Coronavirus, Self-Isolation, And The Selfishness Of Others
Unfortunately, the world finds itself dealing with a pandemic, not something I expected to say in the modern-day western world. I’ve seen documentaries about the Spanish Flu and the rush to find a cure for Smallpox. I also remember the fight that was still going on to tackle Polio from when I was a kid and seeing people in iron lungs. But I didn’t think I’d live through a pandemic myself, not one that would affect me in the UK at least. But here we are, struggling to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
I watched the virus spreading from country to country, and how each of these countries eventually stepped up to try and deal with the problem. But once the coronavirus made it to the UK, it was disappointing to see the government’s response to dealing with it. Initially, it was to use a herd immunity plan, which risked thousands of lives just so they could keep Britain ‘business as usual’. A global pandemic is a long way from business as usual.
If the government had taken a more aggressive approach right from the start, we might have been able to nip this problem in the butt. Many countries have closed down their borders, but unfortunately, instead of all doing it in unison to deal with the problem at the same time, different countries did it at different times. Not the best way to deal with stopping the spread of coronavirus.
Even as the death tolls kept going up globally, I wasn’t really worried about coronavirus. And this is coming from someone who has two anxiety disorders that already wants me to never leave home. It should have been the perfect excuse. But for some reason, I and my anxiety disorders weren’t affected by it at all: at least at first.
I saw all the panic buying and just thought how stupid it was people were stockpiling toilet rolls. What the hell are they going to do with all that toilet roll? I just got on with life like I usually did.
After a while, the constant bombardment on social media and the news about the coronavirus did start to get to me. It was pretty much the only story you could read about on Facebook. I was seeing dozens of different news reports about the coronavirus each hour, and then one day, when I wanted to leave the house, the thoughts about the coronavirus started. Suddenly the coronavirus had become part of my anxieties to leave my room.
I’d be worried that I shouldn’t be leaving the house in order to avoid adding to the pandemic problem. But I still wanted to go out and do the stuff I had to because I didn’t want to let my fears control me (plus I needed to finish my data collection my dissertation). I was a little blazay about it.
Now, thanks to an extremely selfish person I live with in a house of multiple occupancy, I’m having to self-isolate. This selfish person had been told two days before that they needed to self-isolate after falling ill and calling the hotline. They took two days to inform the rest of us, and they told me by walking up to me in the kitchen and informing me. They then proceeded to touch all the kitchen work surfaces, the fridge freezer, the microwave and the door handles, all without washing their hands first.
There are five of us living here, all sharing a single kitchen, bathroom, and toilet. And for at least two days, this person had been going around covering every surface in the communal areas with their potential coronavirus. Why wouldn’t they at least wash their hands before touching anything in the communal areas? So damn selfish.
The day before they told me they had to self-isolate, I’d gone to the hospital in the centre of the city for my PPPD physiotherapy session. This one selfish person had risked infecting the people in our building and everyone we came into contact with, which in my case was a hospital full of sick people, all because they were unwilling to do even the bare minimum to prevent spreading the coronavirus.
I put two posters up about how to self-isolate, due to the fact we all had to because of this one persons suspected coronavirus infection. However, two of the people that live here don’t really speak English and the other remaining person (who I told we had to self-isolate due to the suspected coronavirus case in our building), just ignored that and continued to go to work. Slow clap.
Due to everyone’s panic buying and hoarding of goods, with me following the in self-isolation advice, now means I can’t get any of the stuff I need. I can’t (and shouldn’t) go out to buy food, as one mistake could set off an infection chain, and there are no available bookings for food deliveries online. Because I’ve been going keto to control my reactive hypoglycaemia, most the food I have has a really short shelf life: they’re also in a potentially contaminated fridge, thanks to the selfish one.
Self-isolation should always mean just that. You’re not self-isolating if you’re going out to buy food or if you carry on going to work. You shouldn’t need to wait until the government updates its advice to know that it’s selfish to do so.
It has been reported in the National Institutes of Health that:
The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. The results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and suggests that people may acquire the virus through the air and after touching contaminated objects.
So the fact that one selfish person in my building has been going around and touching everything for a couple of days without telling us, is extremely infuriating when you know this information. They’ve also been sitting in their room with their door wide open, coughing without covering their mouth and looking really run down and coughing without covering their mouth as they walk around the building too.
I really don’t get why they won’t follow basic hand washing hygiene at least and cough into the pit of their elbow. They don’t even wash their hands after going to the toilet, how disgusting is that? It’s like they are deliberately trying to make the rest of us sick like they are.
Now I’m stuck self-isolating with this person, because I won’t break the rules to be selfish and risk others’ health and even their lives. What makes being isolated in this building with someone who might have the coronavirus for 14 days more annoying, is that I have a number of preexisting conditions, and I don’t know if any of mine put me at greater risk or not.
People with underlying conditions, like asthma, and the elderly are all at greater risk of dying than other people. It only takes one mistake to spread it to others, not just one other person, it could be dozens and dozens of others. One person can cause a domino effect of infections, all because of their selfish behaviours.
