So, Have I Got Coronavirus, Or Not?

It’s time to recognise that there might be more Covid-19 symptoms than we think

When Matt Hancock returned to work after recovering from Covid-19, he told the BBC about the “Incredibly painful throat” that had been one of his main symptoms.

“It was like having glass in (there),” said the Health Secretary.

But when I got a sore throat just over a week ago, I didn’t immediately think: Coronavirus.

I thought it was just a passing thing, possibly hay fever. It was fine the next day, but then came back much worse – accompanied now by an aching in my limbs that reached to my fingertips.

I tried to watch telly with the family, but I was grumpy, and my wife ended up sending me to bed.

And, just in case, she told me to sleep in the top room on my own.

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How Coronavirus Can Lead To A Better World

Things can change – and yes, walls can come tumbling down!

The coronavirus as a wrecking ball
Original images: Sylvain Acher/Pixabay; Pete Linforth/Pixabay

THERE IS, literally, something in the air at the moment.

It may just be coincidence but, when I switched on the radio this morning, they were playing Walls Come Tumbling Down.

Remember that? Paul Weller’s rabble rouser from 1985, the zenith of Thatcherism, when he tried bravely to convince us that things didn’t have to be this way.

“You don’t have to take this crap,” Weller sang, adding: “Are you gonna try and make this work, or spend your days down in the dirt?

Well, we all know how that went…. two years later, Maggie got voted in again, and then John Major succeeded her. It wasn’t until 1997 that we got another progressive government.

Today, of course, there’s yet another Tory just been installed at Number 10, and still no end in sight to their dominance of UK politics.

And yet… the sense that things can change is perhaps more tangible these days than at any time since the 1940s.

What’s made the difference is, in a word: Coronavirus.

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I’m Pretty Fucking Far From OK

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, so I’ll be honest: I’ve had it up to here with this m************ lockdown

Ving Rhames and Bruce Willis in a scene from Pulp Fiction

“ARE YOU OK? Are you all well?”

Have you noticed that, since the start of lockdown, people are asking questions like that and sounding as if they actually mean them, for once?

It’s one of the nicer aspects of being in the middle of a global pandemic – a sense that the person asking actually cares how you are, and isn’t just doing it out of politeness.

I reckon this comes from a tacit acceptance that we’re all vulnerable at the moment – so it’s all right to admit to a certain weakness.

Which is not the worst way to be in Mental Health Awareness Week.

But even now, when someone asks if I’m OK, I’m not laying my entire soul on the line.

I might say something guardedly revealing of certain susceptibilities – and then slap back on the stiff upper lip and add: “Of course we’re coping better than expected.”

So it’s not exactly full disclosure – but this is: today I feel pretty fucking far from OK.

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How Putting On Weight In Lockdown Made Me More Humble

Coronavirus has helped me accept that it’s fine to be like everyone else

Man measuring his waist
Image: Michal Jarmoluk/Pixabay

I’ve been thinking a lot about over-indulging while we’ve been in lockdown – and I know I’m not the only one.

The other day, a friend sent a list of Coronavirus phrases trending on What’sApp, including “Covid-10” – meaning the extra 10lbs some of us have put on through comfort eating and drinking since March 23.

In the UK, alcohol sales jumped by 22 per cent in March, while the tendency to binge and put on weight – also known as “fattening the curve” – was likewise observed in countries that went into lockdown before us. 

When the UK followed Italy indoors, the novelist Francesca Melandri wrote from Rome to warn us of the changes that would take place in our lives, many of them involving food.

“First of all, you’ll eat,” Melandri warned. “Not just because it will be one of the few last things that you can still do… You’ll eat again. You will not sleep well… You will put on weight. You’ll look for online fitness training…You will eat again.”

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Lockdown = Getting Weird Shit Done

Coronavirus is making us strangely productive – the allotment has never looked so good, we’re righting decades-old wrongs and… bleaching carrier bags

“Someone’s got too much time on their hands” Image: mrshit50s

Conventional wisdom says that it’s The Devil who makes work for idle hands to do.

