It is becoming increasingly difficult to pick apart the specific days over the past few days. I feel this is due mainly to the most major event of last week: lockdown. On Monday, my girlfriend (Tessa), my dad, my sister, and myself all watched on BBC1 at 8:30 as Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked us to stay inside, limiting ourselves to one walk/exercise a day and a single trip to the shops, and essential journeys only. This lasted for a week before Tessa had to go back to her flat as she is working.
Boris Johnson has tested positive for Covid-19 and is isolating due to symptoms.
NHS Nightingale has been announced, and built, in the past week or so. 4,000 ICU beds.
On Friday the 27th, at 12:03, I became a doctor! Or rather, I passed all my medical exams. Usually this would result in qualifying and starting work in August, but I think the requirement for medics is going to force the hand of the authorities, so I am expecting to start very shortly.
What else has happened
Lots of noise about chloroquinine and azithromycin. Turns out the french microbiologist pushing this is effectively a fraud, with a long history of deceit and misrepresentating science. Infuriating. Excellent piece on it here:
In all honesty, it feels like living through a very strange dream. Time has lost some integral markers, in a way much like the 26-30th December usually does. The days rotate by. Everything seems to be in stasis, realigning outside of the sphere of view. I speak to friends stuck inside, finding ways to keep themselves entertained. I, for one, share that struggle.
I am still waiting for GMC to get back to me about starting. They’ve sent us a form, and I’ve had several emails saying they’ll get back to us imminently about provisional registration. It all feels so silly to be messing around with bureaucracy when the time is fast approaching when hospitals will become overwhelmed with cases. We should have been starting last Monday. Instead it will be longer. That means less time to adjust to a new hospital, a new job, new patients. Instead it may well be chaos at the most inopportune times. The Nightingale, for example, will desperately need staff. How will they fill it?! Ridiculous. The medical establishments have shown themselves to be full of sound and fury at this point in time.
I worry we are not doing enough antibody testing or enough standardised viral testing. I think lockdown will force a strain on the entire population sooner rather than later, even with the horrifying pictures which will emerge from UK hospitals in the next week or so. We need to be testing villages, towns, cities. We need to be testing staff. We need to be randomly testing the public to establish how many people actually have covid and don’t know it. I think the estimates of the reproductive index (and thus the overall % infected) are way off the mark. China lied about this. I think it is >5, possible 7-8, rather than the 2-3 that is being suggested.
We might not run out of ventilators. We will run out of staff, and we will run out of ventilator-trained staff. We will see people presenting to hospital late with non-Covid diseases- such as MIs- that are then untreatable. Excess mortality will be high.
The general public will be scared and ill-informed. The media have shown nothing of the insight I would’ve hoped for- what does a political commentator have to say about epidemiology?! This contributes to stress and fear.
Things have already changed. The world will not be the same again. Just remember, if some backwards idiot hadn’t tried to eat a pangolin, millions might not have died.