Covid-19 Chicago Survivor speaks out: “Two months later, and I still feel unwell”

“It’s not something that anyone wants. I hope that everyone does everything they can to avoid getting sick or potentially getting someone else sick.

You just don’t know how it is going to impact you or how it is going to impact someone else that you might get sick.”

– Covid-19 Survivor, Cari Reed

The Covid-19 situation in Chicago

 The Merchandise Mart – Chicago, Illinois

Photo credit: ©Stock image – 1720288240 – Bret Habura

Chicago, Illinois – a city best known for their music festivals, gardens upon gardens to explore, vast amount of bike pathways to cycle, and an endless amount of sporting events to observe – has now dimmed their lights, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Adapting to a less outdoorsy lifestyle in Chicago is what the residents of Chicago have been encouraged to do in order to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic – “Stay Home. Save Lives”. 

Chicago is home to over 2 million residents – and of these 2 million residents – more than half have tested positive for the Coronavirus, with more than 8,000 daily cases, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

As the Coronavirus cases continues to rise in Illinois, an Executive Order 2020-74 – also known as the Tier 3 Mitigations – has been imposed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot  in all 11 regions of Illinois. The Executive Order became effective on November 20, 2020, it was re-issued on December 11, 2020, and was again re-issued through January 9, 2021. 


On the bright side though, despite cases being so high in Chicago, Illinois Department of Health reports, Chicago has a 98% recovery rate of the Coronavirus; on the other hand, there are still many who continue to experience the “after affects” of the virus. Cari Reed – Chicago Resident and Healthcare Administrator  – shares her experience of being diagnosed with the Coronavirus and how she continues to struggle with side effects two months later. 

Covid-19 Survivor shares her experience

Cari Reed with husband and son

Cari Reed – wife, mother, and Healthcare Administrator – began to experience Covid-19 symptoms on Friday, October 30th. She said, “I felt very rundown and I had a sore throat‘, so I decided to go to bed early thinking, ‘it must just be the week catching up to me'” – but then, by Saturday morning, she said she woke up feeling very unwell – ‘extremely fatigued, bad headaches, bone pain in my joints, very nauseous, and a sore throat’. On the other hand, she said, “I never experienced a few of the other “known” Covid symptoms – ‘a loss of taste or smell or came down with a fever”.

As Cari began to experience the other Covid related symptoms, she knew that she needed to isolate herself from her family – especially her husband, Rik. Cari said, “Rik is about a year-in-a-half out from having an organ transplant and he is currently on immune suppressants as advised by his doctors – which makes him immune compromised and more susceptible to the virus”.

As for Cari, she also has her own preexisting medical condition, Chronic Spontaneous Idiopathic Urticaria, which refers to the mass cells in her body, that is broken and she said she randomly has attacks that looks very similar to a severe allergic reaction – such as hives that covers her body, which results in swelling, and blocks her airways. Therefore, Cari said, her medical condition also makes her  immune comprised and more susceptible to the virus as well. 

When Cari started to experience the Covid symptoms, she immediately isolated herself in her bedroom and called her physician to see what she needed to do. Her doctor recommended, “wait three days from the start of the symptoms to see if the symptoms subside”. However, after the three days she still felt unwell, so she decided to drive herself to a testing centre – which was an outdoor facility. The Coronavirus outdoor testing facility used two nasal swabs – one for a rapid test and the other was a PCR test.

After Cari got tested, she said her doctor called her about two hours later and said, “your rapid test came back positive,” and then recommended for her to monitor her symptoms.

“By that point, I started having tightness in my chest, but I wasn’t having difficulty breathing. 

It just felt like I had a really bad chest cold.”

– Covid-19 Survivor, Cari Reed

Cari spent 10 days in bed. She said, ‘the fatigue had come at that point and I have never felt so unwell’. Even though Cari felt so fatigued, she said, “it was very difficult getting rest and actually falling sleep”. Additionally, during her first 10 days of isolation, her husband Rik brought her plates of food throughout the day, so that she could stay in her room. “Fortunately,” Cari said, “we have a Master Suite bathroom attached to our room, so I didn’t have to share a bathroom with my family members during this time.”

Cari Reed’s husband Rik brings her tea andtheir puppy as she isolates

When her husband Rik brought her a tray of food, Cari said, “I would crawl over to the door, sit on the floor while eating off the tray, and then get back into bed”. Furthermore, she said most days she was even too weak to stand in the shower.

“There was a point, probably around day 8 or 9, where I was feeling so terrible. The tightness in my chest was so bad that I was debating on whether or not I needed to go to the hospital. 

It’s a terribly scary thing to not be able to catch your breathe when you’re laying down and you’re not even moving or exercising. So yes – when you are just being still and you get that feeling, it’s pretty scary.”

– Covid-19 Survivor, Cari Reed

After about 11-12 days Cari said, “the sore throat, headaches, and body aches went away”; however, she still felt extremely fatigued, had a terrible cough, and an upset stomach. On the other hand, she said she was able to get up out of bed, brush her teeth, comb her hair, and was able to sit in a chair to watch some Netflix – that went on til about day 19 she said.

“You’ve probably heard of people who have had Coronavirus have brain fog, and that is very much the case. It’s very difficult to concentrate on things.

Just even watching something on TV, I would space out – just something as passive as that. 

