Coronavirus Diaries: Life From My Lounge – Week 1

Week 1 16th March to 22nd March

Monday 16th March -55 deaths

Here are my Coronavirus diaries – my ramblings, observations, and sometimes rantings. I thought it might be cathartic to get them out and written down. The UK Government has just announced that we need to #flattenthecurve to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. They are saying we are about 3-4 weeks behind Italy and that if we start social distancing now we can slow things down. We have been told to avoid pubs, clubs, cafes, and restaurants in an effort to reduce transmission rates. I’ve been staying at home since 11 March and I’ve only been out twice to collect my son from his part-time job, so I didn’t interact with anyone apart from him – didn’t even get out of the car.

Italian hospitals which are better resourced than UK ones are completely overwhelmed and are recording about 350 deaths a day from CV. I’m worried that the UK population isn’t taking this seriously enough. There’s a daily briefing by the PM flanked by the CMO and CSA. No one knew whose those people were until this week – now we are relying on them to get the science right and save as many lives as possible.

Tuesday 17th March – 71 deaths

There were 55 deaths from novel Coronavirus in the UK by the end of yesterday. I’m getting a little bit more anxious as each day passes. I’ve been staying at home since 11th March due to a cough (which l’ve had for several weeks). I don’t feel unwell, but l can’t shift this cough which is unusual as l rarely get respiratory issues like coughs and colds. I’m worried about how this is going to affect Dan’s college course as well.

Wednesday 18th March – 104 deaths

It’s becoming a bit of a ritual to watch Boris at 16.45. I’ve never been a Boris fan but actually this week he’s stepped up a bit l think – too little too late though, I fear. The issue is that the UK public generally sees him as a bit of a buffoon and there’s a danger that people won’t take his messages seriously and will carry on as normal. The more often you go out, the greater your chance of contracting the virus. Then you go out again and give it to lots of other people. If many people are ignoring the advice, this thing spreads quickly. I’ve seen quite a lot of science on CV and the stats seem to indicate that it’s significantly more infectious than flu and could have a death rate up to 50 times greater. That’s scary.

Today the Government announced that nurseries, schools, colleges, and universities close indefinitely on Friday. This means that thousands of children will not be able to take their GCSEs and A Levels this summer. The disappointment, frustration, and anger is rampaging all over FB from the #classof2020. Completely understandable but exams ARE NOT the be all and end all. The exam boards will figure out how to manage it and try to minimise any negative impact on students’ future options.

Thursday 19th March – 144 deaths

People still don’t seem bothered about going out though. Crazy queues in supermarkets and the shelves stripped bare. There was a distressing video of a health care worker who went to the supermarket to get food after a grueling shift in A&E treating CV patients. There was nothing for her to buy. She broke down and pleaded with the public not to panic buy. It broke my heart.

All over the country teams of volunteers are helping get shopping and meds to those who are self-isolating. Older adults and people with certain medical conditions are basically on lockdown now to keep them safe. This virus is bringing the community together but there are still far too many people going to the pubs and restaurants which haven’t yet been told to close. I reckon London will go on more strict lockdown tomorrow. One of my business colleagues took some very poignant pictures in Central London where the social distancing message seems to have sunk in for people visiting the capital today – it was much quieter today which is good and many cafes and restaurants have closed due to lack of trade.

Restaurant closed with tables and chairs stacked up
Photography by Brigitta Scholz-Mastroianni @

Friday 20th March – 179 deaths

I ventured outside for the first time in over a week to try to get some bread and ham. We have a local small independent grocery store close to us. As l approached the shop l could see it was busy. I could just about get in the door and the queue to pay was sneaking through the aisles. I went to pick up the bread, all good. As l came back to pay, l could see how long the queue was and l just felt REALLY uncomfortable having to stand for what would’ve been at least half an hour with all these other people in close contact. I put the bread back and literally ran out of there. Horrible.

I went to Co-op: empty. Literally. No people – good. Barely any food- bad. I did get a loaf of bread though. So not all bad. Then l went to the small Sainsbury’s at the top of our road. Managed to buy 2 packs of ham, some bacon, and some smoked salmon. That’s should keep hubby in lunches next week. Good job I didn’t need toilet roll. A helpful little online calculator can help you check if you have enough!

Boris Bulletin: All cafes, restaurants, pubs, clubs, gyms, leisure centres to close from tonight. But no further lockdown on the movement of people. I wonder if he will live to regret that particular decision when he looks back at this in weeks to come. Still, we know of people that are going out to eat, drink and be merry tonight. What is wrong with them? I was shocked to see a picture of a packed Bondi Beach – Australians are also not listening. Scary 🙁

Saturday 21st March -233 deaths

1st day of Spring. The sun must have got the message because l woke up to bright skies. It all feels surreal. Knowing that if l go out, most of the businesses in our area will be closed. There are 17 cafes and restaurants within a 7-minute walk from my front door and l patronise a few of them regularly. Weird not knowing when they will be open again. The effect on the hospitality industry is devastating. I just started working with a new cafe in Winchmore Hill and we had been discussing marketing plans for various menu launches. All on hold.

I’ve lost about 70% of my income because l cannot run my baby and child first aid courses at the moment. I’m still writing blogs and some other copywriting jobs for small businesses which is great. On the upside, l made contact with a midwife from Barnet hospital and she’s going to promote my online antenatal classes to her pregnant women. There’s a silver lining in every cloud.

Sunday 22nd March – 281 deaths

Mother’s Day in the UK. Normally a time for family get-togethers over lunch. Bustling restaurants and cafes serving Sunday Roasts and Afternoon Teas. This year’s Mother’s Day will be remembered, but will probably be one that most people want to forget. The press and social media are full of images of large groups of people on beaches, outside cafes, in supermarkets, queuing up for ice cream or fish and chips. Where’s the social distancing?

I cannot get my head around why people don’t see what’s coming down the track, in 2 short weeks or less. It’s truly frightening- the level of ambivalence or sheer selfishness. Every day there are reports, letters, videos from doctors and nurses battling on the frontline. The hospitals are very almost full.


Not in 2 weeks’ time, right now.

We are tumbling towards an unprecedented healthcare meltdown and the Government is scrabbling to put in place the infrastructure that enables proper lockdown. Why? Why are we now here when we have had at least 6 weeks’ notice of what can happen from China? Why wasn’t the army mobilised then so that an earlier lockdown could have taken place like the ones in some other countries that are slowing the spread? Why? Perhaps because our Government has put the economy before the people for far too long and cannot break out of that behaviour. It’s too little, too late Boris. Surely we have to go on lockdown tomorrow?

Read more from week 2?

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