Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a virus which was first encountered in Wuhan at the end of 2019. Since first being discovered, it has spread across the world, affecting over 450,000 people. Over a third of the worlds population are currently in lockdown in their respective countries to try and stop the spread of the virus. Communities are being told to not leave their homes, don't interact with anyone who does not reside in your household and to generally quarantine themselves - even from those who they live with - if they feel unwell or are over the age of 70. As a society, we're now washing our hands more than ever before, all tuning into the news at 5:00 every day and showing our kind, human nature that little bit more. But just how worried should we be in the UK about Coronavirus?
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is actually the name of a family of viruses, thought to stem from animals. The COVID-19 illness that is currently spreading is a branch of these, and it can cause several symptoms, including pneumonia. There are still a few unknowns about the illness however, it's thought it is spread through cough droplets, and contact with those already infected. It is thought the virus can survive on some surfaces for up to 72 hours however, research has proven it is quite difficult to get the virus from a surface as apposed to coming into contact with someone who is infected. Symptoms include shortness of breath, a cough and a fever - though these are common symptoms for other illnesses and do not necessarily mean the person has the illness. Whether you have developed any of the aforementioned symptoms or not, the Government is advising us to stay confined to our own homes as to avoid passing Covid-19 to anyone else. Symptoms do not show for 5 - 7 days and although the risk of spreading the virus in this period is low, we need to do everything we can to stop Coronavirus getting any worse, spreading further and taking any more lives.
The virus was thought to have started in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Since then, it has spread to other countries, becoming particularly prevalent in Italy, Spain, South Korea, and Iran. The virus entered the UK in early 2020 - with some of the first few cases being contained in York, North Yorkshire. Since then, the whole of the UK has been effected with over 9,500 cases at present (26.03.20) and over 450 deaths. It is likely that the virus will spread further before it gets better, but in the meantime, there are several things we can all do to prevent the spread.
What are the risks?
As of this month, the virus has affected more than than 450,000 people across the world. When the virus first came to the UK, the Chief Medical Officers advised us to avoid travelling, or seek medical advice if we had recently visited somewhere with the virus however in recent weeks, the UK as we know it has changed drastically in order to prevent the loss of life any further. The Government have announced a variety of measures to try and ensure our safety. Schools, leisure facilities, bars and restaurants are now closed. Businesses are being encouraged to allow their staff to work from home where possible and more recently, large chains such as McDonalds and Primark have closed their doors.
The UK, like many other countries, is in lockdown. Until the current measures are revised at the beginning of April, there are several restrictions we must abide by.
Should I be worried?
Whilst we know it all sounds concerning, it's important to remember to stay calm and sensible. At present, there is no cure or vaccine for the virus, however several health measures have been put in place to try and stop the spread - such as not leaving your home unless it is for one of the reasons below. We're being advised to try and avoid putting any more strain on the NHS. Some hospitals are encouraging patients to contact them via video. Social distancing is something which we all need to now take seriously. All travel and socialising should be kept to a minimum - only if it is 100% necessary. More details on what we as a society should and shouldn't be doing can be seen below.
As of 23.03.20, stricter rules have come into place, as outlined by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson on the BBC. Some of the restrictions which are now in place across the UK are:
- Not leaving your home unless it is to go shopping for the basics, as infrequently as possible. You should use a delivery service where possible though.
- As well as the above, you should only be leaving your home for medical reasons for yourself (e.g. Cancer Treatment), to donate blood or to provide care or help to a vulnerable person. You should also not be in the workplace unless it is absolutely necessary and you cannot work from home. Here at Careline, we're lucky that our Care Team are able to work as effectively from their homes, another of our offices or at our headquarters. We have members of staff in different locations to ensure their safety. This also enables us to continue to provide our 5-star service throughout this entire crisis - something we're confident we will be able to achieve.
- We are also advised that we should not be meeting friends or family members who do not currently reside in the same household however;
- We have been told we are able to partake in one form of exercise a day outside of the home. This can be done alone or with members of your household only. Dog walking is allowed as a part of this one form of exercise a day and as long as the person doesn't leave the house more than once. Therefore, if there are serveral people in the household, the dog can have more than one walk a day.
- If you're under 18, you are allowed to travel between seperated parents houses.
A variety of shops and leisure facilities have been closed in the past week including, libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms, places of worship, restaurants, bars and shops which do no supply medication or food.
All social events have been banned and the police are now able to break up any gatherings of 2 or more people. Weddings, baptisms, sporting events and concerts have all been cancelled until further notice as well - all in an effort to slow down and then stop this terrible virus.
Despite the methods put in place, we understand that the media has made it hard not to worry, what with the constant coverage and scare tactics. Of those infected, it is estimated that over 110,000 people worldwide have recovered completely after contracting the virus, with more and more people getting better each day. Furthermore, even though many have caught the illness, a lot of people have had what is described as 'mild' symptoms. Even though the media might make the figures sound scary, at present (26.03.20), it's actually estimated that more people die of influenza. It is estimated that in the 2017-2018 flu season in America, around 61,000 people died of the flu. However as the media didn't exaggerate the figures, it's likely not that many people panicked about it!
What can I do?
The best advice would be not to panic. There have been an increase in cases of people convinced they have the virus simply because they've read the symptoms of it, and this uses up NHS time and resources. Make sure you catch any coughs or sneezes in a tissue, and wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching your face where possible. If you do start to encounter symptoms, contact 111 for advice. They may be able to arrange for an expert to call you, and give you the best advice.
Whether you have the virus or not, it is advised that you stay at home for some rest and relaxation. This means avoiding contact with others, including your friends and family. Nearly 100% of our customers here at Careline365 qualify for VAT exemption by having a long-term health condition. It is these people who are most at risk of Coronavirus. If you are aged over 70 or if you have a medical condition which might render you in the high-risk category, it is important to stay at home. This is where we might be able to help.
Keep your spirits up!
Whilst this is the hardest thing that the UK has faced for a long, long time, the way the country has come together to help out those in need is simply amazing. Despite all of the negatives - and realities - that the media is reporting on, the positives to come out of this bleak situation are evident as well.
From a Care Home in Wales playing a life-size Hungry Hippos to anyone and everyone showing their support and respect to the NHS and key workers - the good in all of us has been shining through these past few months.
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(Measteg, Wales, UK): Seniors at Bryn Celyn Care Home play a real-life hungry hippo game to entertain themselves during quarantine. #isolationgoals Residentes de este asilo para ancianos en el reino unido juegan a quien puede agarrar más pelotas para divertirse un rato durante la cuarentena por el coronavirus. Courtesy: Bryn Celyn Care Home
Can Careline help?
A Careline Alarm may be able to help those who are concerned about Coronavirus. Our Care Teams go through a rigorous training process and as a result will be able to advise you if you're concerned about being exposed to the virus. They'll be able to point you in the right direction on getting help and medical advice.
In addition to this, for those who might be less steady on their feet, or less confident living alone, a quarantine will naturally sound quite scary. You may be concerned about a fall and not having someone around around to help. With a Careline alarm, however, you can stay connected to 24 hour assistance whenever you need it.
Our wearable pendant alarm enables you to contact our response team at the push of a button, who can get you help - either in the form of one of your chosen emergency contacts, or the emergency services if required. This means you can remain independent and healthy, knowing you've got constant support.
If you are over 70 or have a health condition, please listen to Government advice and self-isolate in your home. If you feel a Careline Alarm Plan could help you during this difficult time, please call our friendly team today on 0800 101 3333.