I just had no ability to consontrate on things, I was feeling that badly.”

– Covid-19 Survivor, Cari Reed

Around day 19, she spoke with her doctor about whether or not it was safe for her to go out of her room and be around her family, because she was starting to feel better. He did believe that it was safe; however, she said, she waited about two more days before attempting to go out of her bedroom, just to be on the safe side.

“The very first thing I did was hug my husband and then walked outside to stand in the sunshine – and it felt amazing. The fresh air was amazing. The sun on my face just felt very healing.”

– Covid-19 Survivor, Cari Reed

Covid-19 Survivor Cari with husband Rik

Video featured below: Cari shares her journey with me and what she has experienced with the Coronavirus – from the onset go Covid symptoms, to having to self-isolate, and then eventually being diagnosed with the Coronavirus. Duration 9:21.

Cari admitted into hospital

Cari Reed admitted into hospital for Covid-19

After 19 days of recovering from the Coronavirus, Cari attempted to “go back to work” – working remotely. However, her co-workers questioned if she was well enough, because they could tell she was dragging and not quite herself. 

Cari said, “I was not great”, but she tried to just push through the grogginess that she was feeling. On the contrary, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Cari said she woke up having the severe Covid symptoms again. 

“I just felt really wiped out, I had shortness of breathe, and I got really winded – just doing simple things like getting off the couch to go across the kitchen to get a drink of water. I just felt so out of breathe.” 

– Covid-19 Survivor, Cari Reed

When Cari began to feel these all too familiar Covid symptoms again, she knew that she needed to go see a doctor, because she was worried that she could potentially risk getting her family members sick again – even though she had isolated herself well into the recommended time frame by her doctor – she still wanted to make sure there was no possibility of potentially infecting her family members again. 

So Cari went to see her doctor. He checked her lungs, which he said were clear. On the other hand, Cari said her doctors biggest concern was the possibility of her having blood clots. Cari had been laying down for a long period of time while she was in isolation, which puts her at risk for blood clots. Her doctor said, “it is a known factor with this  virus”. Contrarily, Cari said she was not experiencing the other symptoms that is typically associated with blood clots – such as swelling or running a fever. 

As Cari’s doctor was concerned about the possibility of blood clots, he told her it was best for her to go to the emergency room to get it checked out. 

“I have worked in Hospital Administration for over 15 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.

Emergency Rooms are normally pretty loud and hectic – but not this time – it was eerily silent. There was a lot of activity going on, but it was a very quiet and somber atmosphere. 

Everyone was completely guarded in PPE.

All the patients were in private bays.” 

– Covid-19 Survivor, Cari Reed

After she got examined by a doctor at the Emergency Room, they ruled out the possibility of her having a cardiac event or having blood clots; however, they did notice that she was very dehydrated, so Cari received some fluids through her IV’s, which made her feel much better.

Cari said, the hardest part about going to the hospital was that fact that she had to go alone. She said she felt very scared and thought, “if this is a clot, am I going to have to have surgery, what’s going to happen, and how long am I going to be here by myself?”

Video featured below: Cari’s shares more about her experience of being alone in hospital to find out whether or not she had a cardiac event or blood clots. Duration 5:55.

Fortunately though, in order to help Cari deal with these nerve wracking feelings she was experiencing and not having her loved ones by her side – Cari did say that she was at least able to at least receive text messages and Facebook messages from her family members and Medical Colleagues, which was very comforting to her. But not only that, she also received a lot of support from the Frontline workers who were caring for her. 

“I wasn’t alone in the sense that I had so many wonderful and highly skilled very compassionate Care Givers around me.

They were just wonderful and compassionate. They knew I was scared, so they tried to give me reassurance along the way. As test results came back, they would come in, squeeze my foot, and tell me everything looked good on my cardiac tests and that my heart was okay. They would squeeze my toe again and run back out.” 

– Covid-19 Survivor, Cari Reed

By the end of the day that evening, Cari was able to go home after receiving her positive news about her test results and receiving the necessary fluids that she needed, because she was so dehydrated.

Video featured below: Cari shares more about her experience in hospital – what she saw, what the doctors did for her, and how much support she got from the Frontline workers. Duration 15:13.

Cari continues to struggle & offers a message to those who are experiencing the same

It has been two months since Cari was diagnosed with the Coronavirus, and she is still experiencing ongoing side effects from the virus. Cari said, “my  stomach is still not well and my stamina is still not there”. 

Even though Cari’s stamina is still not at 100%, she has tried to push through in order to get back to where she used to be. Cari said, she is normally a very active person and typically stays in shape; however, after attempting to do a two block challenge, Cari said she was really dragging towards the end. 

After she pushed though this, she knew that she needed to be a little more slower and be more patient with herself. Her doctors said they are confident that she will get there, but also said it is just going to take time. 

As Cari has endured through such a traumatic experience, she offers a personal message to those who may be dealing with the same after effects of the Coronavirus:

“If you have a mild to moderate case, ‘time is like the tincture,’ like my physician told me. It can be scary. It can be lonely. But don’t break that isolation. You don’t want to get your loved ones sick.

You can get through it. It’s really hard, but you can get through it.

There’s no telling what’s on the other side. Some of us bounce back quick, some of us don’t. Just stay in touch with your physicians. Listen to the guidance of the experts. Where your mask. Stay away from gatherings of people. I don’t want anyone I care about to go through what I went through, it’s just not worth it.” 

