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This is my third week of semi-isolation. It started after my trip to Romania, in February, when I caught a bad cold. For two weeks, I was feeling so bad that I had to stay in the house, coughing and being a zombie from the lack of sleep. I was only going out shortly in some days, to take the garbage out and do some groceries. For the rest, it was only me and my cat, who at some point became so annoyed with my cough that he would bite my legs when I was doing it. I worked from home the entire time.

At times I was worried about my cold being more than a simple cold: when the entire media is talking about the Coronavirus, and you are at home, coughing your lungs out, well, you worry. Unless you’re Dutch, then you’re cool. But I had no flu-like symptoms, no fever. The fact that I’m a person who doesn’t get fever wasn’t helping. I only remember two times in my life when I had a fever: once in my childhood and once in 2018, during a bad flu after which I got also the postviral fatigue syndrome. Anyway, I’ve done no tests but I think I was Corona-free 😀

I finally started feeling well last Saturday, when I went out for a walk in the sun, which felt amazing, although after one hour I felt tired and had to go home and rest. This week I’m much better, and I really feel like I need to meet my friends before I go crazy from the isolation. Isolation sucks, no matter how many books you read and how many hours you spend on chat.

Coronavirus journal

But since I’m still coughing and the Coronavirus is closer now and measures need to be taken, I couldn’t go out much. Our company advised us to stay home if we’re ill, and I didn’t want to go there and scare everyone with my cough. I might feel fine and know (or assume) that I don’t have the virus, but the others don’t, and the etiquette dictates I stay away from people. I planned meeting a friend, in a bar, but then we had to cancel because a) I thought coughing in a bar is not the kindest thing to do in these times, and b) my friend is working with elderly people and she worried not to catch something from me and pass it on. Truth is I felt a bit like a pariah, needing to avoid people and people avoiding me. I can be on my own for a while, but my limit is around two weeks, and now I’m over that time and I am desperate to see my friends.

I did got a break from my isolation yesterday: I took the train to Amsterdam, to meet a friend who wasn’t scared of me. We didn’t go out, stayed in the house, but it was a much needed break from isolation. The train was full and no one seemed to care about the dangers of touching their face or sneezing around. Dutch people still have their usual ” I’m not sick” approach, so they go out, even when they have a cold.

There are over 500 cases of people confirmed to be infected with Coronavirus in the Netherlands, but here you don’t see the panic that is taking over other countries. The Dutch government claims that the country is well prepared to deal with this pandemic, without taking drastic measures. Events were cancelled only in the south area where most of the cases are and people living there were advised to work from home and refrain from social contact. The rest of us should stay home if we feel ill, wash our hands and respect some basic common sense rules like not sneezing on the person in front of us. Oh, and stop shaking hands.

The response to the lack of nation-wide measures is different: some people applaud the not panicking approach, others are scandalised that not enough things are done to reduce the virus’s spread. I guess only time will tell us who was right.

Until then it’s not a bad idea for us to slow down, stay home as much as possible, especially when we have a cold. Eat fruits, do your walks if it’s possible, avoid crowds. As for myself, my cough is here to stay for a while longer so the plan is to read, write and watch movies. I can go for walks and I’m planning to go to the seaside this weekend. I have my sanitising hand gel for the bus trip, and the salty sea air will most certainly ease my troubles.

How are you dealing with the Coronavirus situation?

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