Rapid spread in Iran. 18 cases and 4 deaths in 2 days.
500 cases in 4 prisons in China.

February 22, 2020
30 Britons brought home from Diamond Princess and placed in quarantine.

February 23, 2020
340 cases reported in South Korea related to a religious group.
Italy reports the largest outbreak outside China.
4 of the people from the Diamond Princess test positive bringing the UK total to 13.

February 24, 2020
Cases in South Korea exceed 700.
Cases in China begin to slow.
Cases reported in Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Oman.

February 25, 2020
2nd African case in Algeria.
Cases reported in Switzerland, Croatia and Austria.

February 26, 2020
First South American case in Brazil.
Cases reported in Greece, Georgia, North Macedonia, Norway, Romania and Pakistan.
More new cases outside China than inside.
Every continent affected except Antarctica.

I develop the start of a mild virus. Headache, joint pains and dizziness. I don’t even think for a moment that it might be COVID-19 and still don’t, but who knows? It lasts about a week.

February 27, 2020
3,474 cases in 44 countries with 54 deaths outside China.
Cases reported in Denmark, Estonia, San Marino, and the Netherlands.
3 more UK cases bringing total to 13. Two travelled from Italy and one from Tenerife, where they contracted the virus.

February 28, 2020
Cases in Nigeria, New Zealand, Belarus, Mexico, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Ireland, and Iceland.
WHO raises risk of global spread to “very high”.
38 countries have initiated travel restrictions.
UK cases jumps to 20, including the first person to catch the virus within the UK.

February 29, 2020
Cases in Ecuador, Qatar, Monaco, and Luxembourg.
UK cases 23.

March

March 1, 2020
South Korea and Italy have the most cases outside of China, with
3,736 cases and 1,128 cases respectively.
Cases reported in Czech Republic, Iceland, Armenia and The Dominican Republic.
UK cases 35.
1st case in Scotland.

March 2, 2020
Cases in Indonesia, Senegal, Portugal, Andorra, Latvia, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.
March 3, 2020
Cases in Ukraine, Argentina, and Chile.
UK cases 39.

March 4, 2020
1st case in Poland.
UK cases 87.

March 5, 2020
Cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, South Africa, and Palestine.
UK case 116 with 1st death.

I think it was around now that we started to think about this more seriously. I remember that I took out some travel insurance for our forthcoming trip to Marseille (for the European Rugby Championships), in case we were not able to travel.

March 6, 2020
Cases in Slovakia, Bhutan, Peru, Costa Rica, Columbia, Cameroon, and Togo.
UK cases 163.

I went to the dentist today and was very conscious about handwashing. I remember thinking seriously for the first time about the risk of catching or transmitting the disease and what this might mean for M.

March 7, 2020
Global cases exceeds 100,000.
Cases in Malta, Moldova, Paraguay, and the Maldives.
UK cases 209 with 2 deaths.

M goes to the rugby with his daughter’s partner. I stay home as I’m still feeling the effects of the virus and want to rest before I go away with my daughter and granddaughter the next day.

People are talking about “panic buying”. I try to book an Ocado delivery for when I get back from my trip but no delivery slots are available.

March 8, 2020
Over 100 countries affected.
First cases in Bulgaria and Bangladesh.
UK cases 273 with 3 deaths.

I go for a two-day trip to Peppa Pig world with my daughter and granddaughter. We forget all about COVID-19 for a couple of days. Looking back, it was probably not a great idea!

M does a small food shop while I am away. He gets what we need with no problems.

March 9, 2020
WHO says threat of a pandemic is becoming a reality.
Cases in Albania, Cyprus, Burkina Faso, and Panama.
UK cases 317 with 5 deaths.

March 10, 2020
UK Health Minister, Nadine Dorries tests positive.
UK cases 373 with 6 deaths.

I have a couple of days at home before going to Scotland for a family funeral with my two sisters. M finishes his course of inhaled tobramycin. We are starting to talk about whether we will still be going on our celebratory trip to Athens the following week to visit M’s granddaughter.