Video featured below: Cari share more about the symptoms she is still experiencing, what she believes others should do in order to avoid the Coronavirus, and a personal message to those who are also battling the same after effects of the Coronavirus that she is experiencing.

Journo Jess News Update – Episode Five

Check out my latest Virtual News Update – Featuring a clip from my interview with Imam Adeel Shah, who shares with me how he and his  Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are assisting those in need during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Covid-19 EXCLUSIVE: Frontline UK Pharmacist reveals his experience

“Even though there are stresses and a lot of reliance on the pharmacists, knowing that we are doing something positive in these extremely difficult times is great and helps me keep it together.”
– Pharmacist Adil Bhaloda

“PHARMACY” by ckeech is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Pharmacists face the Frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic

The UK Government stated that pharmacists are deemed as essential workers as they are serving at the Frontlines for the Coronavirus pandemic.

With consideration to the fact that the Coronavirus is such a dangerous disease, every pharmacy across the UK has imposed a rule to their customers who come to the pharmacies – only one person is allowed into the pharmacy at a time in order to best protect each pharmacist that is working during this pandemic. The other customers are to wait outside while also abiding by the social distancing two metre (6 ft.)  rule.

“One at a Time” by michael_swan is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

About Pharmacist Adil Bhaloda:

According to Prescription Doctor Adil Bhaloda –  a Clinical Lead Pharmacist – Mr. Bhaloda “previously worked as a pharmacy manager for a number of branches, overlooking the pharmacy staff and helping the local community get the treatment they need for previously diagnosed or undiagnosed conditions.”

At Prescription Doctor, Mr. Bhaloda also “enables his pharmacy to safely prescribe medications they offer through their online service. He oversees that the prescriptions are dispensed safely, in accordance to the UK pharmacy’s procedures and protocols.”

Pharmacist Adil Bhaloda reveals his experience about the Covid-19 pandemic

via GIPHY 

Pharmacist Adil Bhaloda spoke with me and answered 9 questions I had for him about his experience while he is working during the Covid-19 pandemic as a pharmacist.

1 Journo Jess: “Since measures have been put in place to protect the safety of pharmacists – for example social distancing – how have you been able to manage safety measures while working in your current environment with your colleagues and your customers?”

“Wearing the right equipment and maintaining social distancing where I can, I can still keep up with my duties. Any prescriptions that customers would have normally picked up are now being sent to them to ensure their safety.”

– Adil Bhaloda

2  Journo Jess: “I know there are restrictions that have been imposed on customers in that there is only one person allowed in the pharmacy at a time, has this been an effective measure?”

“This has been moderately effective as these measures keep everyone involved safe. However, it can be a struggle if someone is unable to come to the pharmacy alone. Then this usually results in someone coming on behalf of them, but this can still be problematic.”

Why is this problematic? – “if a patient is unsure what medication they need and we aren’t able to assess their symptoms. We can give them medicine based on the symptoms described, but that isn’t always ideal. Additionally, the person picking up the medication may not be aware of what the patient is already taking.”

– Adil Bhaloda

3  Journo Jess: “This is obviously a stressful time for everyone, have customers been corporative when visiting the pharmacy by following the guidelines that have been put in place?”

“Absolutely. They understand that most people who come to the pharmacy will be vulnerable and do               whatever they can to not impact                                                  them more.”

– Adil Bhaloda

4 Journo Jess: “Obviously, it has to be an extremely stressful time working as a pharmacist during this pandemic, have you been able to keep your mental health at bay while you are working?”

” It’s been tough at times, but it’s best to change the way you think about it. Even though there are stresses and a lot of reliance on the pharmacists, knowing that we are doing something positive in these extremely difficult times is great and helps me keep it together.”

– Adil Bhaloda

5  Journo Jess: “While this has been a challenging time to work in the pharmacy industry during this pandemic, have you and your colleagues been able to work together effectively?”

“We have had to make some changes to the way we do things, but we are running as efficiently as we are able.”

– Adil Bhaloda

6 Journo Jess: “The government has given priority to all essential workers, including pharmacists, giving them priority access to get tested for the Coronavirus if they should need it. Have either you or any of your colleagues been required to or have needed to get tested for the Coronavirus?”

“None of us have been required to be tested, but a few took a test after a few weeks as a precaution. With the number of people entering the pharmacy each day, they don’t want to take the risk and pass it onto those more vulnerable.”

– Adil Bhaloda

7 Journo Jess: “While working at the Frontlines of this pandemic, one can only assume that you might have fears of coming in contact with someone who may have the Coronavirus. Did you fear the possibility of contracting the Coronavirus while on duty?”

“I did. A lot of people enter the pharmacy with some of the symptoms, so it’s hard to just ignore it. It’s best to be cautious.”

– Adil Bhaloda

8  Journo Jess: “The government says they are trying their best to support every essential worker with any support they can for those who are putting their lives at risk to keep the economy running and to provide medical attention to those who are in need. What type of support have you gotten from the government during this pandemic?”

“We have been provided with some protective equipment, as well as offering assistance for medicines and prescriptions to be delivered to patients.”

