Over 750,000 people in the UK have volunteered to help the NHS, three times the original target. Yesterday there were another 206 deaths in the UK. The talk this morning is the response to the briefing giving by the deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries in which she said it could take Britain six months to get back to normal.
She said that it would not necessarily mean that full lockdown would last that long but it would last about two months with reviews every few weeks to see what effect it was having. Economists say the UK’s economy will shrink by about 15% in that time. It shrank by 5% during the last financial crisis.
Yesterday, I walked to the local shops. There were many more walkers than ususal and far fewer cars. Most couples crossed the road in order to maintain social distancing and those that didn’t kept well back, as I did where appropriate. In the supermarket the distancing is harder to maintain as personal space cannot extend to the minimum required.
Along with social distancing, self isolation, self quarantine, and lockdown, another new phrase has entered our language – viral load.
Viral load is the amount of the virus in one’s bloodstream and exposure to it in groups of people (crowds, pubs, transport, religious worshippers etc) increases the load. The highers one’s viral load the worse the experience if one develops Covid-19.
The advice is to not only the obvious social distancing measures of lockdown but also keeping one’s distance from family members. That means less or no hugs, kisses, or intimacy of any kind, separate bathrooms if possible, and not sharing towels. It is said the detergent neutralises the virus so presumably we don’t have to be fastidious in the kitchen, just stick to a high standard of hygiene.
Last night I awoke at about 12.30am with a chest pain. Is this the start? Have I got it? Some people will be Covid-19 positive and only show mild symptoms while others die. I expect I’m not the only person getting a little paranoid. My nocturnal discomfort was probably the result of yesterday’s physical exertions about the house but none of us will know for sure until we’ve received a testing kit.
Intensive care in the UK is now limited to those with a reasonable chance of survivial. While Europe’s death toll is now around 20,000 it is estimated that the USA may lose 100,000-200,000 people.