The Coronavirus Issue
It is a virus that has taken the world by storm. Nations cannot agree on how to best manage or contain it, and lives have been turned upside down, within a matter of days. The infection has been deemed to be a new and deadlier Coronavirus than any other in previous times, and it is classed under the name of ‘COVID-19’.
What does the word ‘Coronavirus’ mean?
To appreciate the severity of COVID-19, we must understand the basics of how a virus works. Humans, animals and plants are made up of genetic building blocks known as DNA and RNA1. Both of these genetic materials carry information from one generation to the next2.
DNA is the double-stranded helix chain of molecules that determines the characteristics of all organisms3. RNA is a single strand of molecules that carries genetic information from the DNA and transforms it into protein. Whilst DNA is the main genetic code, RNA converts that code into proteins, carrying out the necessary cellular processes such as cell division4.
Image courtesy of nocaute.blog.br – Coronavirus
A virus will attach itself to these living cells and take advantage of cell division and cell growth, to manifest into an infection. In a number of viruses, it is the RNA that carries the viral genetic information5.
What happens when a virus attacks?
Image courtesy of axial.acs.org – chemists – COVID-19
The word ‘Virus’ is from the Latin translation meaning ‘slimy liquid’ or ‘poison’6. Viruses infect host cells. They insert their own genetic code into the primary cell and take over the host’s original function. Some viruses remain dormant but when stimulated, they kill the host unit and infect other cells7. Based on recent data and the current pandemic, we know that viruses can jump between species and new strains can develop8. RNA viruses mutate easily. Any group of ‘RNA viruses’ are defined as ‘Coronavirus’, affecting humans and animals9. Some examples of Coronavirus are MERS and SARS10. They typically affect the respiratory system11.
New diseases that have not been previously identified are given names to differentiate them from other types of viruses. COVID-19 is the ‘disease’ name, coined in 2019 by the ‘World Health Organisation’ first used with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The current virus, at the time of writing, is completely new (termed as a novel coronavirus) for this era. Research continues into this novel virus, but none the less, it falls into the disease category of COVID-19. Since it is new to scientists, the vaccine development had to start from scratch. Development was expedited to deliver the vaccines within a year rather than the expected 2-year forecast.
Image courtesy of BioWorld.com
Now that we know what Coronavirus & COVID-19 are, what should we do next?
Prevention is key
Governments and scientists, worldwide have raised the alarm regarding this neo-generation virus, so communities must take heed of this advice and continue to practice ‘social distancing’, with advanced measures of care to be taken at places of work and social grounds. Everyone should make a conscious effort to watch or read the news for regular updates.
Image courtesy of coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk
Hygiene is Paramount
We have been guided by the Government and NHS on the best ways to prevent cross-contamination of the virus. We must wear a facemask wherever it is required in public, wash our hands with antibacterial agents and maintain a safe distance from those that are not from the same household or ‘bubble‘.
Measures have been implemented to make our shops, services and health centres as safe as possible; but it also requires the public to do their part. The recommended advice is to ‘stay home and stay safe’.
Further Hygiene Tips
- Short Nails are best: Long nails are a breeding ground for bacteria. They harbour germs in hard-to-reach areas, that are difficult to wash and sterilise. By ‘touch’, you potentially run a higher risk of transferring contaminants to another surface, especially food.
- Wear sterile gloves: These gloves are useful at petrol stations and grocery stores where lots of people touch surfaces and products. Remove and dispose of the gloves before you touch your wallet or phone.
- Keep your hair tied back: The aim is to avoid unnecessary contact with your face. Tie your hair back, consider growing your fringe out or pin it back.
- Keep tissues/ wet-wipes/ spare facemasks with you: Antibacterial wet wipes and hand sanitisers are very useful if using public transport or if you’re doing a school-run. Keep stocked up on the new essentials.
- Use antibacterial surface wipes: Disinfect surfaces with disposable antibacterial wipes. It’s another layer of sterile protection. Clean all parcel deliveries with these wipes and dispose of immediately.
- Use contactless payment: Using your phone or cards for payments eliminates the risk of cross-contamination through touching physical money.