– Adil Bhaloda

9 Journo Jess: “As every essential worker has a loved one that is worrisome of them working in these dangerous conditions of this pandemic, how has this situation affected your family?”

 “They’re worried for both their well-being as well as mine. Knowing that I could be exposed to people affected by COVID-19 is very worrying, but knowing I am taking the precautions I can there’s not much that can be done to ease their worries.”

– Adil Bhaloda

Pharmacist – Adil Bhaloda – offers a message to the public of the reality that we will face as we progress towards getting closer to the lockdown being lifted. Here is what he had to say:

“Stay safe and be extremely careful. If the lockdown is lifted, this doesn’t mean everything returns to normal. Once a vaccine is developed, tested, and distributed is when all worries about the virus will go away. Make sure you follow the guidelines as strictly as you can for your sake as well as those around you.”

– Adil Bhaloda

By Jessica Quinlan, Freelance Journalist Updated March 16, 2020
By Jessica Noel Quinlan, Freelance Journalist                                                                     Updated 8 May 2020

Covid-19 EXCLUSIVE: Disabled, vulnerable person speaks out

The classification of ‘extremely vulnerable’ – According to the UK government

As the UK is currently on lockdown, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the extremely vulnerable are in need of assistance in order to get their daily essentials, because they have been told by the government that it is too dangerous for them to go out to get it themselves; for example, someone who has a respiratory problem may not be able to recover as opposed to a person who does not have a respiratory problem; therefore, it is not safe for them to leave the house during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Furthermore, the UK government has set up assistance for those who are considered extremely vulnerable. The UK government has said the people who fall under the category of extremely vulnerable includes:

  1. Solid organ transplant recipients.
  2. People with specific cancers.
  3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
  4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
  5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
  6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

For those who do fall under this category of extremely vulnerable, the government has said they can provide help by “delivering essential groceries and support.”  To register you can apply through the UK government website. However, this support may take time for these services to arrive.

Additionally, for those who do fall under this category of extremely vulnerable, the UK government is strongly advising to “shield yourself.” According the the UK government website, shielding means:

  1. You do not to leave your house.
  2. You do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces, for example, family homes, weddings and religious services.
  3. You are to strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.

Not everybody who needs help is classified as ‘extremely vulnerable’

Those who are still vulnerable to the Coronavirus are finding it difficult to get assistance from the UK government. Furthermore, Coventry resident Ian Oakley, who is disabled, suffers from CharcotMarieTooth disease (CMT), and also has diabetes does not fall under this category of extremely vulnerable.

Disabled, vulnerable person Ian Oakley

Moreover, Ian said “the advice on muscular conditions – like Charcot-Marie Tooth – is that it is not in the shielded category. So basically, I’m no different to anyone else in terms of provision.” However, according to the Charcot-Marie Tooth website, they have provided recommendations to those who have Charcot-Marie Tooth and other conditions that could put the at risk, such as those who have diabetes as well, to “shield themselves”.

Furthermore, Ian spoke with me about his condition of his disability (Charcot-Marie Tooth disease, CMT) along with having diabetes during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Ian said Charcot-Marie Tooth is a “neurological condition that effects the legs and the arms. Being neurological, it stems from the brain, because the brain is not sending the correct signals to the nerves.” He also said that it is “the most inherited condition in the UK and its’ not just the UK, it is worldwide.”

According to the NHS, People with CMT may also have:

  • muscle weakness in their feet, ankles, legs, and hands
  • an awkward way of walking (gait)
  • highly arched or very flat feet
  • numbness in the feet, arms, and hands

“CMT is a progressive condition. This means the symptoms slowly get worse, making everyday tasks increasingly difficult.”


Video featured below: Ian Oakley explains more about his Charcot-Marie Tooth Condition

Disable vulnerable person Ian Oakley speaks out about his disability

How has the Covid-19 lockdown effected Ian?

Ian Oakley has found it best to prepare for the Covid-19 lockdown as he would when he prepares himself for the winter season. For example, Ian said he typically stocks up on his essentials during the winter season, so that he doesn’t have to go to the supermarket too often. On the contrary, previously when he attempted to use this strategy he found it difficult, because the supplies at the supermarkets are exceptionally low at the moment.

“Because I’ve got diabetes and I control that with my diet – basically stuff like bread, milk, fruits, and veg – but it’s almost impossible to get that right now.”

Coventry resident, Ian Oakley

Ian has been a hard worker his whole life. He was a Senior Manager in administration with the local authorities for 32 years, until ill health retirement in 2005. Fortunately, with decades of experience of learning how to care for himself while living with his condition, he has been able to maintain an independent life by taking care of himself, while also getting around town efficiently using his wheelchair or driving his wheelchair accessible vehicle adapted for disabled person’s.

Ian Oakley’s wheelchair accessible vehicle adapted for disabled persons

Ian said, for him personally, he enjoys going to the supermarket to get his groceries by himself. Ian also said, he enjoys the interaction he gets with people while he is at the supermarket; however, because it is necessary for him to remain in isolation during the Coronavirus lockdown, it has made his life more difficult.

“I don’t have a support network, I don’t have any people helping me that’s partly down to austerity cuts in this country and social care not being there. And partly because the network I normally rely on is friends who are in their 70’s and you know from day one, that age group had been told to self-isolate.”

