I have to confess I’m getting just a little worried about coronavirus. In all my days of following media stories I don’t recall anything quite as pervasive as this and, in all probability it’s only just started.
It’s very often the first thing people mention in work situations, down the gym, socially, pretty well wherever you go. Mrs Jones, who works in a big office, has been told to take her laptop home with her everyday in case they decide to close the office at short notice.
It’s all over every newspaper, the internet and most broadcast media There are coronavirus stories in my morning newspaper on at least 20 pages – I gave up counting after that – including news, sport, travel, finance, comment, culture. It won’t be long before it finds it ways to the gardening pages the way things are going!
I’m now looking out to see how much the tolls for confirmed infections and deaths increase day-by-day. I’m aware of the symptoms to look out for and what to do if I feel ill and actually sang ‘Happy Birthday’ twice when I washed my hands this morning.
I’m increasingly aware of people coughing and sneezing when I am out and about and was not impressed when I heard some teenagers in the same train carriage as me read out a text from their college saying it had been closed because of a confirmed infection.
Because I don’t want to worry myself I actively avoided reading a couple of articles in today’s paper headlined ‘Virus is most frightening for 100 years, says expert’ and ‘This isn’t just flu – Britain must take this virus seriously’.
As a mild asthma sufferer aged 59 I’m on the cusp of the vulnerable group and I really don’t want to catch it. I’ve already upped my steroid inhaler use to two in the morning and two at night and have ordered my repeat prescription slightly ahead of time.
For this reason I would worry if I started to develop symptoms. The fevers, aches and lethargy that come with normal viruses are bad enough but ones that affect the respiratory system are particularly unpleasant.
Struggling to breathe when you’re anxious about your health is a bad combination which could lead to pneumonia and possible hospitalisation. And in today’s NHS that’s when your problems can really start.
At the moment apart from the basics I’m doing nothing different, going out as usual to work meetings, the gym, playing tennis and meeting friends and family. I have though already decided it’s best to stay away from my dad who is in his eighties and other elderly relatives.
If the numbers really start to spike with dozens dead and thousands affected I’ll be self-isolating until this over and won’t be impressed if my wife continues to go to work if she doesn’t have to.
Am I being alarmist, I don’t know, but it feels to me like the sensible thing to do.