- Sterilise outdoor wear: Ideally, keep your coats and footwear away from your everyday items. Keep the bare minimum in your porch, or coat-stands, to avoid the transfer of a contagion. I recently discovered a sterilising spray that is ideal for using on fabric as well as freshening a room. Try: Dettol All in One Disinfectant Spray.
- Change into clean clothes: Clothes have zips and buttons that can transfer a virus so if you have been outdoors, change into clean clothes immediately. Wash laundry items as soon as you can.
Image courtesy of CrossleyStreetSurgery.co.uk (Government advice at the time of writing)
The news is full of the ‘where, how and why’ surrounding the virus. Whilst officials explore the cause, the various mutations and management of this infection, the public have been advised to take precautions to prevent catching and spreading the disease. The severity of this disease cannot be under-estimated, after all, it has brought the whole world to a standstill.
The Lockdown: “My life is on hold”
Image courtesy of RecordNepal.com – COVID-19/PPE
As we mourn the loss of loved ones; friends, family, colleagues and neighbours, we also praise the ‘front-line’ key workers who put themselves at risk to protect the nation. We have seen ordinary people, just like you and I, do extraordinary things, from raising millions of pounds for the NHS to caring for the vulnerable. Irrespective of age, gender, beliefs and backgrounds, people have stood together in unison to cheer and applaud the ever so brave super-heroes of today’s generation and support one another in times of need.
Image courtesy of SmoothRadio.com – clap for our carers
Without delving into all the facts and speculation surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, one thing is for sure; our lives have been changed. For some, the change has been little and for others, it has been a lot. As we stand in a position of limbo, what can we do to survive, support and re-program our lives?
Image courtesy of news.vcu.edu – COVID-19
Take all the necessary precautions to stay safe. Stay home and encourage your loved ones to do the same. If you must step outdoors, wear a mask and use disposable gloves that can be thrown away before you touch your car, bike or front door. Our generation has the bonus of multi-media technology. We can keep in touch with our friends and family via a multitude of portals. Keep the communication links open and keep checking up on one another. This keeps us mentally on form.
For those that are suddenly in a financial conundrum, reduce the expenses immediately. Reign in on the unnecessary costs. Use internet search engines to best customise your utility bills. Where possible, request payment breaks. Most importantly, give up the bad habits that are eroding your pockets. This will include smoking items, drinks and, not to forget, comfort foods. Your finances and health will both improve by giving up these vices.
Image courtesy of stJohnVic.com.au
We can all do our part where it is safe to do so. Help the elderly with their weekly groceries whilst you do your own shopping. Drop the goods at their front door and maintain your distance. Maybe phone the vulnerable people around you and just check that they are coping. Is there anything extra that you can do to help? If vulnerable community members cannot collect medicines, arrange a prescription drop-off delivery via their local pharmacy.
Show all of our key workers that we appreciate their excellent services. Put your ‘rainbows’ up, to express your gratitude to the numerous carers, postmen and women, and delivery people that continue to work in these uncertain times, just to keep us safe.
Image courtesy of TheBoltonNews.co.uk
To Re-program our Lives
It is no longer a choice to stop and analyse our lives. It has been imposed upon us, whether we agree with it or not. People all need a break to reassess their lives, but it is often overlooked because we prioritise work over ‘life’. So, why not use the lockdown as an opportunity to breathe and take a moment to see if where we are today, is where we had imagined ourselves to be? This is a personal task because only we know what aspirations we have or had.
Many prolific people in history, took ‘time out’ to reduce the ‘noise’ in their heads, and receive clear insights for their future innovations. One example is Mr Steve Jobs, who travelled for months to gain ‘spiritual enlightenment’12. His journey of quiet contemplation, lead him to become a pioneer of technology and the co-founder of ‘Apple Computer Inc’13. In 2007, his innovative ‘iPhone technology’ took the world by storm and today, millions of people worldwide, are testimony to his brilliance by carrying an ‘Apple’ device as an instrument for daily use. Steve Jobs story shows that quiet time can be a time to rest, recuperate and receive inspiration.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
The Career Break
As soon as the lockdown was announced, I called it ‘my career break’ because I was one of the many, that could not go to work, or work from home. The aspects of my career that were draining me, had to be re-evaluated. To do this, I created a ‘personal checklist’. I kept it simple. Only 2 columns; 1 to show the positive changes to my life because of the lockdown and the other to reflect the negatives. It is an age-old method of weighing up the pro’s and con’s of any situation in life with a view of implementing modifications to a system for its betterment. For illustration purposes, I have included this straightforward checklist in hope that it may console and inspire those, that may have hit a road-block. For myself, I could see that I would benefit from reducing my days in practice, and concentrate on writing more. Instead of being on the road 5 to 6 days a week, I will feel more at peace by splitting my work between home and practical clinics.