Coventry resident, Ian Oakley

Even though this may be challenging time for Ian Oakley, he tries very hard to help those who are in need and to be an inspiration to others. He said that he is always willing to offer a helping hand if he can, or if the technology is available, he can communicate with those who are struggling online. Ian said he has offered a “helping hand” to his community during this pandemic by following a 5 neighbour principle.

“There is something called the 5 neighbour principle. So straight away I thought, ‘well I can manage 5 neighbours.’ And then I can talk to them on the phone. And I’m happy with that, as I cannot go out in the community. So even then, by talking and getting out, you can just see it takes the mind off Coronavirus and it takes them back to their ways of normal life.”

Coventry resident, Ian Oakley

Video featured below: Disabled vulnerable person Ian Oakley speaks out about how the Covid-19 isolation has affected him

Disabled person Ian Oakley speaks out about how Covid-19 isolation has affected him

Communities have come together

On the contrary, there have been a number of Facebook Groups that have been set up by the community to provide assistance to the vulnerable people in order to help them get their daily essential needs; for example, the Coventry Facebook Groups includes Humans of CoVid19,CovidAngels,Styvechale and Finham Empower Community Buddy Groups Covid-19 (Safe), Food Donations for the elderly, Coventry Covid-19 Mutual Aid, and Lower Stoke Mutual Aid Covid-19. If you live in another area of England and need assistance, you can find your local group here.

Disabled, vulnerable person Ian Oakley has found the Coventry Covid-19 Facebook group helpful in getting his essentials as Dominik – a volunteer from the Covid-19 Facebook group – brought him his essentials.

Dominik, Coventry Covid-19 Volunteer

For Ian – personally – at first, it made him nervous to share his address with others, with consideration to the fact that he is a vulnerable person. However, after Ian established a connection with Dominik through video messenger, he started to feel more comfortable with Dominik coming to his house, in which he was able to physically see his face first before coming to his house. Once Dominik arrived, he passed Ian’s other test using his CCTV camera, intercom, and smart lock checks.

After Dominik’s visit with Ian, Dominik did keep in touch with Ian and checked in on him a week later via. messenger to see how he was doing. Ian said that Dominik is “a great person” and he was so grateful to community groups, such as the Coventry Covid-19 group, that are supporting people such as himself.

What Ian can’t live without?

Disabled, vulnerable person Ian Oakley said he has two essential things in his household – his stair lift and his telephones lines. When Ian knew he was going to have to self-isolate, he said he had called the stair lift company to make sure they would be available if something were to happen to his stair lift during the Coronavirus lockdown. Ian said that the company did say that the stair lift engineers would be available, as they are classified as “key workers.

On the other hand, Ian Oakley said there was an instance when both of his telephone lines went down – mobile and landline – while he was in self-isolation. Ironically two detectives showed up at his house requesting to look at his CCTV cameras, as he had these set up in front of his house.

The detectives needed to see this footage due to a murder investigation that was underway in his area. During their visit with Ian, the detectives asked if they could do anything for him while they were there. Ian told them about his phone lines being down and then he jokingly said, “well if I knew you were coming, I would have asked for some bread and milk.” After their conversation, the detectives left. However, the detectives returned to his house ten minutes later – with two loafs of bread and a jug of milk.

Ian was very appreciative of the detectives for the kind gesture. Moreover, their kindness did not stop there. The detectives reached out to the local Coventry police force to let them know, “we just came from a gentlemen’s house who is vulnerable and his phone lines are down.”

Not too long after that, a few policemen showed up at his house and they asked if they could help him with his phone line issues. Ian welcomed their help. The police officers had to complete a risk assessment form and then they put in a call about the situation in order for it to get fixed. Ian was beyond grateful to the police officers for shielding him and ensuring he had something as important as his phone lines back in working order.

“And that just proves that our police force, national health service are coming together to help people.”

Coventry resident, Ian Oakley

Covid-19 Lockdown: Psychologist reveals impact on mental health & how to cope

The Covid-19 Lockdown

On 23 March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a lockdown in the UK to combat against the Coronavirus pandemic that the world is now undergoing; furthermore, Dominic Raab, UK Foreign Secretary, announced on 16 April 2020 that the lockdown has been extended for another three weeks after being reevaluated.

“We still don’t have the infection rate down as far as we need to.

The worst thing that we can do right now is to ease up too soon, allow a second peak of the virus to hit NHS and hit the British people.”

Dominic Raab , UK Foreign Secretary

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also said, the lockdown will not be eased unless five conditions have been met:

  1. Making sure the NHS could cope.
  2. A “sustained and consistent” fall in the daily death rate.
  3. Reliable data showing the rate of infection was decreasing to “manageable levels.”
  4. Ensuring the supply of tests and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) could meet future demand.
  5. Being confident any adjustments would not risk a second peak.

While taking these very necessary measures in order to save more lives and protect the NHS, this has nonetheless put those who have apreexisting mental health condition at risk. Furthermore, many psychologists have taken the necessary actions that are needed in order to assist their clients as they struggle with their psychological issues.

How is the Covid-19 lockdown effecting people’s mental health?

Psychologist Charlotte Armitage, along with many other psychologists, has made herself available to her clients during the Covid-19 lockdown. Likewise, Armitage spoke with me about how the lockdown has impacted people’s mental health conditions.

Thus, Psychologist Armitage explained the ways in which she is assisting her clients during this pandemic.