But, if our family is anything to go by, the lockdown has actually unleashed the work ethic and creative juices that lurk – if you look hard enough – in the breast of every right-thinking Brit.

We’re still working from home but – as we don’t have to spend time on commuting, make-up or dressing properly – we have become wildly productive in some unexpected areas.

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Who’s Up For Homes Fit For Heroes II?

It’s all very well clapping them every Thursday night, but why not thank key workers properly when the Coronavirus storm blows over?

AT THE END of World War One, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George promised to build 500,000 new homes as a reward for the sacrifices ordinary people had made.

Only 200,000 of them were completed, but for many of those lucky enough to move into a new home, it was their first experience of electricity, running water, bathrooms, indoor toilets and gardens.

By 1939, more than a million council houses had been built across the UK, and in 1948 – three years after victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two – the Government again thanked people for their fortitude with the creation of the National Health Service (applause!).

The Coronavirus pandemic is perhaps the greatest challenge to face this country – and the world – since the 1940s, with ordinary people likes nurses, care home workers and bus drivers again at the forefront of the fight.

When all of this has blown over – and we look at ways of saying ‘Thank You’ to our key workers – we could do worse than building them somewhere decent to live again.

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How I Gave My Kids The Beer-o-Virus

It isn’t just Covid-19 that’s catching in lockdown London

Original Images: Vektor Kunst and Clker Free Images/Pixabay

BACK WHEN the Coronavirus was just getting warmed up, I woke for a few days in a row with some worrying symptoms.

My throat was tender, my body was hot and sore, and I had a blinding headache.

I started to tell my wife, already imagining being isolated in the top room.

I pictured myself sweating and moaning on the lumpy sofa bed, constant bloody Netflix, meals left outside on trays…

Which was when I remembered the five beers I’d had the night before and realised that I didn’t have Coronavirus: it was just a hangover.

“You’ve got the Beer-o-Virus,” my Better Half declared.

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Hurrah for the Tories! No, really!

I thought I’d never say this – but the Government is being quite cool…

I’M NOT A FAN of the Conservative Party. Never have been. Never will be.

I couldn’t stand Maggie and her ‘No such thing as society’ nonsense.

I hated austerity, and I’d be deliriously happy if we never, ever, ever Got Brexit Done.

The way the Johnson administration has handled the Coronavirus crisis has also been lacking in many ways (although, to be honest, I doubt that I’d do any better if I were leading the nation).

There was the early, misguided, flirtation with herd immunity before social distancing was imposed. There are still big problems with testing, and now there’s the Prime Minister’s distressing failure to heed his own advice about social distancing.

But I’m proud of one thing that the Government has done: at least they’ve tried to treat us all like adults.  

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Springtime For Introverts

Coronavirus is a bad thing – but there are upsides, particularly for quiet types

I KNOW we’re all supposed to be in this together but – on the quiet – I have been indulging in a bit of gloating lately.

That’s because the Coronavirus pandemic – though it’s tragic, frantic, dreadful and economy-wrangling – has temporarily created almost perfect laboratory conditions for introverts like me to thrive.

Just like the shy deer, birds and sea turtles who are reclaiming habitats worldwide in the absence of humans, Lockdown Britain has suddenly gifted withdrawn folk the quiet and solitude we need to thrive.

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Running Round In Squares

The famously rude people of London have re-discovered politeness – via slightly manic social distancing

A meandering Strava feed

WE GOT TOLD OFF by Housemaster Johnson on Monday, so now we’re on our best behaviour.

Initially, Londoners treated the whole Coronavirus thing as a jittery sort of half-holiday and went thronging the city’s parks and open spaces, despite official advice to keep well apart.

Next thing we knew, most of us were being told to stay in our dorms and threatened with Sir cancelling PE – the same as in Spain and Italy – if we couldn’t be trusted.

Not many of us want to be cooped up 24/7, and so London’s green spaces have been chocka with people stretching their legs again this week.

Except this time, we’re thronging responsibly.  

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