Earth Notes: 16WW Coronalog - TimelineUpdated 2021-09-18 12:08 GMT.
By Damon Hart-Davis.
Listen to my coronacast, from just before the shutters really came down.
2020-03-23: Three-week Lockdown
As of 20:30 we have a three-week lockdown in the UK.
2020-03-30: Nightingale Hospital
2020-03-30: the temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital is being built at ExCeL, where I possibly caught my Covid-19 (if that's what I had) at Futurebuild.
2020-04-08: Cemetery Closed
2020-04-16: Fabric Masks
(At this stage it was not clear whether masks would be needed, so I preemptively bought four white
Silk-Feel Antibacterial Face Masks, ie one of each of us, from my favourite
British Boxers. For every one I bought BB donated one to local healtcare workers. At the time PPE supplies were in very very short supply for them. A grand total of about £50. These fabric masks have four tie strings at the back. The family now has others, but as of 2021-08 I am still using these!)
2020-04-23: Cemetery Open
The cemetery re-opened, after lots of pressure on local councillors.
2020-05-13: Graveyard Ambience
With an initial slight easing of lockdown
2020-05-18: Record of Symptoms
For the record, the symptoms that I recall were:
- General (mild) 'flu symptoms.
- Quite strong muscle and joint aches. I often get the latter when ill as it aggravates the arthritis that I've had since my 30s, but the former was unusual. The muscle aches took at least a fortnight to go away, I think.
- Intense shivers a couple of times, though not for long.
- Loss of taste. I think it's not fully back for coffee, for example.
- Slight (dry) cough, like reacting to having breathed in some dust. Chest felt a bit heavy. Took weeks to go away entirely.
2020-05-20: Silver Lining
The nextdoor neighbours locked themselves out. With all of the rest of us neighbours on the street at home, they were able to get back in relatively quickly with low drama. 16WW's contribution was a long ladder that we hardly use (and as of July donated to a tradesman down the road who can make good use of it, but only after assisting with yet another lockout across the street)!
There have been changes (including signs of a rebound starting) in water use (the morning peak is later), Internet use, reshaped and reduced GB electricity demand, changed GB electricity generation especially renewables and coal even at home (record May PV generation here by ~15%, and low imports to boot), and mobility (London having rebounded from ~8% of 'usual' at the start of April to ~20% at the start of June).
2020-06-17: Daily Tread
I (wonkily) counted steps for my 'normal' lockdown exercise jaunt, to and around the edge of the cemetery next door. The circuit seems to be about 2000 steps, or 20% of what should likely should be my daily target.
(From the summer catch-up diarycast...)
I shattered a tooth, probably from clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth in the night from stress! Something crunched when I was biting into a soft roll. Picking chunks of tooth out of my mouth wasn't great... Luckily I had a (covid-postponed) routine checkup booked just two days after, so it got seen quickly, with a few more days until a fix. The dentist told me that lots of people have broken their teeth under lockdown...
2020-08-11: Roman Bug?
I learnt in early August that my infection route may have been via family visits that I wasn't on, with a someone returning from Rome mid-February (and running a high fever soon after) a couple of steps away from me. None of the rest of my family have shown any symptoms.
(From the summer catch-up diarycast...)
I don't normally bother with supplements.
However, to reduce the risks of another run-in with covid, I have started taking D3 (1000iu or 25µg per day) as of today.
Six months' supply was less than £4, so a very cheap risk reducer, along with my squats and pressups and 1-mile walk most days.
2020-10-31: Tier 2 to Essentials Only
We in London having been in "Tier 2" (high risk) for a week or so, the whole of England is now due to be in lockdown for November, only allowed out for essentials including work and food. This time, schools (and colleges and unis) stay open.
2020-12-20: Tier 4
We are in tier 4 lockdown restrictions, being in London.
I'll probably stay home for Christmas even though the family will go (as long-standing support bubble) to be with a solo elderly relative on the other side of London.
2020-12-31: Swab Test
Jean did a swab antibody test today as she works in a school. It had to be taken in to a collection point to be assessed.
2021-01-12: REACT Invitation
I received an invitation to join the REACT (Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission) study. I have signed up to (possibly) be sent a finger-prick test (antibody self-testing kit, 'REACT2') at the end of January, to try to establish whether I have already been infected. (I believe I have, given the above.)
2021-01-22: Dad and Aunt Jabbed
My dad had his first vaccination shot today, and his sister got hers yesterday...
2021-01-31: Antibody and Antigen Tests
2021-01-31: I did an antibody test today (Fortress) which showed negative, and Jean did a swab antigen (Xiamen/Innova lateral flow) test also negative.
From memory (I did not take notes while doing it, so as to concentrate!) when asked in the long REACT2 survey after doing my test what symptoms I had (or still have) I included loss of smell and taste, fever, chills, headache, and muscle ache. I estimated symptoms from approx 2020-03-07 to 2020-03-14. I said that I still have some breathing annoynances. I estimated loss of smell as 4 weeks and loss of taste as 12 weeks. I was asked all sorts of questions about when I left the house, our support bubble with Jean's dad, if either of us is a key worker that is in contact with people outside the home. Jean is, working at a school; me not as there is very little I need leave for.