“So, I’m using Zoom and the telephone to communicate with people. Some people it’s just not appropriate to communicate with at this time, because of their home environment as well. So it’s not necessarily an easy place for them to communicate, but other people, yeah they still want to talk. And they still need that regular consistent support and advice.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Armitage also said, the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has not only affected those who have preexisting mental health conditions, but it has also affected those who don’t.

“You know I think everybody is experiencing this on some level at some point throughout this virus pandemic. I don’t think it’s just people with preexisting mental health conditions that will be struggling at the moment.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Psychologist Armitage said, the most common problem she is noticing is that people are finding it hard to adjust to the instability of this pandemic. Armitage said, “everybody feels unstable and that’s because the environment’s unstable.” Additionally, this instability has became a trigger for people who already have a mental health condition or those who have an underlying one.

“It’s a trigger, the instability is a trigger, and for people who need stability to remain psychologically well, this level of instability could be very unsettling for them and that kind of stuff can trigger off a mental health problem, so yeah I think it’s safe to say I’ve noticed it with everybody around me that people are struggling.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Armitage said, even people who may have suffered from an addiction previously are being affected as those addictions are starting to resurface while undergoing lockdown.o.

“It’s possible that that addiction could come back, because they are finding that this is a stressful environment.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Video featured below: You can hear more from Psychologist Charlotte Armitage about the psychological impacts of Covid-19 for people’s mental health.

Part 1 – Psychologist Charlotte Armitage explains mental health impact of Covid-19 lockdown

How to cope with Covid-19 lockdown?

As many people are feeling very unstable and anxious during this pandemic, they are trying to find ways to cope and function while in isolation.

Psychologist Charlotte Armitage spoke with me about the ways in which she recommends to people on how they can get through this pandemic, while also taking care of their mental health.

During our conversation, Psychologist Armitage gave so many different examples that can be very useful to those who are struggling with anxiety and depression, during the Covid-19 lockdown. For example, doing just the simple things, such as deep breathing and being present in the moment, are just a few of the many recommendations she suggested.

Specifically, Armitage spoke with me about three techniques that she has recommended to her clients during this time Covid-19 lockdown that can be helpful: framing techniques, grounding techniques, and creating your own stress relief kit.

1. Framing techniques

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According to the Decision Lab, “the Framing effect is the principle that our choices are influenced by the way they are framed through different wordings, settings, and situations.” Therefore, by changing the ways in which we think or the words that we use, it could potentially be a positive change for those who are struggling.

Psychologist Armitage said, “You can look at framing by the way you view things, which is called cognitive restructuring.” Furthermore, she has noticed people using the framing technique on social media.

“I keep seeing posts that say, You are not stuck at home, you are safe at home.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

2. Grounding technique

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According to Living Well, “Grounding exercises are things you can do to bring yourself into contact with the present moment – the here and now. They can be quick strategies (like taking three deep “belly breaths”) or longer, more formal exercises (like meditation). Different strategies work for different people, and there is no “wrong” way to ground yourself. The main aim is to keep your mind and body connected and working together.”

Psychologist Armitage explained how to utilise the grounding technique for those who are struggling with their mental health while they are Covid-19 lockdown.

“You can do things called 5,4,3,2,1 – which is you name 5 things in the room that you can see, 4 things that you can touch, 3 things that you can hear, 2 things that you smell, and 1 thing you can taste. And that helps the senses of that down and brings you back to the space.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

3. Create your own stress relief kit

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According to the Mindful Living Network, “a stress relief kit is simple to make and can be a Mindful way to promote Mindful Health. It contains prepared tools and supplies that’ll stop stress in its tracks before it escalates. Having the right references and tools can help. An emergency stress relief kit is easy to put together and doesn’t cost much.”

Furthermore, Psychologist Armitage explained how to create a stress relief kit. A stress relief kit can be beneficial for a person and their psychological well-being in order to help them through the Covid-19 lockdown.

“It could have something that you like the smell of in there and you can have music in there or a sound – something you like the sound of, something you like the feel of that might feel nice in your hands, or even a nice picture. So it’s basically putting all of your defences into this bag. And whenever you find yourself really struggling you can go to it and you can pull out a picture and look at that. Or you can pull out things that smells nice or you can get the things that feels nice, like a blanket or whatever it is and you can, you know, just hold that, because that could be quite grounding for you.”

Charlotte Armitage, Psychologist

Video featured below: You can hear more from Psychologist Charlotte Armitage and her recommendations of coping with a mental health condition while in isolation of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Part 2: Psychologist gives tips on how to handle mental health during Covid-19 lockdown

As many anxiously await for the lockdown to be lifted and for the Coronavirus pandemic to be over, Psychologist say taking care of your own mental health during this time is crucial – help is still available and so are the resources.

Psychologist Charlotte Armitage said, if you are really struggling with your mental health and you need to speak to someone you can contact Mind at  0300 123 3393 or you can go to the Mind Website to find information on how to understand your anxiety, how to cope with your anxiety, how to distract yourself with soothing activities, and stories of other’s who struggle with their mental health as well.

