Coronavirus, Self-Isolation, And The Selfishness Of Others

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.

 

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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.

 

Coronavirus, Self-Isolation, And The Selfishness Of Others

 

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.

 

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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.

 

Coronavirus, Self-Isolation, And The Selfishness Of Others

 

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.

 

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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.

 

Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog then you can make a donation of any size below as well. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.

 

 

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References

 

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

38 thoughts on “Coronavirus, Self-Isolation, And The Selfishness Of Others

  1. Good post. I agree with you. World leaders should take action earlier about this. Plus, I also don’t understand why some people are still stubborn in following orders. Isolation, lockdown, social distancing is a MUST now. However, I just pray this covid-19 will end well and soon. I am also trying to keep calm and stay positive. I hope everyone is also doing well too.

  2. Sorry to hear about your current situation being made worse by other’s selfishness. It sounds like you are the only one following the government guidelines and doing everything correctly in your household. I hope you are able to stay safe and well and that your other housemates start acting responsibly. Sending lots of love to you during this tough time. Take care <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

  3. I’ve found myself reacting interestingly to this – and like you angry at the selfish people that put others at risk. I usually don’t get angry at others but because I have a chronic health condition, I’m in the “at risk” group and this is my life we are talking about. ISOLATE. Inform others if you haven’t so they can take extra precautions. LOVE your article, as always.

  4. I am so sorry about your terrible housemate. What the f*ck?!?! How could they be so selfish and inconsiderate!?! And just…ignorant?! Sorry, it makes my blood boil, especially with all the health issues you already have to deal with. I get your frustration, though I’m lucky enough to be isolated with one other person, my husband who is being just as vigilant as I am. It’s frustrating when other people aren’t taking precautions and are going about life as usual. Things are pretty much the same government-wise in the US: our administration is talking about sending everyone back to work by Easter (eye-roll). This is a particular kind of nightmare. Sending you positive vibes. Stay safe, and push your housemate out the window (wearing gloves of course).

    1. I saw today about what Trump wants to do, and I also read how another republican thinks old people will be happy to die if it saves the economy, some people just don’t value anyone else’s life. Stay safe

  5. Thank you for staying at home. It must be awful to live with somebody with poor hygiene. Even my 3-year-old can wash her hands after using the toilet and knows to cover her coughs. I agree that it’s just sad how selfish people have been.

  6. I’m sorry to hear about your situation, people are selfish unfortunately. It’s so frustrating that they don’t seem to care that their actions can cause harm to other people! My parents are in the “at risk” group of people, and I’ve made sure to take extra precautions, as I don’t think I could cope if anything happened to them – it’s not just my parents that I care about either. I can’t believe people are being this stupid and not treating this seriously! Hopefully things will get better, but for the meantime – stay safe!

    1. It gets worse, that selfish person in my household has gone back to work and it’s only been 8 days into the self-isolation. I will never understand how people are willinging to put other people’s lives at risk for no good reason. Take care and stay safe

  7. I’m so sorry you have to cope with a selfish and inconsiderate housemate. I just don’t get why people don’t understand simple instructions “stop the spread of the virus, wash your hands, self isolate”. I hope you are safe and healthy. I do pray this gets better and everything goes back to normal.

    1. Thanks. It’s lucky that I can still order takeaways, as all deliveries from the supermarkets are booked. I would have run out of food before the self-isolation period was over. Stay safe.

  8. Ugh, it’s selfishness like that which will cause this whole situation to be FAR worse than it needed to be! Everyone needs to take a step back and realize that it’s not just about YOU, it’s about everyone else and working towards protecting those that are vulnerable in our communities 🙁

  9. The problem is people don’t take it seriously until it happens to them or their loved ones. They assume it won’t affect them for no reasons!

  10. Wow, talk about selfish-ness! There I was thinking people were beginning to care a little more for themselves, have some basic consideration, and be less selfish. I suppose even during a global pandemic, the selfish still look out for themselves, and I am sorry you are stuck living with this person.
    I truly hope you stay safe and healthy, and may the difficulties in your path melt away!

    1. It got worse. One of the other people living here, went out to see there family and friends, and were gone for more than 24 hours over the weekend, even though we’re in a lockdown and self-isolation. It’s annoying that people like this might end up being the variable that costs you your life. Stay safe and healthy too

  11. I hate that you’re having to live in that environment, especially with the preexisting health conditions that you are concerned about. This is a very scary situation we are facing as a whole. I totally understand your concerns, but from a different aspect. I, too, have preexisting health conditions that give me anxiety about if I’ll be able to steer clear of the coronavirus. Plus, I’ve got a roommate who works in the health field, so I don’t know how realistic it would be for me to expect for this whole thing to justskip right on over our household. But I’m still hopeful…as much as I can muster.

  12. Sadly, this outbreak has shown how many people are completely selfish and ignorant. It makes me wonder if we’re really evolving in our intelligence (it seems the truly intelligent among us are few). You will be disgusted to know that stories of people spreading the virus by being careless after knowing they’ve been exposed are more common than not. Hope you stay well!!

    1. I’ve read quite a few stories along those lines. One that stuck out was some guy in the US got on a plane to travel across the country, even though they’d been tested for the covonavirus and were still waiting for their results. They told the flight crew about the situation once they’d landed. That is truly messed up.

      Stay safe

  13. I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through that experience! For me it’s just my daughter (18) and me, so I have a much easier time controlling my environment. I can’t truly imagine what it is like for you and others who live with roommates that you have absolutely no control over. That’s pretty scary. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. Praying that things get better soon.
    https://acaponeconnection.com

  14. Some people are just inherently selfish and never think of others. I have been to the shops several times for essentials and I can’t even get pasta, so now I just refuse to go to the shops. I can’t deal with the selfishness of people! I hope things are a lot better for you now! Please keep safe!!

    1. I wish it had gotten better, but it actual got worse. One of the people who has spent more time outside the building socialising than being in it, attacked another tenant for complaining to them about it. Police came and everything

      1. OMG that’s terrible! I’m so sorry to hear this! I just don’t understand people. No wonder the world is such a terrible place at times!!

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