A few months ago the world ticked by, as usual, now most cities globally are under lockdown.
Boris Johnson has called for pubs, clubs, bars, restaurants, gyms and leisure centres (all public spaces) to close. Schools finished early for the Easter holidays on Friday and GCSEs/A-Level exams have been scrapped.
NHS frontline staff and emergency services aside, skeleton crews remain in the key worker industries such as teachers, bank tellers, supermarket employees.
The coronavirus outbreak was first recorded in Wuhan, China in December 2019. On March 11th 2020, it was recognised as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
Many of us are worried about our livelihoods. With numerous citizens losing their jobs through redundancy and 0-hour contacts whilst others have pay reviews suspended and bonuses revoked, it is easy to say that every regular working person is under financial strain right now.
As of 22 March, more than 314,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 188 countries and territories, resulting in more than 13,500 deaths and 95,000 recoveries.
People are scared as the death toll climbs higher than anticipated. Those most at risk of feeling lonely are now those who are vulnerable to the worst effects of this virus. This means our elderly, our disabled, and the already isolated are further forced into separation through social distancing and quarantine.
The global anxiety has lead to panic buying.
Essentials are now unavailable in most supermarkets — bread, milk, cheese, fresh vegetables and fruit, pasta, toilet roll — as those with the capacity to do so are buying things in bulk to guarantee their household never runs out.
On the other hand, this leaves those on weekly pay or lower incomes unable to purchase the things they need to survive. In the news recently, young mothers and the elderly have been unable to buy things like baby formula, painkillers, food…
No amount of begging seems to stem the panic. Supermarket CEOs have been flung into the seat of rationing, making decisions on what restrictions are reasonable to ensure the whole public gets through this pandemic.
Economies globally face the biggest challenge of this century with the largest drop in market rates since our 2008 crisis. Across the world, countries face economic crisis and plunge into likely recessions.
The President of the USA has been criticised for calling it the Chinese virus since the increase of hate crimes against oriental citizens.
COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets produced through coughing and sneezing. Other symptoms include a high fever, fatigue and headaches.
Recommended preventive measures include hand washing, covering the mouth when coughing, maintaining distance from other people, and monitoring and self-isolation for people who suspect they are infected or at risk vulnerable people e.g. those over 70, with respiratory problems or other underlying health conditions.
Efforts to prevent the virus from spreading include travel restrictions, quarantines, curfews, event postponements and cancellations, and facility closures. Across the globe, flights and trains have been cancelled, citizens must maintain a 1 metre to 3-metre distance between each other (even at home with their own household members).
The British public over the weekend flocked to public spaces such as parks and beaches, flouting the newly imposed regulations for lockdown. This could lead to the government enforcing harsher restrictions, like those in Italy and forcing residents to stay inside their homes.
The recommended quarantine period for those at risk or experiencing symptoms is 14 days.
There are positives to come out of the scenario:
- A decrease in CO2 emissions globally
- Community spirit: pleas for supermarkets to prioritise the vulnerable and key workers
- Increased hygiene – clean hands are back in fashion
- Footballers playing online games to raise money to donate
- The Chelsea hotel opens to medical workers
- Sing-a-long lockdown (see this hilarious video)
Those in need of mental health support throughout this time when peer support groups and face-to-face services have been postponed, you can contact Mind Space UK for online support via Skype, e-mail, telephone calls or forums on their website. Check out this post about how to get in touch.