Covid-19 Archive

Podcast script - Sunday, May 17, 2020

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Good Morning Chelveston, Caldecott and Chelston Rise itís Sunday 17th May and this is Adrian Dale back in the hot seat with the daily podcast.

Thank you to everyone who sent in good wishes for my day off yesterday. It was a slightly surreal experience, but a welcome one after 10 weeks of doing the same things every day.

It was very strange sitting with Helen in the garden all morning, keeping 4 metres apart. We positioned our seats so that the wind was blowing away from us both. We were then able to talk without masks. I have to say if this is the new normal Ė I really donít like it! It was quite cold and so I had to wear my hi-viz thermal jacket in the garden Ė so much for a day without hi-viz!

When we went walking we wore masks so that we could be a close enough to talk without shouting, but I made sure that Helen was always up wind of me.

You see Helenís immune system is not strong, after many years of arthritis medication.

Iíve known Helen for 11 years and in that time, sheís had several serious respiratory illnesses. She caught swine flu in 2009. She has no idea how, but I had dinner with her the day she started showing symptoms. I was fine and didnít catch it, but to this day she doesnít know how she made it home from Northampton to Lincoln. She then caught a bad dose of influenza from a gig she attended at the University of Lincoln. It was fresherís week and her favourite band were playing. She was twice the age of everyone else there but within days, she was seriously ill. We brought her back to Chelveston and she stayed in her room for two weeks in complete isolation until she recovered. Then she caught another serious dose of influenza when someone at Tate Britain sneezed whilst standing next to her at a painting.

And between these bouts, there have been countless common colds, caught from travelling on the trains or tubes to work or art exhibitions.

So just imagine if any one of these infections had been Covid-19, caught from someone out and about in their normal daily lives. Covid-19 is more infectious and more deadly than the common cold or influenza. But much worse, it is infectious even if the carrier isnít showing symptoms. Any of these incidents could have killed her.

Now these arenít unusual incidents. Most people catch a common cold at least once a year. And fortunately almost everyone recovers.

But we now have a new virus in town Ė a novel coronavirus. I say novel because coronaviruses are not new. They are actually one of the four causes of the common cold that we all catch each year. But up until now coronaviruses have been a just nuisance, not deadly.

All research into a cure for the common cold has failed, and so far no vaccine has been found because there have been multiple causes and many strains of virus circulating each year.

So now we have a virus that we can all catch as easily as we all catch colds. But 1% of us catching it, usually the most vulnerable, will die. With a population of 66 million, that means upwards of 600,000 people dying if we do nothing. Not immediately, but eventually.

So we canít return to normality where we all catch colds every year. The crowded shops, bars, restaurants and sports venues will not discriminate between the common cold and Covid-19. You will catch either, and a toss of the coin will decide which.

For most of you, it wonít matter, you will survive but it wonít be a pleasant few weeks.

However, for many and their families it will be hell on earth.

`So what can we do?

This country has now lost the battle of virus elimination. The virus is everywhere.

I doubt if we have the political will to win the battle of virus containment. The population will not accept mandatory testing and confinement on a large scale.

We now have to live with the virus risk and need to manage that risk personally. For most of the young and fit, this will be no problem. Certainly no worse than drinking too much, recreational drugs or unprotected sex. And they have done all of those to excess for generations.

However, for the more elderly or clinically vulnerable, a new world has dawned. That next cold might not be a cold, it could be Covid-19 and curtains.

The Government needs to relax the lock down to get country moving again for the benefit of all. However, it cannot eliminate the risk that comes with doing this. Infection rates have certainly dropped off in the last two weeks but they are now on a plateau with some signs of rising in some areas. For the foreseeable future, we will be in a daily struggle to manage the risk as a nation so that most people are ok.

For us and our families, the situation is more personal. We are not statistics, we are people. People are exposed to this virus every time they go about in public, just like they are with the common cold.

I hope that in the next two weeks we will move to a new phase where we can meet properly with our loved ones. But I am under no illusions, I know the risks that this will carry.

In our family, we will all do everything we can to protect ourselves when we go out, but we know that this new normal will be very different. Helen has realised that she needs to find a mask that she can wear for 8 hours if she every wants to visit an art gallery in London again. Lynne knows that the foreign holidays she loves may now involve weeks of quarantine either side of the holiday.

Me, Iím quite happy cutting grass in the Village, outdoors all day waving to people from a distance. I can view art on the internet and watch travel programmes on TV anyway. I hate catching colds anyway and certainly donít want Covid-19. But a simple life of no risk is my choice. You all need to decide your level of risk, but the key thing is to understand that we will never again have zero risk from this virus, barring a miracle of course, but thatís Michelleís department not mine.

So stay safe folks and look after yourselves and your loved ones.

Thank you