(I am in isolation with my partner Josh for 14 days, I have decided to start blogging about our experience on probably a daily basis. If you are interested in reading about it, please follow me for email updates!)
Yesterday was the first morning I realised that my cough was a little more noticeable. It’s a super mild cough, but I’ve had it for a couple of days, and so I decided to tell my boss. He told me not to come to work if I have symptoms, and so yesterday was the first day quarantined in the house. In the morning, Josh told his employer that I have a cough, but his boss told him that if I don’t have a fever, he should come to work anyway (which is against what the government have told us all to do). Josh went to work yesterday but emailed his boss to tell him that he wouldn’t be coming in for 2 weeks after then. After a meeting, his boss sent home anyone in the high risk category, including Josh who has asthma.
I spent the day refreshing Google over and over to see the latest updates. As the updates poured in, I became increasingly anxious. Asthmatics and other high risk patients are now being advised to isolate for 12 weeks. Both Josh and I have asthma. 12 weeks is a daunting prospect.
On Monday, when the new guidelines came out about social distancing and self-isolation, Josh and I went and did a shop immediately, knowing that the supermarket shelves would be gutted if we did it any later. We usually do our shop via Ocado, but all the online slots for deliveries had were booked up for the next week. As we entered the supermarket, it was eerie to see so many shelves empty. We bought what we could and then ventured to our nearest Co-Op. Fortunately, it was more stocked up there as people were emptying the bigger shops first. There were a lot less people in the supermarket than usual. Everyone else had already grabbed and gone.
On Tuesday, Josh did a last stock up of some food. “Sainsbury’s is empty,” he said. Photos of aisles completely cleared of products popped up all over social media. Images of ghost towns because everyone is inside. My friend posted a photo of a shopping mall, deserted. We made two weeks worth of online deliveries for food, after waiting in an online queue to even log onto the website.
In the evening we watched Midsommar, a tense, implausible, unnecessarily violently graphic but beautifully shot horror movie, which did nothing to help our anxiety levels. Scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, all I could see were posts about the coronavirus: anger over the inadequate, too slow response of the UK; updates on the situation; helpful tips on how to take care of your mental health; suggestions of what to do during isolation; advice on how to manage the situation; thoughts and feelings pouring out into the online world.
I started to get more and more anxious as it got later into the night. It feels like we are living in an apocalyptic movie right now. Public spaces are getting more and more deserted. Food delivery websites are crashing. Supermarkets are empty. People are scared. I can’t stop thinking: what’s going to happen to us all?