Since this infectious disease was broadcast in the media, it has caused great distress. it has meant the people of my age from the beginning have had to stay within their own home. I am lucky in 2 ways. I have a lot of interests which occupy much of my time as well as as having a small garden c 30 ft square at front and back of the house, which I have developed in the 50 years ( November this year) since we moved in. Spring 2020 provided a lot of sunshine, hence lots of blooms.
I worked through the 1957 influenza outbreak in a general hospital as a second year student nurse. I did not getthe idseas, but some other staff did and were ill. `Apart from the usual precautions to make oneself safe -hygiene, good nutrition and isolation from other staff and patients with it , I do not remember anything alse being done.
I later did a Diploma in Nursing as part of joint study to enable me to become a Registered Nurse Tutor (1968-70). In particular, we had an excellent lecturer in Microbiology. This provided me with much valuable ideas about and insights into infection transmission especially in hospitals. Added to this was the structuring of care using the four principles of the Nursing Process. Assessment/ Planning / Action and Evaluation. Basically the process derived from engineering and is used in other contexts like teaching.
Regarding diseases, therefore it was important to discover their origin. Hence contact tracing and testing as well as dealing signs and symptoms of a disease, if known, are a basic requisite to identify and stop spread of the disease.
However testing is dependant on several factors. The specimen taken must not be contaminated by other agent. It is only accurate for the time/date it was taken. Once sent to the laboratory, the tests given must be as specific to the causative organism as possible (With Covid 19 as a new disease manifestation, it was important for testing to be come as specific. )
Should a disease be infectious, it is important to contain it. Then the provision of appropriate treatment if available and the role of the nurse and many other paramedic staff in caring for the people affected should swing into action. For this to happen there should be local strategies for dealing with this, depending on the geography and population structure of the locality. As the care progressed, frequent evaluation of what was being done was instituted until recovery, impairment or death occurred. All this needed to be done in a social context , involving relatives, especially if carers at all stages. My previous experience as a mental health nurse helped me to understand how to develop a widely based model as a teaching structure.
Covid puzzled me from the start. It was portrayed as infectious. This should then mean that sufferers should be identified and isolated. Where there was travel from country to country, borders should be closed and further entry to the country refused and a period of quarantine ( originally it menat 40 days) imposed immediately. Within the country where sufferers were identified the local Community Physician should have decided a similar local regime in a 2-way dialogue on strategy with GP and their teams, calling in other as necessary
General Practitioners (GPs) are usually regarded as the gate keepers and leaders of the Primary Health Care Team with practice and district nurses, health visitors as well as other allied professions and clerical staff within such a practice. These all should report likely symptoms and decisions made as to where the sufferer should be sited for further apprpriate care. In many other infectious diseases, this would be done at home. Only when symptoms are more life threatening would they be sent on to hospital for barrier nursing.
Symptoms of Covid- 19 seems to have distilled out as raised teperature, upper respiratory symptoms e.g coughing sneezing and a loss of smell and seem to correspond to other types of influenza in length of time it takes to manifest with symptoms, i.e. 7-10 days from catching the infection. Obviously some individuals are more susceptible to any kind of infection than others, e.g. those with diabetes mellitus, chest conditions, those living crowded family conditions, social care and other institutions. Others once they become ill show themselves susceptible to fatal sepsis – this can be more noticeable in the elderly with other serious conditions.
Treatment for Covid is symptomatic, rather micro-biological at this stage. There is as yet no specific vaccine or anti-viral agent, apart from an individual’s own stock of Interferon, produced in reaction to earlier viruses. This is presumably why the ‘flu vaccine has been so widely recommended, when available from surgeries or pharmacies (stocks are quick to run out – (we have had currently a month’s wait to get on waiting list!).
All the above I am now subjecting to an evalaution.
The effect of restrictions had been catastrophic for the nation as a whole. People are quasi-prisoners where they are domiciled. Workers of all sorts are lucky, if they can work from home. Even then this has had effects on public transport system- losing revenue, wasting energy on empty trains, buses and trams.
Those confined to home, have had their social life truncated completely. this has effected all ages. Children are deprived of the extended family and vice versa.
The whole amateur/ voluntary scene so vital for individuals to provide all kinds of service to the communities around them in town and country are instead shut up into their houses (and gardens) if they have them. This means they are not able to gain their usual feelings of self-worth in achieving, care for others, producing various types of music, art, crafts and a whole of host of other skills. This also has an effect on local and national economies. Putting on an amateur show for instance means hall , costume, music hire, catering, printing programmes, posters, and the publicity by post, social media, etc – not to mention the pleasure of jsut doing it.
The result of this social deprivation has been a rise in suicides, in people becoming depressed because alone and isolated, whether in rural or more urban settings. hence more suicides or death through neglect. Domestic violence has increased not only for children and women, but also for men.