It’s the first of my regularly scheduled four days off. I ring the doctors to get a prescription for my inhaler. I’ve had a cough and shortness of breath for the last few days. I have asthma, and probably have some kind of infection. There is a message saying the daily open surgery is closed and there will be telephone appointments only. The receptionist sorts out my prescription, but tells me I really need an asthma review. I’m a little perplexed at what I am supposed to do about that right now.
Today’s announcement confirms measures in place to help struggling businesses cope with having to close. Again there is no real timetable and the information and advice given seems vague and unhelpful. Airlines and other affected business are laying people off or asking them to take extended unpaid leave. Ten years of austerity has already left people struggling and having to turn to food banks and charities for daily support. While the government has said people will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay from day one of self-isolation, firstly, this does not even cover a living wage, and secondly this does not include people who are being laid off or asked to take unpaid leave. There is uncertainty, panic and a huge section of society are basically going about their business as usual because they cannot afford to do otherwise.
Theatres have closed down and events are getting cancelled all over the place. Yesterday The Killers, having recently announced a series of North American and Australian dates that were due to go on sale this week, confirm they are postponing the ticket sales. I still have at least half my head in the sand, in order to postpone complete breakdown, but the reality that their UK tour will be cancelled/postponed is looming closer and closer. Leeds Grand email me to confirm that they are closed for the forseeable and they will be in touch about my tickets for Book of Mormon at the end of April in due course.
Mr C is asked to cut his annual leave short, as the person covering for him is self-isolating and basically, there is no one else.
In the evening we head out to the supermarket to buy some beer and snacks after we have both had a particularly stressful week, on top of a load of other stressful weeks this year. The supermarket shelves are empty. Most fresh veg, the meat aisle, toilet roll, hand wash – all empty shelves. We exchange conversation with a gentleman who turns out to be a doctor, he tells us he has been visiting elderly patients and asking if they need him to get them anything, they all turn him down, saying they have family and friends who will look after them. These people lived through rationing, they know how to cope through these testing times. As many supermarkets are already limiting the purchase of several items, the idea of rationing happening again suddenly becomes a little more realistic.
We grab some snacks and the last case of Corona, and bump into a work colleague at checkout. She is trying to shop for her elderly parents and is upset because she cannot get simple staples such as potatoes and bread. This upsets me and I am in tears in the car on the way home. No one should not be able to provide the basics for their elderly parents. Public behaviour is shocking.
We spend the evening drinking away our general disdain for the population and watching some TV.
Caution still on repeat.