Apparently, shops are selling out of toilet rolls and hand sanitiser. We haven’t been shopping as we are planning to be away the following week.

March 11, 2020
WHO declares pandemic.
Cases in Turkey, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Guyana, Honduras, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
UK cases 456 with 8 deaths.

My sister arrives from Sussex to spend the night before we go to Scotland the next day.

March 12, 2020
Cases in Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, and Gabon.
UK cases 595 with 10 deaths.

My sister and I drive to Harrogate to pick up sister 3. We visit our parents in their warden controlled home on route but don’t kiss them and pay attention to handwashing.
The three of us then drive to Edinburgh where we stay with our cousin and his frail partner. We don’t kiss them despite having not seen them for several years.

March 13, 2020
Europe declared as the new epicentre of the pandemic.
Cases in Kazakhstan, Sudan, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Antigua and Barbuda, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Uruguay, Guatemala, St. Lucia, Suriname, and Mauritania.
UK cases 798 with 11 deaths.
London Marathon cancelled, and Premier League football suspended.

The UK government is talking about going down the “herd immunity” route.

My sisters and I go to the funeral. No kissing or hugging. Lots of jovial elbow bumping.
We decide not to stay an extra night as planned but head back to Harrogate that evening. We spend the night there. M and I cancel our trip to Greece – largely because our granddaughter contacted us to tell us Athens is “closed”.

March 14, 2020
Cases in Namibia, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, Seychelles, and Eswatini.
UK cases 1140 with 21 deaths.

My sister and I head back to my home. We don’t visit my parents this time. My sister carries on home to Sussex.

M gets a bit of shopping as we are now not going away. Again, he gets what we need and no more without any problem, but says there is a mild sense of anxiety in the air.

We are babysitting our 2-year old granddaughter overnight as her parents are going to a wedding reception.

March 15, 2020
Cases in Uzbekistan and the Bahamas.
UK cases 1372 with 35 deaths.

The government appear to back-track on the “herd immunity” plan – apparently prompted by the catastrophe occurring in Italy who were also slow to impose “lockdown” measures.

Elderly and vulnerable advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks for their own protection.

M goes out planting trees in the village in his role as a Parish Councillor. I wait for him in Costa Coffee with our granddaughter as its pouring rain. I’m really thinking about the virus all the time now and when we get home we sit down for a serious talk.
We decide that as M is at high risk of a poor outcome if he catches the virus, we will self-isolate for 12 weeks from Monday.

Day 1 of Self-Isolation, March 16, 2020
Cases in Somalia, Benin, Liberia, and Tanzania.
UK cases 1543 with 35 deaths.

1st government daily briefing – PM encourages social distancing, self-isolation if sick or vulnerable, and working from home.

I think it was today that the “panic buying” started in earnest. People are behaving ridiculously!

We spent the day going through our diaries, cancelling and postponing what we could and re-arranging some things to be delivered remotely.

Day 2 of Self-Isolation, March 17, 2020
Cases in Montenegro, Barbados, Gambia, and Montserrat.
UK cases 1590 with 35 deaths.

We have enough food and essentials for a few days. We are NOT going to get drawn in to “panic buying”!

M went out for a bike ride. It really helps with his chest.

Day 3 of Self-Isolation, March 18, 2020
Cases in Kyrgyzstan, Djibouti, Zambia, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
UK cases 2626 with 104 deaths.

I went out for a walk with M and he waited over the road while I went in to our local Tesco today and picked up a couple of little bits. Sour cream and chives to make some scones. Very bare shelves. Tried to touch as little as possible and washed my hands as soon as I got in.

Government announces school will close on Friday the 20th until further notice.

Day 4 of Self -Isolation, March 19, 2020
Global cases exceed 200,000.
Cases in Mauritius, Fiji, Chad, Niger, and Haiti.
UK cases 3229 with 124 deaths.

Many people are ignoring government advise on self-isolation.

