Unless you’ve been living under a rock on Mars for the past few months, you might be aware that there’s just the small matter of a global pandemic going on. The COVID-19 virus has now caused the whole world to come to a stand still while we try to get it under control. During these times it can be hard to keep spirits high, so I am hoping this post will put things in perspective and you can learn a bit about what it is and how you can ease those anxieties.
Let’s start off with the basics. I’m not going to talk about what the coronavirus is specifically because you probably already know that (If not check out the World Health Organisation’s website about it), what I will talk about is viruses in general. These tiny parasites need a host species in order to thrive. They lack the necessary components to reproduce themselves, therefore they find their way into an unsuspecting individual, through cuts or the respiratory tract, attach themselves to the host’s cells and basically hijack it in order to produce more viral cells. Once inside and multiplying, it creates an environment within the host, usually disadvantageous to the individual, to ensure its survival and spread. Infected droplets usually spread through coughs and sneezes. Like any other species out there, all a virus is doing is trying to survive!
The COVID-19 virus has proven to be very successful at surviving. It has reached all over the planet. At time of writing there have been nearly 3million confirmed cases globally. With over 206,000 deaths. It makes you wonder that despite all governments having essentially the same information about the virus, cases and deaths vary greatly from country to country. Different leaders have put in restrictions at different times.
Now we can complain about how things like lockdowns and other restrictions should’ve been done sooner or whatever, but what is important is that things are taking place and we need to respect those rules to ensure we don’t continue to spread the virus. As mentioned before, viruses cannot survive without a host. So if we stay indoors, avoid touching our faces and wash our hands regularly, the rate of infection will fall and things will go back to normal sooner.
Those statistics might seem staggering, and the media doesn’t help with this. It is their job to get reads/views, so they need to make these figures sound as dramatic as they can. Maths isn’t my strong point, but let me do some quick sums (also please tell me if any of this is wrong!). If the world population is currently over 7.7billion, then that means that only around 0.039% of people in the world are infected by the coronavirus. Let’s also mention the number of people who have survived the virus. Out of those near 3million cases, around 865,000 have recovered! Almost 4 times as many people have gotten better than died from it. I understand that more people will have the virus but haven’t been tested, but in the grand scheme of things, you probably won’t get it if you stay safe!
So I think that’s enough about the actual virus because for me, anxiety and fear about life in lockdown is just about as widespread as the coronavirus itself. I, like many others, am slowly losing my mind, but I am surviving. One of the things I am doing is avoiding the news. Although it is hard, seeing and hearing about the deaths and how lockdown might be extended only heighten my anxiety. It also helps prevent you from getting caught up in stupid conspiracy theories about the virus, which get spread by certain individuals. By steering clear of things like that, it really has helped me to keep a level head during these tough times.
Another thing I would also suggest is that you don’t compare yourself to others. Just because someone else is becoming a health fanatic doing hours of exercise, or are sorting out the perfect skin care routine, doesn’t mean you have to as well! If you want to stay in bed til 6pm eating pringles for breakfast, then do it! Everyones is dealing with this quarantine in different ways, just because yours is different, doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd. Do what you want to do to keep sane and happy.
If you are bothered to get out of bed, I would encourage you to take advantage of that allowed outdoor time. Going for a walk, even if it is just to the end of the street and back really helps to just clear the mind. Even though things are strangely eerie, it does bring a sense of calmness. If you do come across others on their daily walks, smile at them. It really will brighten the day for someone. Don’t avoid eye contact or grimace at them like they are riddled. Kindness is key more than ever in times like this. Spread positivity, not viruses!
For a nature lover like me, thinking about the benefits to the environment also help put a smile on my face. With less cars and aeroplanes wondering about, there has been a huge reduction in pollution levels across the world. China, Italy, the UK and many other countries have seen a reduction in carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide levels of as much as 40%! That means cleaner air for you, me and the wildlife.
Animals are also thriving due to this lock down. With species now being seen exploring the empty streets of what were once busy cities. Recently, a record number of nests have been seen by the vulnerable leatherback turtle. Now the beaches in Thailand are shut to tourists because of the virus, the largest number of nests in 20 years have been reported. Hopefully after all this is over, we will see how much we do effect the wildlife on this planet, and continue to make changes to the way we are in order to keep them safe.
Most importantly, the best thing I would suggest to cope with the isolation is to message people. We live in these technological times where a simple text can connect two people from other ends of the world. Use that to talk to a mate or family member. It really isn’t that hard. Now more than ever, checking up on those you love is so important. They literally have no excuse to not talk back because there really isn’t anything else they can be doing.
If you are like me who hates to be that person who messages first in the fear that you come across as annoying or clingy, let those fears go! Worrying about what someone thinks of you is something you should not be worrying about during these times (or in normal life either to be fair!). And don’t think about the fact that some people aren’t checking up on you either. Now is not the time to be narcissistic. But again, you don’t have to talk to people if you don’t want to! If you are comfortable by yourself, stay that way! There are people out there who are willing to listen and help if you just reach out.
While some are out of jobs bored as hell of life indoors, others are still hard at work. Whether it be with university, working from home, or even still going to their jobs. You are all doing a fantastic job and I praise you all. It must be so hard to think about having deadlines and dealing with customers while the whole world is in quarantine chilling with a glass of wine. I respect each and everyone of you who is powering through the global pandemic to keep the world turning.
Lastly I have to mention the exceptional work of the NHS and other doctors, nurses, social carers around the world. I honestly don’t have enough space to express how much hard work you lot are doing throughout all this. Without you, this pandemic could’ve been much worse. Although I think clapping, banging pots and pans every Thursday or nonagenarians pacing their gardens isn’t helping in the grand scheme of things when the government could be doing so much more to help you, it is our way of expressing our gratitude and support to your incredible work. Hopefully after this is all over, the world will look at you guys with a new light and you will get the funding, support and praise that you all deserve.
It took a virus from a small market in China to bring the world together. As mentioned in my previous post, no population can withstand an exponential growth rate like the one we humans have, so something like a pandemic was inevitably going to happen. But I would never have expected it to happen in my lifetime. In a crisis like this, it brings the whole world closer together. I think the world will be changed forever after this.
If we all stay inside, follow the guidelines, and remain positive, we can get through this. Once this is all over, and it will be over at some point I promise, think about that first hug you’ll give your loved one. Think about that first pint in the beer garden with your friends. It will be alright in the end.