Lockdown ‘Positive’ Changes
Lockdown ‘Negative’ Changes
I am waking-up by 8am instead of 6am! I am
getting quality sleep.
|Being self-employed, I am not earning a wage through my regular day-job|
|As a writer, I can work from home, wearing a T-shirt, joggers & slippers (no more heels)!||Exasperated hay-fever allergy! The garden is in full bloom & the windows are open!|
|I appreciate nature: my new environment is full of birds, trees and flowers.||Delays on on-line deliveries (I need my antihistamines)|
|Reduced stress: No more militant time-keeping or limited lunch breaks!||Gym is closed: my work-outs are better with a personal trainer. I lack discipline and I feel lazy at home|
|No need to colour my hair or paint my nails… Hooray! … and no ‘work’ make-up||Burnt-out with the de-cluttering task! Waiting for charity shops to re-open|
|I’m walking 5km -8km daily for moderate exercise||Missing my friends/family/ work colleagues|
|I am dedicating more time to Prayer & meditation||Some days I feel really lazy and de-motivated|
|I sometimes have ‘power-naps’ to re-energise my body and brain|
|I am reading a lot more books|
|I work with natural ventilation & air. No air-con! No dry-eyes or breathing problems.|
|I work with natural lighting. No more cheap office LED lights!|
|I am being mindful of eating well and drinking 8 glasses of water a day|
|I am more confident ‘selling’ on eBay|
|De-cluttered the house, garden & garage!|
|No more 3-hour daily commutes. It’s exhausting & expensive.|
Image courtesy of azquotes.com
As well as spring-cleaning, home-tutoring the children, gardening and catching up on those movies that you ‘just didn’t have the time to watch’, try creating a daily ‘to-do list’. It will keep the senses stimulated. As an example, I shall let you know mine. I kept it short and easy to stick to. A daily list should feel attainable.
- Pray & meditate
- Exercise (I chose walking and a free exercise app)
- Work: this includes writing, continued learning and weekly accounts
- Learn a new skill (I joined Babbel to learn Spanish)… and I find this the hardest!
If you can work from home, which ordinarily you wouldn’t have been able to do, dedicate some of the freed-up commuting-time to do something mentally stimulating other than your job. This could be a gentle form of meditation whereby you give yourself 15 minutes to listen to relaxing music and concentrate on your breathing. This decreases stress, increases the level of oxygen to give you more energy, and lowers blood pressure14. This form of meditation is simple enough to follow even for those that are feeling over-worked and under pressure during current times.
Image courtesy of lindersvold.dk
You’re not alone
The lockdown was sudden and something that we could never have imagined at the start of 2020. Everyone’s lives have been impacted differently. The medical industry and delivery companies are virtually all working overtime whilst on the opposite end of the spectrum, companies have completely shut down and job security is hanging on a fine thread. The worries that we face are real, and they affect us all.
Image courtesy of news.usc.edu – COVID-19 stress
Being self-employed, I can relate to the number of small businesses and the solo-self-employed traders out there, who are not earning any money at all, during the lockdown. I certainly appreciate the Government intervention to provide some financial support during these testing times.
Image courtesy of hbr.org – (Harvard Business Review) – Economic shock of Coronavirus
Not to go unnoticed, is the number of people suffering silently during this pandemic. Those that feel that they don’t have a voice. Isolation can be terrifying for such people that are completely housebound, depressed or suffering from abuse. The level of anxiety and loneliness is exasperated by the sudden change in everyone’s ‘normality’. If, as an onlooker, you suspect abuse, please report it. You could be saving someone’s life.
At the foot of this article, are useful links for anyone requiring advice on local support and care.
Money V’s Health
As a self-employed dispensing optician, my last day at work, before the lockdown was Saturday 21st March 2020. I was putting myself and family members at risk because I didn’t fully appreciate the severity of the coronavirus. Working and earning seemed to take precedence over health, and as I mull over this choice right now, during a period of lockdown, I understand how naïve I was.