M and I went out for a walk together. Met a few folks and talked to them keeping 2 metres away.

My best friend is ill with what she believes to be the virus. She has underlying chest problems.

Day 5 of Self-Isolation, March 20, 2020
Cases in Papua New Guinea, Cape Verde, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar.

UK PM orders all restaurants, pubs, gyms and social venues to close.
Chancellor announces it will pay up to 80% of workers wages if they are at risk of being laid off.

Another walk, this time with a friend who is working from home – we kept 2 metres apart throughout – and another visit to Tesco to try and get bread – picked up one of last of 2 packets of crumpets. No bread or flour but got a few fresh vegetables.

Day 6 of Self-Isolation, March 21, 2020
Cases in East Timor, Angola, and Eritrea.
NHS leader tells public they should be ashamed of “panic buying”.
UK cases over 4000 with over 230 deaths.

I went out at 7am to fill the car with petrol. Called in to our local butchers and had the shop to myself for 10 minutes! Bought some meat and fresh vegetables.

Day 7 of Self-Isolation, March 22, 2020
Global cases exceed 300,000
1st case in Uganda.

As the Ocado service appears to have died, decided to reinstate our Mindful Chef account. They send all the ingredients and recipes for meals for two in a weekly box. Ordered 2 meals for next week.
Lovely day. Went out for a bike ride with M.
Slow roasted a leg of lamb for lunch and tried to make a Bakewell tart with rice flour, cranberry sauce and dark brown sugar.
Face Time with my friend and her partner. She is feeling a bit better. She still has the cough though.

Day 7 of Self-Isolation, March 23, 2020
Global Cases 339,259
Global Deaths 14,706
UK Cases 6650
UK Deaths 335
UK PM orders “partial lockdown”.
People to stay at home and only go out once a day to exercise, to shop for food or medicine, or to go to work if absolutely essential.
Shops selling non-essential items to close along with libraries and playgrounds.
No gatherings of more than two people in public, unless they are from the same household.
This will be enforced by the police with fines as necessary.

I stayed in today. I’ve not been sleeping well. Keep waking up at 2am unable to get back to sleep. Knackered.

M delivered his first remote workshop. It was hard! He went out for a bike ride later.

My daughter brought round a card and some flowers for Mother’s Day. We had a chat, with me at the door and her on the pavement outside. She couldn’t bring the granddaughter as she wouldn’t understand why she couldn’t come in!

It felt weird. I washed my hands and cleaned the worktops after I sorted out the flowers. I gave a her a little shopping list of things I can’t get in local shops.

Apparently people are queuing for miles for their final McDonalds!

We’ve been Face Timing our family fairly regularly. Our son “tuned in” from Sweden for the PM’s announcement – we stuck the phone in front of the TV so he could watch. He struggles to follow the news in Sweden as he doesn’t speak much Swedish.

 

12 weeks isolation … week 1.

My partner, M, and I went into self-isolation last Monday for 12 weeks, as advised for his protection from Covid-19. He has bronchiectasis, diagnosed a year or so ago.  A proud strong, and muscular, 62 year-old ex rugby player, he looks fit and well, so it’s an invisible disease to the unaware onlooker. The reality is, that he has had recurrent chest infections for the last two years. Every time he finished a course of treatment for one, another one would start two or three weeks later. He is currently battling a nasty infection with a notoriously difficult to treat bug, pseudomonas. For the past month he has been inhaling super-strong antibiotics twice a day, every day, through a nebuliser. He finished this treatment on the 10th of March and we were due to go to Athens the following week, as a little celebratory trip to visit his granddaughter who lives and works there.

Instead, we cancelled the trip and hunkered down at home for the start of a long and bizarre period of isolation.

I’ve been struggling to write about anything over the last couple of weeks. I have a long list of writing projects that I could be working on, but I just can’t seem to settle down to anything. The irony is, I now have more potential writing time on my hands than ever!

