10 March 2020
My typical approach to journaling is writing a one-line summary at the end of the day. However, at the start of the pandemic I decided to write a little more occasionally. Below is my first entry in what I labeled my 'Coronavirus diary' from exactly a year ago...
It's difficult to know what to think about, and do in response to, the threat of Coronavirus. At the moment cases in the UK are limited, but we have to expect or at least be prepared for the level of outbreak countries like China and Italy have experienced.
At the moment, I'm still going about things as normal. But I do get the feeling that generally there are fewer people about (that may be just a coincidence, of course). At the weekend I played hockey and we still shook hands and shared food. I'm going in to the office every day on the bus. In the next couple of weeks I've got plans to go away for the weekend with my hockey team, attend networking events and talks, and meet clients. And at the start of April we're away for a week with the whole family. I'm beginning to wonder whether any or all of that will still go ahead.
Ahead of a co-working day I was due to attend today we were sent advice from Public Health England about the scenarios in which you would need to self-quarantine. People in my networks are starting to talk about the plans their organisations are making to move to remote working and distance learning. Some of these involve having trial days before it becomes a necessity to make sure any issues are ironed out in advance. Should the need arise, I'm fully able to continue my work from home.
Working for myself however I feel one step removed from it all. I'm not aware of a heightened sense of fear, or anyone significantly changing their day-to-day behaviour. At the weekend though teacher friends did mention that their schools are receiving phone calls from parents demanding when they're going to close and expressing concern that their children are being put at risk. I'll wait to take my lead from Good Space (where my office is located).
I think my mantra will be to proceed with caution, not panic. It's hard to stay calm though when all around you are losing their heads. The stockpiling of toilet roll, soap and pain killers has begun. I will admit to getting Izzy to buy a few extra tins in the last shop, just in case... although I think that's more a response to reading The Siege than it is to fears the supermarkets will be empty.
One useful thing I have seen is guidance from the World Health Organisation around what the actual symptoms of the virus are and how they're similar/different from the common cold and flu.