Image courtesy of CoastalWealthManagement24.com – The health-wealth connection
Although I am self-employed, an optician and a writer, these do not define me. I am more than just a job. Working 5-6 days a week, have I, like so many others, forgotten who I am? I have a family that I simply adore. I love reading and being outdoors. I used to be a free spirit, laughing and joking all the time. A social person that loved going out; learning and exploring. But, over the past decade, my personal circumstances changed and my job took over my life. I almost feel ashamed that it has taken a deadly disease, to shake up my world and awaken my inner being.
Now is the perfect time to ‘reflect’ and ‘change’
Perhaps, in light of everything that is happening in the world, right now, we should accept this opportunity to stop, breathe and reflect. It is time to take a moment to assess how we can change ourselves for a better future. In this stillness, value the sudden change that has occurred globally to every human, animal and the planet.
Image courtesy of YouTube.com – Pollution in Los Angeles, CA: Before & during COVID-19 lockdown
Whilst the disease sweeps across the world and takes with it so many human lives, the planet is healing and animals are roaming parts of the earth, that have been urbanised by human civilisation. The Coronavirus hasn’t just sparked a deadly rampage upon mankind, but it has paved a way for ‘mother nature’ to reclaim what is rightfully hers. I write this article with much respect to those who have been affected by this pandemic in the most horrific ways. However, we must take heed over our actions and accept, that whatever the origin of the disease, it has highlighted, that we are all responsible for the degrading of our planet.
Image courtesy of DailyMail.co.uk – Cat comes face to face with Deer in Harold Hill, London, UK
With the lockdown in March 2020, in a short space of 3 months, we saw images of animals walking freely everywhere, irrespective of whether that terrain is ordinarily occupied by people. Beyond the large, overbuilt towns, we can see clear skies and tall mountains because they are no longer shrouded by a blanket of pollution. If everyone did their part in making positive changes, not would we only survive the current pandemic, but we could build a better world for ourselves and humanity at large.
Image courtesy of Pinterest.co.uk – Mother Nature
If tomorrow the World crashed again, will you be prepared?
I’m sure that, in a round-about way, we have all contemplated over our past actions and habits. If we could turn back the clock, would we have done it all differently? Have we wasted precious time, talent and money on the mundane, rather than the fruitful?! The truth is, we shall never know, but there is consolation in knowing that we can make a positive change, starting here and now.
Measures can be actioned, in the present moment to ensure good health, mental well-being and financial stability. The former two, require the dedication of time whilst the latter requires saving more and spending less. You are given one life. It doesn’t matter if we have made a mistake, somewhere along life’s journey. Tomorrow is a new day, and with every new day, comes new opportunities. Learn from the past, live in the moment but, always be prepared for what the future may bring.
“Only Buy luxuries with spare cash;
NOT all of your cash”
Quote: Reena Bains
(click on the link or copy & paste the links into your browser)
GOV.UK (Support for COVID-19, money, abuse & much more):
NHS (health advice & regular updates concerning COVID-19. Includes mental health & suicide):
Citizens Advice Bureau (all levels of advice surrounding work, money, family & COVID-19):
Age UK (advice & support for the aged):
The Samaritans (advice & support regarding all personal matters, including suicide):
Science.sciencemag.org – Hachimoji DNA and RNA
Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – DNA, RNA and the flow of genetic information
Sciencemadesimple.co.uk – What is DNA?
Courses.lumenlearning,com – DNA and RNA
RNAsociety.org – What is RNA?
Britannica.com – Science/virus
UCMP.berkeley.edu – all life/Introduction to the viruses
Urologyofva.net – (Urology of Virginia) – How viruses work and how to prevent and eliminate them naturally
Lexico.com – Definition of Coronavirus
CDC.gov – (Centers for disease control and prevention) – Human coronavirus types
Emro.who.int – (World Health Organisation) – Health topics – COVID-19
Scoopwhoop.com – The Steve Jobs success story is an inspiration for anyone who is clueless or confused in life
Biography.com – Steve Jobs Biography
Urbanbalance.com – Benefits of deep breathing
Blog Revised January 2021
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