It’s been described as the “CoronaCoaster” as we move from lockdown to easing and back again. Clearly, the economic, social, and mental health impacts of this virus are devastating to say the least. We can not underestimate the effects it is having on individuals and families.
Many argue that the restrictions and impositions are over the top for a disease “that is no worse than the flu”. When there were early rumblings in January about a virus, I was also of the opinion that this was just another virus. However, as the carnage emerged out of Italy, Spain, UK and USA, it became evident that this was not just a normal flu.
Though the official number of deaths is nearly 600,000, the unofficial number would be closer to 1 million as many people who die in places like India and Africa, simply haven’t been tested. This is in under 6 months since it started. I also hear many say, “it’s only the old, sick and frail” who die of corona virus. That’s all well and good, unless of course you are in that demographic of “old, sick and frail”. I have many patients who are 80-90. Though they are “old’, many of them still enjoy good quality of life and have plans and goals like the rest of us. Every “old” individual is a human being whose life is of value.
Apart from mortality, this virus has morbidity that shows that it is not just like the flu. The effects on circulation, strokes, other neurological effects, cardiac muscle damage, and permanent respiratory damage are some of these effects. Additionally, the effects are idiosynchratic, in that anyone can contract the virus and even become very unwell.
In short, whilst the virus exists, and whilst we wait for a vaccine, we have to take this seriously. I read recently that a person who didn’t believe in corona virus attended a “corona party” to see if it was real. He contracted the disease and died. I’m not saying we should live in paranoia. But sensible precautions need to exist. Keep physical distancing. Wear masks in public places where distancing is difficult like shopping centres. Wash hands . Stay home if unwell. And get tested if concerned.
When restrictions ease again, do not think you can go back to greeting friends with hugs, kisses and handshakes. we have to accept a new normal, at least for the time being.
Lockdown 2.0 is tragic. It is hard. For many it is about survival. Unemployment. Food. Daily expenses. The rent. The mortgage. It maybe the hardest challenge that we ever have to face. But we are in a complete Catch 22 till a vaccine or treatment arrives.
Do what is within your control to keep your immunity strong. Adequate sleep, good nutrition, moderate exercise, yoga, meditation, hobbies. You may find this is a time to rediscover lost passions such as drawing, painting, singing, poetry, writing and gardening. Focus on simplifying life. Tighten budgets where necessary. And actively search for the light in what maybe a very dark time.