COVID-19 – Our Story So Far

What a weird weird world we find ourselves in during 2020. In December 2019 COVID-19 broke out in China and has now spread around the world.

For the benefit of N I wanted to try and describe what it means to us as a family, here and now. Not the words the press or historians write about it, or heaven forbid what he studies in school, but what it means to the day to day life of an average family.

What is COVID-19?

Well if you’re reading this now I really hope I’m not explaining something new to you! If you’re reading this in the future then there are probably better sources than me to learn about it!

COVID-19 is a strain of Coronavirus
COVID-19 is a strain of Coronavirus

Having said that, COVID-19 is a type of Coronavirus disease. The virus that causes it is called SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2). It’s a new strain of Coronavirus (which is the common cold actually) not seen before in humans.

The symptoms are focused around a dry continuous cough and a fever, with other symptoms being added to the list as time goes on. The latest official one in the UK is to lose your sense of smell and taste. That must be so weird!

Where it started is a good question. It is currently thought to have began in Wuhan in China, and that it started in a market where they sell live and dead animals together. Some think that it came from bats infecting some of the animals at the market, but I expect we may never know.

Sadly many people have passed away from it. Too many. I know pharmaceutical companies are working on a cure or a vaccine, but at the time of writing nothing has been finished but testing is ongoing.

What Are We Doing In The UK?

Well it all started quite slowly. There were a few cases here in the UK and it almost didn’t seem to grow much for a while. I guess it’s because we only interact with so many people in one day so it takes time to spread, but as more infected people interact with more people it spreads faster.

Then it really seemed to grow quick, both in cases and casualties. One of the challenges is around testing. It’s hard to know how many people actually have it as not everyone is being tested. The testing is fairly sporadic so we can’t say how many have it, but we can say how many confirmed cases there have been. I won’t quote a figure in this post as it will continue to change unfortunately.

Social Distancing Rules!
Social Distancing Rules!

For a while now we have had to implement ‘social distancing’. This means we have to be at least two metres away from anyone else when we go out. If we have a delivery to our house they now knock on the door and step back, leaving packages on the doorstep.

Sadly many people were, and still are, breaching the social distancing guidelines. This means the risk of COVID-19 being transferred is high.


From the evening of 23rd March we were all in lockdown. I heard half the population on the planet are in lockdown at one point. What does that mean? Essentially you can only go out to get food (where there is tape on the floor to indicate 2m gaps to support social distancing!), for medical reasons or once per day for exercise. You can also go to work if you really cannot work from home.

Thankfully Clare and I can both work from home easily enough.

Shops were closed across the country. Coffee shops, electrical shops, virtually anything that isn’t a food shop is closed. Parks, trails, cities essentially shut off unless you live there and go out to exercise…everything is shut down.

Airlines were closed, flights cancelled (including our holiday to Gran Canaria). Sports were closed down too, like the Premier League stopping, rugby, the London Marathon, Wimbledon, cricket…everything. It all shut down. Euro 2020 is postponed until 2021, as are the Olympics.

Weddings, funerals, christenings, all cancelled. Churches were closed.

All schools and nurseries were closed other than for key workers. Key workers are those that are helping in the fight against COVID-19, such as those working in the NHS, delivery personnel, pharmaceutical supply chains, teachers (where schools were open for the children of other key workers) and many others roles. There are key workers in our family, working in the NHS, and teachers, and we’re very proud of all of them and the dangers they are putting themselves in.

What About The NHS?

Thank you NHS!
Thank you NHS!

This is especially true of those working in the NHS, both in our family and others, who are going to work every day and facing patients who have COVID-19 and voluntarily putting themselves in the way of danger, in the line of fire, so to speak, of COVID-19.

Some of them in the NHS had Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like face masks, gloves, gowns etc, but all too many of them didn’t at first. There was a severe lack of PPE in the NHS, to the point where nurses are wearing the same mask for 12 hours and not drinking water because they will have to bin their only face mask for the day. It’s better now (in November) but for a long time we were severely under-resourced with PPE. People were even making them in their garages and donating them it was that bad.

