Day 8, COVID Self-isolation diary

It's the autumn equinox now. Not that we really have 'autumn' in Australia, where the seasons don't follow the European pattern, though we pretend they do. But we certainly have a time when day and night are balanced, and this is it.

I'm also at a point of balance in the self-isolation: seven days done, seven days to go. Some of the tension has eased. I hear that if symptoms are going to appear, they are most likely to appear in the first five or six days. But that's only a probability, so I'll stick it out. Cuisine Corona again tonight: spaghetti and tins. With vodka and orange.

In the back garden: our Callistemon viminalis in the sun
It's the weekend, though I'd hardly know it. One day is blurring into another and the weekend fades out. For me, the only difference is that it's a worse time to go for a walk, as there will be more people on the streets and in the parks. So I haven't gone out either on Saturday or Sunday.  In a daring move today I stripped off and lay out for a while in the back garden, to get some sunbeams on the skin. As air travel is declining, there were less likely to be overflights that would see the terrifying sight.

If I'm still symptom-free at the end of the second week, I'll feel able to go out - for essential purposes only. Bread, not circuses. By then I'll be fairly confident that I'm not a carrier and not likely to infect others. But I can still become infected, at any time. For all of us, the probability of getting infected rises as the epidemic spreads in its exponential-growth phase. In the social arenas through which we move, the points of danger multiply. So, while I won't be self-isolating completely (as I have been so far), I am going to be extremely cautious.

And on that note, I have finally worked out why we are told not to touch our faces. It was the one part of the prevention routine that wasn't intuitively obvious.

It's a question of how infection occurs. As I understand it, the new coronavirus is not much of a predator. It doesn't bite, and even if it lands on us in a droplet from someone's sneeze or cough, it can't infect us through the skin. It only gets into our body via specific portals, the moist membranes of our noses, mouths and lungs (and possibly the eyes).

But: if the virus is in our vicinity, our busy hands are likely to pick it up, from any surface on which the virus has invisibly landed, including our clothes and skin. And if we then touch our face, as we often unconsciously do - rubbing our eyes, scratching our nose, brushing against our lips - we may actually be working for the damn virus, bringing it right to a portal into our body.  Both washing the hands well, and stopping them touching the face, help to prevent this.
Back to Top