Tuesday, 14 July, 2020

[Day 120]

Today started with a pleasant surprise – some of our closest friends who have been in ‘shielded’ lockdown for weeks but who we met in the park last week texted to ask if we would like to meet again in the park today. This we did with alacrity and it was particularly heartwarming to know that this type of meeting is not only pretty safe (we wear face masks as well just as a precaution) but also such a source of pleasure for all of us. So we all met for half an hour, a little earlier than usual, which was fine as we have commitments for the rest of the day. The weather. although cloudy, was kind to us as well and we were in no danger of being caught in a shower. We will probably repeat this about twice a week from now on and after July 31st/August 1st (the end of shielding for the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable‘) we can probably plan a joint day out to a National Trust or similar property. This is what the Government are saying about this should you be worried about the risks of infection:'The latest evidence shows that the chance of encountering Coronavirus in the community has continued to decline. Four weeks ago, around one person in 500 had the virus. Last week it was even lower with less than one in 1,700 people having the virus.'

This afternoon, Meg needed to go to Worcester Royal Infirmary for a routine eye-check after she a corneal transplant some 9 years ago (they told us). To be honest, Meg and I were a little apprehensive that car parking would be a nightmare (last time I went there for a checkup in took 1½ hours to get out of the car park) and there was always the Coronavirus regime within the hospital. As it happens, absolutely everything was plain sailing. For a start, car parking fees had been suspended and we managed to find a bay quite near to the Ophthalmology Unit. Also, they were only letting people in about 2 at a time so there was no sitting around in crowded waiting rooms. Meg was seen by a couple of nurses who took some questions as a history and then we saw the consultant himself who conducted further examinations using specialised equipment. As we had arrived early, we had a half an hour to wait but I shot off to the haematology department to have a blood test done (as my bowel cancer consultant had requested) and normally one is confronted with a room with about 20 people in it. Today, there was none so I sailed in and got the whole blood sample taken in about 2 minutes before I returned to the unit so that I could accompany Meg through the eye clinic procedures. Having been used to a teeming hospital (in which both Meg and I have been treated) it was somewhat surreal to be in the same surroundings but with hardly any other people around. All of the clinical staff were extremely friendly – perhaps they appreciated not being rushed off their feet which is the norm.

A Tory MP representing a New Forest (Hampshire)constituency is tonight venting his outrage at having to wear a face mask in 9-10 days time. But my impression is from the various clips of vox pop shown on the news channels is that most people are not unhappy about the change in policy and it may yet encourage more people to venture out into the community. It will be quite interesting to see (in a day or so?) what the general public feel about the new regulation, given that we are gradually falling into line behind 120 other countries who wear a face mask with no qualms!

Medical scientists are modelling the chances of a second wave of the coronavirus and believe that up to 120,000 people could lose their lives (the current total in this first phase is 45,000). Of eight respiratory virus pandemics since the 19th century, five have had two or more waves which usually happen in colder months regardless of when the first outbreak occurs. So it looks as though we must all hope for the best (but prepare for the worst). It seems to be a good idea to get a flu jab as soon as they become available in September so as not to be hit by two viruses at once.