I’m at home self-isolating having I picked up what I suspect to be Covid-19 starting on the Sunday just gone. I registered a very mild transient temperature which was short-lived that evening. The penny dropped on my way to work the following day when I developed a very minor cough and a sense of nasal catarrh. I did not have a congested nose, sneezing nor a sore throat.

I immediately rang the small community hospital (one of the places where I work) to let them know of my suspicions and that I felt I couldn’t come to work. They readily agreed. Of course I don’t know for sure whether I do indeed have it or not as the UK government at this stage are not routinely testing in the community.

The mood of the nation is increasingly sombre and anxious. The 24/7 news cycle is in full coronavirus mode with flashing blood red headlines against a backdrop of graphic and uncountable viral particles shedding ad infinitum on one particular channel. For once the fear-mongering may not be commensurate with what is to come.

The country is slowly but surely beginning to shut down. People are beginning to ponder and come to grips with all of the ramifications – not just with regards to personal health, but also financial, economic and social.

The government are ramping up their actions and rhetoric, but they just give the impression of being a little bit behind the curve. This is not where you want to be when you look at the harrowing images and numbers coming out of Italy, where there is what can only be described as a geriatric holocaust.

On a personal level I’m trying to steel myself mentally and emotionally for what is to come as best I can. This involves visualising actual battlefield conditions (imagery supplemented from war movies – my life’s only visual frame of reference). I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of my time either palliating patients, or trying to get them admitted to non-existent beds, and then palliating them.

I bumped into a colleague last week during a change-over at an out of hours shift. This was before I became unwell. She is quite religious. She is a very decent person but her religiosity can sometimes be a little bit intrusive.

We were discussing the impending crisis. As we parted she said that she would pray for me. She then looked at me and said “God didn’t cause this”, and that she knew this for certain. However her eyes betrayed a sense of not being as sure as her words implied. I had to refrain from suggesting that if it wasn’t caused by God then perhaps it was caused by another supreme being with the same name.

In truth I feel sorry for her as her faith is going to be tested in ways she could never have possibly imagined. It will not surprise me if she feels differently when this is over. In that sense I feel glad I’m an atheist. That is one particular cross I will not have to bear.

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