COVID-19 EXCLUSIVE: American High School Senior Speaks Out

The Coronavirus pandemic has caused quite a bit of a disturbance and it has effected many, especially those High School Seniors who were looking forward to so much: finishing their final year of High School with their friends, attending their High School Prom, participating in their final year of High School sports, and then graduating from their High School that they have worked so hard for, while also celebrating with their friends and family on such a joyous occasion.

However, the Coronavirus pandemic has changed all of that for High School Seniors. Hannah ShayAmerican High School senior, spoke with me about how everything has changed for her due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Shay said, everything that she was looking forward to has been either cancelled or postponed – school has been cancelled, all of her High School Sports have been cancelled, her High School Prom has been cancelled, her High School banquet has been cancelled, her High School Graduation has been postponed, and even her High School Senior Trip has been cancelled.

Video featured below: American High School Senior Hannah Shay explains how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected her last year in High School.

Shay is a very active student at her High School – she is an honours student, member of the National Beta Honours Society, an athlete who plays basketball and soccer, and is dual enrolled at Governors School of Virginia where she takes college courses; in which, she will graduate with an Associates Degree in General Studies by the end of this school year. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her friends and her boyfriend.

Hannah Shay with her friends

High School Senior, Hannah Shay, said she is disappointed that her senior year is not going as planned; however, she understands the severity of the Coronavirus pandemic and she says that she is doing her part by staying at home as Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia has issued an Executive Stay at Home Order.

Shay has not left her house for three weeks now. She said, “I do agree that we need to be at home. It’s the only way really that we can stop this until something better comes along with it.” However, Shay said there are still many people, especially people her own age, who are not taking the Stay at Home Order seriously.

“That’s probably the hardest is seeing these people who are out and about and I’m struggling right now, because I’m missing my friends and my boyfriend… so it’s hard for me to see them out and about when I’m stuck at home, but I know what I’m doing is right, it’s just hard to see that with them.”

Hannah Shay, Randolph-Henry High School Statesmen Senior student

Finding her “quarantine” routine

Upon the Coronavirus pandemic disrupting Hannah Shay’s school and life in general, she has managed to find her own way to cope with staying at home on a daily basis. Shay said, she found an instagram post that inspired her – the quarantine routine. Moreover, she decided to create her own “quarantine routine” and that has helped her the most now that she is staying at home on a daily basis.

“I actually saw an instagram post that was like my quarantine routine and I made my own and I decided to try to follow it and I kind of have been and then I kind of strayed from it. It’s just hard to stick to that. Right now my parents are working around the house and I’m helping them, so my routine isn’t really there, but I’m still getting up and doing the baseline of it and doing everything that’s on the list.” 

Hannah Shay, Randolph-Henry High School Statesmen Senior student

Teachers share messages of hope and gratitude to their students

Teachers understand how hard of a time it is right now for their students, especially those High School Seniors who are having to miss out on so much right now. Which is why Hannah Shay’s Assistant Principal Erin Lenhart Davis and teachers from Randolph-Henry High School Statesmen have collaborated by putting together a video that shows their appreciation for their students, how much each teacher misses their students, and that there is hope ahead after Covid-19.

Erin Lenhart Davis, Assistant Principal at Randolph-Henry High School Statesmen, offers a personal message to her High School Seniors:

“Senior year should be a joyous time where we all come together to celebrate one of life’s major milestones. Even though this year is not what any of us hoped it would be, I trust that this pandemic has taught us all many important lessons that will surely define the future of the class of 2020. I feel certain that once this pandemic ends we will all be more appreciative of the simple joys in life such as time spent with family and friends. I believe that kindness is spreading across the United States just as fast as this virus and I trust that our Statesmen will continue to find ways to spread hope and love to others during what has been a very troubling time. We may not be together right now, but our Statesmen family is as strong and united as ever.”

-Erin Lenhart Davis, Assistant Principal at Randolph-Henry High School Statesmen

The COVID-19 isolation makes an impact on people’s mental health

“Depression” by Emmalois is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

As many countries undergo lockdown, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there are many who fear isolation, specifically those who suffer from a mental health condition.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health condition. And as there are a number of people dying from the Coronavirus, many have already started to take their own lives, because of the fear of either contracting the Coronavirus, the fear of having the Coronavirus, or the fear of living in isolation.

So far in the UK, a young person from Birmingham (UK) has taken her own life, because she feared being in isolation. In Germany, a minister has taken his own life with the fear of contracting the Coronavirus. There have even been a few nurses across the UK that have taken their own lives, because they feared they had contracted the Coronavirus disease.

To further understand how other people are coping with isolation, while also trying to keep their mental health in check, I spoke with a couple of people who shared with me their struggles and how they are adapting to the Coronavirus way of life.

Single mother of three and owner of Hall Housekeeping, Sabrina Hall, spoke with me about the challenges she is now dealing with as she cares for her children, while also trying to take special care of one of her children who has a has a serious medical condition.

“Corbin, my son, actually had a really bad seizure last week. I had to completely communicate with the doctors over the phone through Zoom. And that was different. We had to schedule it and they had to ya know – I took my phone, let the doctors look at him. I had to take his vitals. Ya know all these things – I’m not a nurse or doctor. And I’m having to do all this to make sure my son is okay without having to take him to the hospital. ”

Sabrina Hall, owner of Hall Housekeeping

Hall also struggles to stay afloat, because her income has been affected due to the Coronavirus pandemic as she has lost quite a bit of house cleaning clients. Hall also said, trying to care for her children, while also keeping them calm during this time is very important; however, she has also found certain outlets that help her to also take care of her own well-being.