My head is full of thoughts about Covid-19 and what it means for my partner and I, our families and friends, and society and the world in general. Big stuff with no certainty around any of it! Big questions with no real answers to any of them! It’s a tough one for an over-analytical control freak like me. Last night I was awake for most of the night as it all swirled round and round in my head.

And so, today, I decided to write about it. To write about our personal experience of living in self-isolation. To write about my thoughts, feelings and observations. Maybe, by getting it all down, it will stop consuming my thoughts and I’ll finally be able to get on with something else? Of course, it might be bit self-indulgent because it’s essentially a diary and why would anyone want to read the diary of a middle-aged couple stuck in the house together for 12 weeks. Let’s be honest, its not going to be a riveting read! So read it if you want, and don’t if you don’t.

I hope it will also serve as record of what happened and how we all got through it, that we will be able to read it in happier times in years to come and say,

“Remember when … ?”

So, tomorrow we will have been doing this for one week.

1 down only 11 to go, – we hope!

Things have moved so quickly it’s crazy!

The week before we were getting on with our busy lives as usual. I went to Peppa Pig World on the Sunday and Monday with my daughter and A, our two-year-old granddaughter. On the Thursday, I went to Scotland with my two sisters for a family funeral, returning on the Saturday. We looked after A overnight on the Saturday, while her parents went to a wedding reception, and, on the Sunday, M was out planting trees in the village, in his role as a Parish Councillor, while I waited for him with little A, out of the rain, in Costa.

We were due to fly out to Athens at 9am on the Monday morning, but had cancelled the trip on the Saturday as our granddaughter had told us Athens was “closed”, so there was no point in coming. We sat down alone together for the first time that week, and properly talked everything through. I’ve lost track of how and when everything happened, but I think, by now, social distancing was being encouraged, people were being asked to avoid pubs and restaurants, and high risk and vulnerable people were being advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks.

M was reluctant at first. As well as my writing, I now work with him in our brand new training and development consultancy, Key Ways Consulting. We launched in February, in an expansion of his existing coaching business. We had our first few contracts lined up. A workshop in London in March and a very exciting project in June in Barbados. Sadly, we then spent the day going through our diaries cancelling what we could and arranging to do things remotely where possible. We only work part-time, as we have both taken out a couple of small pensions to allow us to ease off a bit now that we are in our 60’s. Our main pensions will kick in when we are 65, we hope! Fingers crossed that they, and our savings, are not decimated by the financial impact of the crisis.

That done, we tried to settle down to our new way of life. M has been working on re-doing his workshops for digital delivery and liaising with his clients on this. I’ve been going out on little shopping trips to our local small Tesco buying what we need on a daily basis. I’ve tried to touch as little as possible and wash my hands the minute I get in. We’ve avoided the crowds at the big supermarkets and so far we’ve been ok. I flirted briefly with a plan to bake scones and bread, as we couldn’t buy any, but I couldn’t get any flour. We try to get out for a walk every day, weather permitting, and today we went for a little bike ride in the sunshine. I’ll be honest though, I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time on social media, lazing around in my PJs, watching a lot of rubbish on the TV and indulging in my guilty pleasure, my PS4. I’m currently close to completing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. (I know! It’s a weird pastime for a 60 something – more on that later maybe?)

On Friday, the government announced that pubs, bars and restaurants were to close, and lots of financial support has been generated to help people get though this.  It’s not perfect but they do seem to be trying. Ideology seems to have been put to one side in a genuine attempt to implement, what amounts to a series of fundamentally socialist measures. I am usually the most ardent anti-Tory, and would generally never have a good word to say about Boris and his gang of merry men, but I actually do think they are trying to do the right thing on this occasion! All credit to them!

We may, or may not, go into full “lockdown” next week. I really hope not, as M needs to exercise outside every day to “clear” his chest. It’s the people who have, and continue to, defy government advise to socially distance, that may force this extreme step. These are the people who have really made me cross so far, along with the selfish panic buying idiots!

So, a bit of a top-line romp through the story so far. Now I’ve got started it feels good.

Stay safe everyone and please stay at home if you can!