Notes from the pandemic

Ironically, the Resident Evil 3 remake, a zombie pandemic video game released shortly after lockdown began. Not that I was complaining!

It’s been several weeks since WHO classified COVID-19 as a global pandemic. Things keep happening that many people would never have believed back at the end of 2019, myself included, so I thought this might be a good time to write some stuff. I think future me will appreciate being able to read about that time the whole world was thrown into chaos!

It started out in China, with coverage on pretty much all news channels. Then fairly quickly it started spreading on a massive scale in Italy, a lot of people were dying and slowly people began to realise this would be a real thing everywhere. Pretty soon after that, the virus started to spread in the UK full-force and the government told us that our own lockdown was now in effect.

The lockdown means non-essential work has stopped, flights out of the country are being cancelled and anyone currently away from home has been urged to return immediately, or risk being trapped in another country (apparently some people still are). The terms social-distancing and “stay at home” are starting to appear everywhere, encouraging people to keep two meters apart and only leave the house for one of four things - essential work, food, exercise once a day and any medical reasons. home The homepage with details about the virus and lockdown.

In the initial weeks, people were panic buying and the supermarkets were empty, things like toilet roll, tinned food, bread, hand-sanitiser were all gone. Sometimes entire aisles were empty. It really did feel like some scene from a film. It sort of shows how easily things can get out of control when circumstances change quickly and people start freaking out.

There’s a lot of people wearing face masks out in public. This is something you’d normally only have seen in places like Japan, Korea or China. Some supermarkets have hand-sanitiser stations and gloves at the entrance, to help people avoid transmitting the virus on products or trolleys.

Every Thursday night, people go to their front doors across the whole country and clap, cheer and let off fireworks for the NHS workers. COVID-19 response messages have appeared throughout the internet as companies try to raise awareness and communicate how services are being affected.

So how’s it going?

For me, things haven’t changed a whole lot day-to-day. I’ve been home working (remote) for the last 3 years, so I don’t commute. Some of my coworkers have had to work at reduced capacity, due to schools closing and having to look after/home-school their children. It meant both my parents who were abroad, thankfully managed to return safely. My partner works in a school which has meant changes to hours and routines with all the closures. Instead of normal work with the children, they’ve been out doing school lunch drop-offs door to door, which I’m sure is greatly appreciated by the children and their families.

I spent a lot of time last year building a routine of running multiple times a week, so I’ve been keeping that up. While out running I’ve seen the roads are much emptier, even to the point that it’s quiet. With the schools closing, children have made rainbow drawings and banners to put up in the windows of their houses. You can see drawings and paintings everywhere with kids names or inspiring messages.

Social distancing with strangers is becoming more a bit more normal, but having to reduce contact with family and friends is still strange. We’ve been having a weekly games night via video call with a few friends, first quizzes, but last time we played PS4 party games via a twitch stream. I was still able to get takeaway pizza, but to keep social distancing, the delivery guy had to place the pizza on his bag on the floor and step back so I could pick it up.

We’ve cancelled most plans for the summer, but it has been nice staying at home. I’ve been spending more time outside as the weather has been unusually nice for this time of year. Although it does make me feel a bad for those who don’t have access to outdoor space at home. I’ve even done a little baking!

As a closing note, another positive is that pollution seems to have dropped in most major cities: Pllution drop. Source

Hope everyone’s doing ok. I might write another one of these if things change even more. Hopefully things will start returning to normal again later this year. Thanks for reading 👋

See also - A pretty good overview of the global situation, with graphics by John Burn-Murdoch. - The site has loads of great resources and advice, it looks like they are adding to this daily too. - NHS advice and information about their response to the virus.