This is part of the reason why the whole country showed their appreciation for the NHS front line by standing on their doorstep or leaning out of windows every Thursday to clap, bang things together and generally make noise.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was another confirmed case of COVID-19. He was been admitted to an intensive care unit in a London hospital. In fact, a whole temporary hospital was built in London just for COVID-19, and they prepared others across the country too. They were called Nightingale hospitals.

There weren’t enough ventilators across the world for the number of critically ill patients. Many different people and organisations started building ventilators, even F1 teams. Many manufacturers switched their machines to make PPE equipment. It was a real worldwide effort, a worldwide fight against a common enemy.

Key workers were terrified of going to work, and terrified of what they could take home to their families, and yet they still went. They put themselves and their family in danger for the benefit of everyone else, like me, Clare and N.

We came out of lockdown for a few months, and things seemed to be going ok. But then the cases started to grow, deaths started to grow, and then from 5th November we went back into another lockdown, or ‘lockdown light’ as some have called it as the schools and nurseries are still open. We are due to come out of this lockdown on 2nd December…we’ll see!

What Does It Mean For Me, Clare and N?

Due to a health condition and our desire to protect N we have been isolating at home and effectively practising the lockdown principles since before lockdown officially started.

N didn’t go to nursery from lockdown to the start of August. He adapted fairly well to not being in nursery but did mention it every now and again. We do worry about the long term impact of him not going to nursery for an extended period it time. The lack of interaction with other children, of playing with children, talking to them. We worried about what he would be like when he went back in. Thankfully he had adapted well and very quickly. Ok the first few times going back were pretty traumatic for all involved, but he is much better now we are in November. He is behaving like there was no gap in his attendance at nursery which is pleasing to see, so hopefully there is no long term impact (as long as we solve COVID-19!).

Entertaining N

The biggest challenge we faced was balancing work while looking after N, as were/are so many families across the country. Thankfully for us it was only two days a week (when he would normally go to nursery) whereas other families have to balance 5 days of work and children. Those two days were challenging enough with meetings and work. I was actually starting work at 6:30am so when he got up at about 8 or 9 I had some time done already. Clare and I were comparing diaries each week and blocking time out when the other is in a meeting so we are doing what we can. Thankfully both of our employers are very considerate to their staff.

Entertaining N is a bit of a challenge too, so much so we are ending up buying all sorts for him! We’ve even bought him a playhouse for in the garden (that took me a while to paint and put together!). He loves it though.

He’s also enjoyed going in our little hot tub. It’s one of those blow up ones but plenty big enough to dunk him in! Of course his swimming lessons have been cancelled for now so it’s a great benefit to him to have the ability to play in the hot tub so he’s still used to going under the water, practising his ‘tiger arms’ and jumping in. He loves it!

We are so thankful for the space we have outside in our garden. We really felt for people across the country with children who live in flats and can’t go out other than once per day for exercise during lockdown. It must be even more challenging for them. It really makes you feel thankful.

We are also glad we have already made a playroom for him, somewhere to put loads of his toys and let him make a mess. Whether it be with Play-Doh or his chalk board, he loves going in there so it’s a good play to use up some of his energy, and for him to play and us to sit when we have to work!

What’s Next?

It’s hard to say what’s around the corner. We are hearing of some promising results from the vaccine trials so many are suggesting we could be somewhat back to normal by spring 2021. We just can’t wait for that to come and will be in that queue as soon as we can, but it depends on the priority of everyone else who needs it, like NHS workers, care home staff, the clinically vulnerable.

Christmas is just around the corner and who knows what that will bring. Will we be able to see our families? Can we even exchange presents in person? Will some people be spending it alone due to restrictions placed on us? We just don’t know. The whole country is crying out for a Christmas as normal as possible so hopefully this lockdown will help us get there.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.