                Interview with Sabrina Hall on Mental Health during the Coronavirus

“I will get in the car and I will turn the radio on or YouTube on my phone and bluetooth it. And I listen to music, you know, sometimes I’ll take a drive and just drive and listen to music and praise God that he’s going to get us through this and that helps a lot.”

Sabrina Hall, owner of Hall Housekeeping

Freelance JournalistLaura Sanders, spoke with me about her anxiety and how she does not like being out of control of a situation. Sanders told me about how she has been affected since she began reporting on Coronavirus eight hours a day. Furthermore, she was also told that she needed to work from home, because of how dangerous this disease can be.

“It was a bit of a novelty to be told to work from home. Ya know, you don’t have to get up and get dressed to go somewhere. And then it went to the stage, this is really miserable, cause I’m not seeing my colleagues and working mobily and always reporting on the Coronavirus. So yeah, it drags you down, it does.

Laura Sanders, Freelance Journalist

Recently, Sanders was actually going to start reducing her antidepressants dosage; however, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, her and her doctor had decided that that would not be the best thing for her to do. Furthermore, Sanders offered some advice to those who suffer from anxiety during this Coronavirus pandemic.

            Interview with Laura Sanders on Mental Health during the Coronavirus

“It sounds very cliche, but exercise is really important. So even if you just get a YouTube video up and doing some yoga at home, that can really help. If you got a dog, that’s a perfect excuse to go out for a walk. A lot of people are cycling at the moment as well – just get on your bike and go somewhere. And switching off on social media is a big thing.”

Laura Sanders, Freelance Journalist

Help is still available

Because of this Coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued UK a lockdown for three weeks and may be subject to change. If you or someone you know are experiencing panic and anxiety as we await the unknown and though it seems like most people have stopped working, there are still many resources and help that is available. For example, you can either call a helpline, join in on an online group chat, or message someone for a one-to-one online chat.

If you or someone you know are experiencing panic and anxiety during this Coronavirus pandemic and need to speak with someone, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the free services that I have listed below.

Contact your local Samaritan

No matter the age, race, or gender – if you are experiencing panic and anxiety and need to talk to someone, you can contact someone through Samaritans at 116 123 or write them an email at – the response time is within 24 hours.

Are you Under 25?

If you are under 25, experiencing panic and anxiety, and need to talk to someone you can contact the MIX. The Mix offers many different resources – from discussion boards, group chats, and one-to-one chats. They, as well, provide many different articles, for example, “how to deal with corona- anxiety.”

Are you a man under 45?

If you are are male and are under 45 you can contact CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably. In the UK, suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 and the cause of 18 deaths everyday, which is why CALM will continue to keep their helpline and web chat services open during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can reach CALM at 0800 58 58 58 or their webchat services from 5pm – midnight everyday.

The COVID-19 isolation makes an impact on people’s health and the planet’s conservation

“Copenhagen climate conference little mermaid” by erik de haan rotterdam is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0 

During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation, it seems that the environment is reaping the benefits due to the reduction of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that we would normally release into the air throughout our day-to-day routine of going to work, bringing the kids to school, or going shopping. Thus, this has reduced the rate of global warming, for the time being, and has given the Earth a break and time to breathe- the skies are more blue and wild animals have come out of their nesting.

According to the Environment Protection Agency, “Nitrogen dioxide is yellow-brown gas emitted by motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial facilities. It can cause respiratory problems like coughing, asthma, and difficulty breathing,” Therefore, nitrogen dioxide causes air pollution.

The World Health Organisation, also known as WHO, said air pollution is linked to many other health related problems, such as “heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections in children.”

CNN reported, “pollution levels in China, where the Coronavirus outbreak started, has dramatically reduced. NASA’s pollution monitoring satellites detected a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide (NO2). In addition to this, analysis by Carbon Brief revealed the coronavirus has temporarily reduced China’s CO2 emissions by a quarter.”

NASA Earth Observatory Satellite comparison of China’s carbon dioxide reducing

With regards to the European continents, the European Space Agency (ESA) reported “a reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions. The ESA say this reduction is particularly visible in northern Italy, which coincides with its nationwide lockdown. “

European Space Agency- Satellite comparison of Italy’s carbon dioxide reducing

Tony McNally, Managing Director of Climate Change Solutions, addresses the pandemic Coronavirus with the fact that if we don’t take climate emergency seriously, we could also be inviting other new insects that could come with new diseases that we are not equipped to handle, because we do not yet have a cure for these new possible diseases, which is a lot like the pandemic disease we are now currently dealing with – the Coronavirus.

Tony McNally, Managing Director of Climate Change Solutions, interview

“The impact of global warming is the projection that were going to find more and more alien diseases coming our way and therefore, it’s not just the current Coronavirus that got to consider, it’s the fact that there are now more evidence of insects that we are not familiar with which we haven’t got immune systems to their bites that are going our way and so there is a relationship between Climate Change and health and well-being of our people.”

Tony McNally, Managing Director of Climate Change Solutions

In conclusion, not only has self-isolation helped save lives, but is has also helped to reduce the pollutants, which could potentially prevent new diseases from coming into our lives.

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