For those of you that have read my blog or talked to me on social media, you’ll be aware that I have an autonomic disorder that causes me to have inappropriate sinus tachycardia and supraventricular tachycardia. I also have reactive hypoglycaemia (being diabetic puts you at a higher risk), IBS, and since having a tonsillectomy, I routinely get throat and chest infections that can take months to go away (my last chest and throat infection started in December 2019 and stayed with me until February). My immune system is pretty weak.
A study conducted by Byars, Stearns, and Boomsma (2018) highlights one of the health issues that I have that concerns me, and how I might be at greater risk than the average person. They found that:
In this study of almost 1.2 million children, of whom 17 460 had adenoidectomy, 11 830 tonsillectomy, and 31 377 adenotonsillectomy, surgeries were associated with increased long-term risks of respiratory, infectious, and allergic diseases
The lack of ability to find out if my underlying health conditions would put me at greater risk or not, isn’t helping. If only there was an online system which could handle dealing with questions related to an individual’s health problems and if those problems make getting the coronavirus more dangerous or not.
I don’t want to clog up the phone lines with such a simple question (plus I hate talking on the phone) to a helpline that isn’t manned by medical professionals that could answer my question. But leaving a message and getting an email back within 24 hours would be fine, and allow me to know one way or the other.
Oh my god, the self-dumbness that won’t follow any of the basic hygiene or self-isolation procedures, who by their own words said they felt so ill they thought they were going to die in their sleep, just went to the local shop to buy junk food and beer. Even though they have more than enough food for the full 14 days of isolation. I bet they haven’t even washed their hands once since falling ill, let alone since being told to self-isolate. I know they never do after going to the toilet.
I’ve never wanted to hurt someone so much. The rage this selfish prick has ignited in me I haven’t felt since primary school when dealing with all the racist and physical abuse (Suicidal Child #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek).
What an absolute selfish ****. It’s bad enough they’ve put the rest of us in the building at risk, but to also do that. I hate people like that. They could have potentially infected everyone in our local community, all because they wanted beer and junk food that they didn’t need at all. God damn I hate that person.
The idea that the blitz spirit is all we need to see through such a crisis, is just government propaganda using an idealised concept of Britishness, that wasn’t true during the blitz, and isn’t true now. As Richard Overy (professor of history at the University of Exeter) stated in The Guardian:
The government papered over the evidence of the physical and psychological effects of being bombed and focused instead on the stories of British resolve
As with every crisis situation, you’ll see people trying to profit from it, some hoarding and then price gouging, whilst others taking advantage of the situation to engage in criminal activity (Fake COVID-19 vaccine kits, Coronavirus phishing scams, etc.). The blitz was no different (The Guardian).
During the blitz, one standard ruse for thieves was to kit themselves out with an ARP (Air Raid Precautions) warden’s helmet and armband and smash their way into shops when no one was looking. Such was the power of the armband that the public would dutifully help load up a car, believing that the goods were being removed for safe keeping. Some unscrupulous villains used vehicles disguised as ambulances for their getaways.
But while it was predictable that professional criminals should seek to profit from blitz and blackout, what was more surprising was how many others joined them. Rationing, introduced for food and luxury goods, led to widespread abuse by people who would never have considered themselves lawbreakers.
The myth of the blitz spirit is very much on show with the panic buying and total disregard for basic coronavirus protection (hand washing) and self-isolation protocols, as evident in my household. People are selfish. Some will rise to help those in need, like the members of our NHS, but too many ordinary people won’t. It’s their selfishness that puts us all at risk, and will drag out this pandemic. Especially when governments are slow to act as they put the economy before saving lives.
WASH. YOUR. HANDS!
So, the weirdest thing just happened as I was writing this post, my mum called me. She hasn’t called me or reached out in any way since I hung up on her last summer. I hung up on her because I’d had enough of her always trivialising my health problems, and her complete dismissal of impending bowel cancer screening.
Somehow, my mum managed to simultaneously admit that I had underlying health conditions that put me at risk during this pandemic, and told me I shouldn’t leave the house until it’s over, whilst at the same time dismissing most my symptoms and trivialising them all in the space of a single phone call.
I also found out that my mum hadn’t got me anything for my birthday or Christmas (she normally puts £5-15 pounds in, I just never bothered to check). So yeah, a doubly weird conversation.
Today is a day full of surprises, now the country is finally going into enforced lockdown mode. About time. Now the selfish pricks I live with have little choice but to abide by self-isolation advice or be fined. Now if only I could get them to wash their hands when they enter the building, and when they go to the toilet
Anyway, that’s enough of my rant on this situation. If you’re in a similar situation then I hope you’re not stuck with selfish people like I am. Plus, if you’re looking for something to do whilst being self-isolated, then I recommend you take up journaling to help last the time. For more information on journaling, check out my post here.
You could also take the time to find self-care strategies that can help you manage the situation, which could also be beneficial to you in the future for stress management (17 Ways To Manage Stress).
For more information about the coronavirus please visit the NHS’s page here.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with having to self-isolate and dealing with the coronavirus or other pandemics in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up to my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications of new posts by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom left corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.
Byars, S.G., Stearns, S.C., & Boomsma, J.J. (2018). Association of Long-Term Risk of Respiratory, Allergic, and Infectious Diseases With Removal of Adenoids and Tonsils in Childhood. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery, 144(7), 594–603. Retrieved from doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.0614 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/fullarticle/2683621