On Why I Stay at Home and Believe in Social Distancing

When the Corona Virus first hit the news in the middle of January,  I hoped that it would be contained in China. We continued to live a normal life. I was also pre-occupied with so many other things at that time, so I didn't pay so much attention to it. Until two cases were reported in the UK at the end of January. It was obvious that this virus was hitting home quicker than I anticipated. At the end of February, there were about 23 cases reported. We also saw a global spread of the virus to more than 20 countries. At this point, we thought that this was a pandemic although the World Health Organisation didn't declare this until the 11th of March.  As soon as March came, we saw a rapid rise in number of confirmed cases. We started to worry as the situation was obviously becoming worse. J has a background in research and he is good at it, so he has been doing reasonable amount of research on the progression of the virus from the moment we heard about it until now. 

An overnight trip to the hospital in the first week of March meant that we had to be extra cautious about the virus. We already knew that a high temperature and a new continuous dry cough were the classic symptoms of the virus, so we were vigilant.  J started working from home as early as the 4th of March, whilst I continued to go to work until the 18th of March. From late February to early March, we were already advised to wash our hands for 20 seconds and to keep at least a distance of 2 metres from the person next to us. I tried to practice social distancing as soon as the government advised this, however, living and working in Central London proved this difficult in the beginning. For a week, I lived in fear that someone might sneeze or cough at me in the crowded London streets. I wore my mask despite being advised not to as it doesn't apparently protect you from the virus. A rather arrogant man even shouted at me, saying that there is a 96% chance of me NOT getting the virus in London. People stared at me whilst I walked down the streets. I mean, who could have blamed me for wearing a mask? Despite the growing numbers of corona virus cases and the health advice from the government, I witnessed people sneezing and coughing openly in public. I saw people blowing their noses and keeping the tissue in their pockets. So for me, a little protection is better than no protection at all. In fact, as of this writing, the World Health Organisation is apparently reviewing their guidance on the public use of masks (BBC), so stay tuned.
Mask from Lekko via Amazon

Then came the lockdown and everyone was ordered to stay at home. This is the single, most important action the government has asked us to do. J has not been out of the house for almost a month, whilst I haven't been out for two weeks. Staying at home doesn't mean you can't go out of the house at all - not just yet anyway. The government has set restrictions as to what you can do when you get out of the house, and they must be of essential purposes- infrequent shopping for basic needs such as food and medicine, one form of exercise per day such as a run, walk or cycle- either alone or with a member of your household, any medical need to avoid risk of injury or harm, and travelling for work purposes but only if you cannot work from home (NHS UK). The government further advises that when you go out, you must keep a distance of 2 metres  or 6 ft away from the people next to you. You must not meet others, including your friends or family. This is for the reason that if infected, you still can spread the virus even if you don't have the symptoms.

The Public Health of England stated  that corona virus is spread when you have a close and contained contact with someone who is infected with the virus in more than 15 minutes within two metres distance. You are more likely to be infected by the virus if you come in contact with the droplets from coughs and sneezes of an infected person. This is the reason why I have always believed and practised social-distancing. This should be enough reason for other people to start believing and practising it, too.

Although I no longer consider myself as a frontliner, I care deeply for my healthcare colleagues who are out there day and night, going way above and beyond their duties to care for those who are sadly infected with this virus. I fear for their mental and physical health. Many of them are my friends, and some my family. I fear for the health and safety of the other frontliners who are working twice as hard in order for us to keep on living. The world will be lost without these essential people. So please help them, too.

As COVID 19 escalates exponentially, we have to do our part in combating the disease. Please protect yourself and others. Follow the advice of the World Health Organisation- wash your hands frequently, maintain social distancing, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing by  bending your elbow or using tissue and dispose of immediately, stay at home when you feel unwell.

In addition to this, keep yourself informed. Gather information from reliable sources such as WHO, DOH, Government websites and credible news agencies.

Most importantly, STAY AT HOME.



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