I’ve been so careful, surely I can’t catch Covid-19? | Matt Mohan-Hickson

The Eldon Building car park testing site. Picture: Duncan ShepherdThe Eldon Building car park testing site. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
The Eldon Building car park testing site. Picture: Duncan Shepherd
Coronavirus. It is a word that I’ve spoken, written down and worried about for more than half a year now. But in truth it has always been an abstract idea.

I knew that there was a deadly pandemic all around us, it is quite hard to escape that fact after all.

Yet it hasn’t seemed to be something real or tangible. Until this week at least.

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I think the first time I wrote about coronavirus for the Portsmouth News was in late January, back when it was a small outbreak in a Chinese city that I had never heard about before.

Over time it has consumed my work life – constantly updating lists of cases, deaths, infection rates and now lockdown tiers.

But the virus itself had not touched my real life. Despite living with two NHS workers, we had seemingly managed to escape the clutches of the virus.

My parents and brother had managed to avoid catching Covid-19 and none of my friends back north had shown symptoms.

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Then the other day I woke up and coughed. At first I thought nothing of it, it seemed to just be an innocent cough.

I was off work, so I leisurely went about my morning. But then I coughed again and throughout that morning I caught myself coughing ever more frequently.

I remember jokingly thinking to myself ‘oh I must have coronavirus’ and shaking it off.

But the coughing did not go away and I felt myself deteriorating, my body becoming achy and a bit weaker.

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Trying to sleep I found myself struggling to catch my breath on a couple of occasions and then combined with worried thoughts about coronavirus bouncing about my brain it made drifting off quite a struggle.

By the time the alarm rolled around the next morning, I knew something was wrong. It might be Covid-19 or it could just be a seasonal virus, but I didn’t feel right.

I waited a few more hours before booking a coronavirus test, hoping the cough would go away and fearing the consequences for my housemates if it didn’t. The guilt that they would also be stranded at home possibly for two weeks.

A few hours later I was walking to Eldon car park, mask on and feeling surprisingly short of breath and taking the Covid test, which turned out to be rather unpleasant. But necessary.

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So now I’m left anxiously waiting for the results.I have no idea how I could have caught Covid-19

Of all the people I expected could be the first to come down with the coronavirus in my house, I thought I would be at the bottom of the list.

I have been working from home for almost seven months now. When I go out it is for walks or trips to the supermarket.

And I’ve only seen my parents once since February.

So I figured that I would be safe, that maybe I could avoid this plague.

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I had my chances of contracting the virus low compared to the rest of my housemates. Two of them work at QA Hospital, two more are teachers and another has just started working as a carer with the NHS.

Yet here I am the one who has started to cough and develop symptoms. The one who seemed most unlikely to catch the virus.

Irony is a cruel mistress. And 2020 might just be her masterpiece.

Obviously my test could come back as negative and all this pontificating could be for nothing. Although quite how I caught any sickness would still be beyond me.

Boris Johnson is bad at politics

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Ding ding ding. The bell rings on the second round of the most unexpected political heavyweight fight of 2020. Marcus Rashford vs Boris Johnson.

Quite why on earth the Prime Minister decided to reject the England international’s – and freshly minted MBE – latest proposal, I have no idea.

We all know that it will be just a matter of time before the government U-turns. After all, rejecting calls to feed impoverished children is never a good look.

In fact after already being humbled by Marcus Rashford MBE just a few months ago you’d have thought the PM and his cohort – Cummings et al – would have learned their lesson.

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But clearly not. How does that old saying go? The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Perhaps whoever coined it had politicians on the mind when they came up with it?

In the end we all know that the government will cave in under the pressure and do the right thing. So why go through the Groundhog Day process once again?

Maybe they are simply just bad at politics.

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