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Opinion : Are you prepared for the arrival of the Coronavirus?

| March 6, 2020

The emergence of the new Covid-19 Coronavirus must surely be one of the most worry developments in recent years.

For most of the population it seems the symptoms will be no worse than the flu or a heavy cold, but for the elderly and those with certain health problems it poses a serious concern.

At the time of writing (Friday 6th March 2020) the virus is still localised in the UK indeed there are, so far, no reported cases in the High Wycombe area.

However if the predictions published in the national press are correct it looks as if the virus could pose some short term challenges for us all.

Yesterday my good self was in a supermarket in Wycombe town centre and to my surprise certain items had sold out leaving empty shelves. Of course if there are shortages in the shops, particularly with food, then the shortages could potentially be more of a threat than the actual virus.

Apparently the Government has advised that, if the virus takes hold, then ‘up to to 20% of the UK workers could be ‘off sick’ at any given time‘ and the police may need to focus on only the most serious crimes and maintaining public order.

Of course this means that less serious crimes may not be investigated. When my good self heard this news my first thought was is that going to make any difference given the appallingly low conviction rates for some less serious crimes including burglary?

But thinking about the announcement I am left wondering if it was sensible to announce such news? After all isn’t it just letting burglars and petty criminals know they are even more likely to get away with the their crimes and thus sparking a low level crime wave to coincide with the arrival of the virus?

So far my good self hasn’t seen anyone wearing protective masks in High Wycombe town centre. Indeed the general advice being issued is not to wear masks, especially the surgical type of mask, as they don’t offer much protection. to the wearer. However they do stop the wearer from spreading the virus.

But hang on, surely the whole point of virus containment is to stop the spread? The wearer may not be protected but by wearing a mask the wearer is protecting others around them – isn’t that a key thing in stopping the spread of the virus?

In my opinion everyone should be thinking of others and not themselves therefore everyone should be wearing masks, further more free masks should be issued at public places like railway stations, bus stations, etc… with strict requirements to wear them when travelling on trains, buses and in enclosed environments where others are present.

While the surgical type of mask may not be effective at protecting the wearer the ‘N95’ (so called by cause they block at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) test particles) type mask does apparently offer some protection, but they are supposedely difficult to fit and uncomfortable to wear.

Luckily a while back a good friend of mine, who was in the asbestos removal business, handed yours truly some N99 FFP3 asbestos dust masks which apparently offer even more protection over a N95.

The other day yours truly happened to go into several shops in the town centre and was surprised to see hot air being blown from air-conditioning units above doors and in the ceilings to keep the shops, banks, etc… warm.

Surely blowing air around buildings is just spreading the virus, should it be present, even faster to everyone in the building? In my opinion the Government should ban the operation of air-conditioning and fan heaters that move air rapidly around buildings while the virus poses a risk.

There’s so much talk about the spread of the virus. But is anything going to be done about the suspected cause, namely a food market in China? Should the countries of the world not be asking China to increase their hygiene standards at food markets to European levels so viruses like this don’t cross from animals to humans ever again?

We are being told to keep washing our hands while singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to stop the virus, indeed one politician suggested that we should sing the national anthem instead. But what about washing our faces? Surely if your hands are clean and your face isn’t and you touch your face the virus will transfer to your hands making the hand washing pointless?

My good self has gone one step further before retiring for the night. Yours truly sings the national anthem while washing my hands, then it’s a quick burst of Rule Britannia while washing my face and then I hum a couple of sea shanties while brushing my teeth. Going to bed is rapidly turning into The Last Night of The Proms….

It also amazes me how many people just cough and sneeze at will. Indeed a few days ago my good self was about to pay in a town centre shop when suddenly the customer two in front of me sneezed all over the conveyor belt at the till covering the conveyor belt and all the items on it.

To my amazement the cashier took no action to clean the belt and carried on checking out the items. Surely there should law that disinfectant is on hand in every shops to deal with such incidents? Naturally my good self walked away immediately leaving behind my unpaid for goods.

While items like antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer have sold out it surprised me that vitamin supplements are still in plentiful supply such as vitamin C that can help boost one’s immune system.

Since the virus emerged yours truly has been taking regular vitamin supplements to make sure my immune system is working at full capacity. What’s the point of having a stock of disinfectants and anti bacterial wipes if your body’s immune system isn’t fully topped up to fight off the virus should one catch it?

It was amazing how many people were recently out shopping during the daytime. Of course the more people you encounter the greater your chances of coming across someone with the virus.

When my good self wanted a weekly shop I took advantage of a local supermarket that offered 24-hour opening. There was virtually nobody there at the time my good self was shopping thus reducing my exposure to others and decreasing the likelihood of me catching the virus. Oh, and the shelves were also full as the assistants were busy stocking them up thus allowing me to buy what I needed before everyone else got there.

The great and the good are now saying that ‘transmission of the Coronavirus within the community in the UK is now highly likely‘.

The world is currently carrying on as normal, however judging by the small scale panic buying starting in the shops and the implications of widespread illness within the community my good self fears we may by moving to situation where it will soon be every man for himself.

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

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