The antigen test took 30 minutes once loaded, the antibody test 10 minutes. We did them concurrently.
My test had arrived by post on about the 25th. Jean was issued a pack of 7 tests by the school, for her to test once or twice per week ideally.
I thought that it would be best for us to take our tests at the same time.
2021-02-03: Antigen Negative
Jean did another antigen test: negative.
2021-02-04: NHS Coronavirus Vaccine Studies
I signed up to be contacted for coronavirus vaccine studies.
2021-02-06: Daily Exercise
For the record, my typical daily lockdown exercise is ~1 mile walk around the cemetery, 10+ squats, 10+ pushups, arm and shoulder stretches...
2021-02-09: Antigen Negative
Another negative antigen test for Jean today.
2021-03-04: Regular Tests at Home
Jean continues to take lateral flow tests at home twice a week (all negative), and the kids and I will probably take them once or twice a week soon after they both return to school with free kits that will be handed out...
2021-03-05: D3 Done
I finished the last of my first bulk batch of 180x D3 (1000iu, 25µg) tablets!
(I have more, but also we have some sunshine and the prospect of starting to get outside a bit more soon...)
2021-03-06: Back to School Soon
Our children will be back in school from the start of next week. So we are being offered free home (lateral flow) test kits to test everyone in the home once or twice a week. The children will get tested at school for the next two weeks. Jean gets test kits from her school and will continue to test about twice per week. I have been into Kingston to collect two packs (I had been intending to get one, but that's what I was offered) today, for myself initially. I aim to test myself once a week for now. Subsequently we may be ordering or collecting the free test kits for everyone but Jean.
I collected two test packs of 7 tests from The Bittoms behind the Surrey County Council building. I was directed at the gate to a 'guard box' where I was asked if I (currently) had any symptoms. I said no, and was directed to a long open tent/marquee. I was first directed to use hand sanitiser. Then I went to a booth where I was asked on what basis I was collecting tests. "Teacher, parent or key worker?" I think was the question: "parent" my answer. I was then offered two packs (of 7 tests) which I accepted, even though I had originally intended to take one.
2021-03-08: Staggered Return
Schools starting back today, by degrees. We should have an empty house other than me at lunchtime from Wednesday...
2021-03-16: First Shot Booked
I just received an SMS inviting me to book a vaccination appointment. I'm now booked in for the weekend, in the same place that I had my 'flu shot.
2021-03-21: First Shot In
I received my AstraZeneca first shot just before 11am, from batch 4120Z003. (Note: from an Indian-made batch causing some controversy subsequently.) 30 minutes walk each way (and over 3 miles' exercise), and about a 15-minute queue wait in total. Fast and efficient and painless. (I had a slightly disturbed night though that may have been too strong a coffee too late in the afternoon, a slightly sore injected arm, and possibly existing inflamed arthritic joints a little more so; but nothing dramatic. The following (Monday) evening the arm was a bit more sore, and there was some shivering/chills and an early bedtime. On Wednesday felt quite 'off' during the day, as if low blood sugar, not helped by failing to get any tea or coffee all morning!)
2021-03-23: One Year In
2021-03-29: Women vs Men
2021-03-29: from chatting to others after their first vaccination, I'd say that women have had considerably stronger side-effects than men. Women's reactions have run to vomiting and night-sweats and even hallucinations.
2021-04-10: Mobile Unit
I went to have an asymptomatic covid test done at the KCMU Kingston Council Mobile Unit just outside the Piper Hall . I did the swabbing, the staff will put my results up on https://gov.uk/enter-lateral-flow-test against my unique test barcode.
An email about
NHS COVID-19 Notification said:
Your coronavirus lateral flow test result is negative. It's likely you were not infectious when the test was done.
2021-04-12: Pubs Open and Snow
On the that pubs are allowed to re-open, outside only: snow!
2021-04-25: Pubs Exist
I have now been to pub gardens three or four times. The weather and experience have not been great for some of them, eg cold and rainy and windy!
Yesterday was sunny and warm and starting to feel more like the old normal.
2021-05-02: Moar D3
I am about to finish my last Valupak of vitamin D3, and thus my 240th tablet. (The are 4 left as of today.)
Shall I broach my Asda stash and keep going through the summer?
I think so, at least until a couple of weeks after my second jab in June...
"MD" from Private Eye says that he has been taking D3 year-round for ten years, purely for bone health. So there seems no rush to stop.
2021-05-06: Voted Very Early
No in-person voting for me in the London elections today!
Normally I am one of the first at the polling station when it opens at 7am.
I have already voted by post to reduce coronvirus transmission risk.
2021-05-21: Beer or Four, Inside
This evening I enjoyed a beer or 4 (3 of them halves!) inside at my local Tap Room.
2021-05-25: Second Shot Booked
Today I was sent a text to book my second vaccination dose. I completed the booking for early next month in maybe a minute or so, including consulting my diary!
2021-06-06: Second Shot In
I received my second dose today, in the same place as the first and my 'flu jab.
I somehow forgot to bring a mask with me so had to buy one on the way, bah!
