Sheer trauma when virus strikes close to home

by Colin Campbell

FOR the past nine months I’ve not known anyone who knows anyone who has had the coronavirus. In the Highlands we’ve obviously been extremely fortunate to have such low levels of infection.

But my tendency to view the virus with a level of detachment – albeit gloomy and dispiriting detachment – ended with a jolt last week when I got the shock news that a family living elsewhere that I know very well indeed had been hit by it.

And it was a shock. You can read and hear a trillion words about “other” people catching it but it no longer has any impact. But when it’s close to home on a personal level it is hugely different.

It was a traumatic, anxiety-filled experience. And how much more traumatic for those most directly involved.

The fear factor over the virus has been implanted in us to the core and in such circumstances it flares up and causes sleepless nights.

And at such times it’s pointless poring over a weight of statistics which indicate the overwhelming majority of people below 60 make a fast recovery without suffering any serious adverse effects.

I didn’t even bother. They will provide no reassurance whatsoever. The only reassurance that matters comes directly over the phone.

I’ve never been complacent about the virus. I just didn’t think it would strike “one of us”, and spread to a thankfully very limited degree.

Fortunately, news that last week sent us reeling has now transformed, touch wood – and I always superstitiously do – into news that indicates recovery is well on track.

But there will be no large gatherings for Christmas dinner, that prospect is well off the menu.

Top medics have warned that relaxation of “the rules” next week will lead to a serious rise in virus infections in January. Having experienced – even at second hand – the traumatic consequences that the virus can bring about, it seems that the wisest course by far is to play safe.


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