Coronavirus: What it's like to be placed in the Government's 'extremely vulnerable' COVID-19 group

By now, we’re all familiar with the concepts of social distancing and self-isolating – and the vital part they play in reducing the spread of coronavirus.

An estimated 1.5million people were to be told by the NHS to “shield” themselves in self-isolation for a minimum of 12 weeks, or until told otherwise.

And at only 29-years-old, I’m one of them.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

My name is Debra and I have cyclical neutropenia; a disorder of the white blood cells (neutrophils) which fight bacterial infection.

It’s not an illness that people have generally heard of, but it’s something that could – despite me being a relatively fit and healthy young woman most of the time – bring me to my knees if I pick up the slightest infection.

My husband, who is Type-1 diabetic, is also classed as vulnerable (though not extremely so), so he’s been at home too.

Advertisement

Hide Ad
The Government has issued strict guidance to families on staying home during the coronavirus crisis.

Then on Monday, March 23 I got a text from NHS England, which was to transform my next few weeks.

“We have identified that you’re someone at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus,” it said.

“Please remain at home for a minimum of 12 weeks. Home is the safest place for you.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“Staying in will help you stay well, and that will help the NHS too.

Do you think the Government's measures go far enough?

“You can open a window, but do not leave your home.”

I, alongside certain cancer patients, people with severe respiratory conditions, those who have received solid organ transplants, people on some immunosuppressive therapies and pregnant women with significant heart disease, must stay in the house, pretty much always, until this is over.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

I have two friends – one fighting Lymphoma and another receiving immunosuppression treatment – who are also on the “extremely vulnerable” list.

One of them is a nurse and, despite her own fights, works harder than anyone I’ve ever known.

We all have our part to play in following the Government's measures.

Looking at them, and at me, you would never know we were any more vulnerable than Joe Public. And that’s the point.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

Just because someone looks like they are well, and seems well, doesn’t mean they are.

And that’s why we really need to listen to the advice of our Government and stay at home as much as possible.

Shop for essentials, go for a walk or run and – of course – seek medical help if you need it.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

But when you go outside, please keep your distance, wash your hands and do not meet up with anyone you don't live with.

It’s frustrating to feel so restricted, but we do not have a choice if we stand any hope of flattening the COVID-19 curve.