Hardly any queue this time. I was jabbed and out before my 10:22 appointment time I think!
OAZ batch PV46693, with a second sticker on my NHS vaccination card.
Back home well before 11am (BST).
I have taken the rest of the day very easy.
By evening my arm is slightly sore at and around the injection site.
2021-06-09: PCR Tests All Round
Because of the rise of cases in Kingston, and Morgan and Ellie both at secondary school, the whole family is taking PCR tests at home managed via the school.
Ellie has to isolate at home next week (which was going to be exams week for her) because a schoolfriend showed symptoms and then tested positive. We telling us that she should not come in next week. She should go back on the 21st, and may have to do exams here this coming week. There was a background string of announcements from Ellie telling us as each friend got called...
It seems that about 67 are isolating from Ellie's year group, this coming week.
2021-06-22: D3 Pause
I've decided not to take daily D3 from today at least until the autumn. Not that there's much sunshine at the moment (yesterday was cloud and rain), but I doubt that I'll be running a deficiency for now without...
2021-07-03: Rick Fame!
'Euro 2020 is a lifeline for my pub' says Rick at the Willoughby!
2021-07-09: Research Reject
I received an email asking me to consider taking part in study AZD2816,
a local COVID-19 clinical study researching vaccines against a COVID-19 virus variant ...
specifically against the Beta variant ...
as a booster
for which the broad criteria for participation are being over 30 and having had two doses of OAZ, Pfizer or Moderna.
I didn't pass the online screening checks. Possibly because to the question asking if I had had covid-19 I answered "not sure" (since I wasn't able to get tested in March 2020).
2021-07-18: "Freedom" Tomorrow
Most of the rules re social distancing, mask wearing, etc, are being lifted in England tomorrow.
Many think this rapid loosening unwise given the huge rise in infections, primarily with the delta variant. The UK has ~11% of the world's cases. Also given how much the rules were being flouted even while still mandatory.
Unlocking is happening differently in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
2021-07-23: Unbooked Beer
This evening I was able to visit my favourite Tap Room for a couple of beers without advance booking. Even better, one beer was free!
2021-07-24: Sticking it to the Man
I'm using the train and Tube today. I'd say mask wearing is slightly better than before "freedom day" on the 19th. But on the Tube where wearing is still mandatory, there were lots of people not wearing who were very unlikely to be exempt, eg fit young men carrying heavy golfing gear.
2021-07: Herne Bay UKation 2
Given that France was still out of reach with coronavirus restrictions in practice, we took a calm pleasant final week in July in Herne Bay, Kent, instead.
Talking to a friend who managed to fit in several (night)club visits recently... I am told that they were busy, and the punters way more friendly than Before. Possibly having been starved of social contact. Ease without Es, maybe?
2021-08-20: 66% London Mobility
London's mobility according to Citymapper Mobility Index (CMI) as of is at ~66% of pre-pandemic levels, though has been in the 70%s and even a peak of 86% on Sunday 2021-07-11. (Weekends seem to be a little higher as percentages of pre-pandemic levels.)
At the top of the CMI chart is Melbourne at 9%, given their current lockdown. At the other end is our very own Manchester at 99%, which has seen values over 100% from the end of July!
Here's a powerful reminder of the effect of the pandemic on eurostar traffic. Look at this timetable from 2017. On a Sunday there were 15 trains to Paris. We had months and months with only 1. That's still the case for Brussels and Amsterdam but will increase next month.
Kids back at secondary school today (yes, Friday!) with few anti-covid measures in place, eg no mask wearing in class.
At the primary school where I am Resources chair, we had budgeted for two full terms of the extra covid safety measures such as soap. I urged allowing for all three terms. I would be happy to be wrong, coronavirus to be behind us sooner, and the school to end up with a slight underspend on those lines... Note that at this school
Face coverings remain encouraged.
2021-09-12: Clean Finger Pads
Apropos of nothing very much, I note that I like the thorough way we have been taught to wash hands during the pandemic, particularly to rub finger tips against the palms to get the pads much cleaner. Before I often felt it was hit and miss getting them feeling really de-gunked.
Today the government announced that 12--15 year olds would be offered a single (Pfizer) dose. Our two would like to get it.
I may get a booster shot (likely Pfizer) in December (which would be six months from the second dose to the booster). And possibly a 'flu jab with it or before.
2021-09-17: Long Covid
I noted before a slight restriction in breathing, like a light cold, and I think that it is still very faintly there but not bothersome. This may more may not a sort of "long covid" or simply my imagination!
2021-09-18: PCR Tests
The kids' school sent an email last night that we happened to see this morning:
I am writing to inform you that there have been a number of positive cases of COVID-19 within Year 8. We have notified and liaised with Public Health Kingston, and for precautionary measures, they have advised all students in Year 8 to take a PCR test as soon as possible.
Please note if your child has a sibling at The Hollyfield School, they too are advised to take a PCR test.
It's good that we saw this when we did, since there are no local PCR tests available on Sunday, and not into very much of the afternoon. And booking the tests seems tricky, and having to bring the kids' passports is more hassle.
Anyway, both were booked in this morning. Test was by swabs. Results expected in 24--48h.