The Coronavirus and me

Like almost everyone else, I’ve been watching the Coronavirus do its stuff from the last weeks of 2019 up to the present day and even though I don’t yet have it; it has affected me quite badly.

As a tour guide in London I have not just lost all my bookings and earnings but I have also lost money on tickets to attractions that were bought in good faith but cannot be returned.  I’ve diligently repaid every deposit made to me and broken my own terms and conditions to do so for very last minute cancellations.


Currently I am not sure when I will get my next penny and due to being pushed under the train and moving house and various other things it isn’t like I have much to begin with, what with November and January and February being such famously good months for tourism.

As a Sole Trader, I don’t get sick pay or paid holidays (haven’t had a day off for 7 years), I’m not entitled to any government payments even if I were to get Coronavirus and self-isolate.  I’m expected to value society enough not to make people ill and yet am not valued enough to make sure I don’t starve or lose my home.

As someone with asthma and a compromised immune system, I’m definitely one of those most of risk of suffering complications.  This is actually the first winter since 2005 that I haven’t in some shape or form been in hospital, had pneumonia, coughed up blood or been on successive waves of 3,4 or 5 courses of antibiotics and these just from a random if selfish cough or sneeze from members of the public suffering a normal cold.

It seems the world is in total panic, the supermarkets are empty and many of the predictably loudest and most selfish people are hoarding, making light of things or conversely berating decision makers that they never voted for in the first place.

I find it a little weird, I’m surely more likely to die of flue or pneumonia type illnesses every single winter until I do than 97% of people who are going crazy.  In fact I think anyone who is in a position to hoard must have a really cushy and generally worry-free life.


To me it is just another winter illness, albeit one that might kill me in April or May rather than December when all the hoarders go round thoughtlessly spreading their illnesses with little concern for others.

Me, I have an eighth of a roll of toilet paper and it’s no big deal, there are certainly more important things to worry about when you might die.  I’m not sure what the correlation is with toilet roll and a respiratory illness.  Do people hoard socks incase they get a headache?  Should I buy a few scarves incase it is a hot summer?

I have enough food to last a day or two as I don’t do my shopping in supermarkets anyway and even if I could all the pasta and stuff I can’t eat anyway due to my food intolerances so in someways people are panicking over being reduced to a diet which is still more varied and fun than mine is at the best of times!

I think the media does a lot to hype things up; switch it off and life returns to some sense of normality.  When it comes down to it, we all know this horrible virus is out there and one way or the other it might get most of us.

blur bubbles cleaning close up

Photo by Burst on

We know how best to reduce us being one of the unlucky sufferers but once we have it we don’t know how each of us will fare.  There is no need to keep going on about it and highlighting the daily growth in cases, deaths but strangely not those given the all-clear.  Whether it is terrorism, Brexit or a Coronavirus, no-one can accuse the media of not doing their bit to add fuel to the flames.

As an introvert, I have been generally self-isolating for a few decades before it became trendy.  Now I shall just be doing it whilst particularly impoverished and with a semi-habitable home and I shall make it or not but panicking about it or acting like a selfish arse isn’t going to help much.


I have a sore chest or throat or cough one way or the other for 2 weeks out of every month at best.  I’ve already had a dozen or so Corona scares in my head since Christmas and if I’m still here next winter or in 10 to come it will be the same then.

I’ve said it before and maybe I will say it again but I think it is just highlights how selfish people are when they only panic for something they themselves are at risk of or something which makes the headlines but don’t care about many other things.  A car crash or terrorist killing 3 or 4 people can go round the world and even change laws in hours.  Hundreds of thousands of people dying from air pollution and no-one cares, neither the law-makers or the loudmouths who worry if they can wipe their behinds after stuffing their facings on mass-produced junk food.

At the end of the day it is all just a blip in history and one day things will go back to the way they were and I say that as one who may well be blipped out.


About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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17 Responses to The Coronavirus and me

  1. Ankur Mithal says:

    Hmmm. That is putting it in perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope things are ‘ok’ in India. I heard a few people today with difficult situations saying how they weren’t panicked at all about the virus compared the most others. I think at least in Western countries it is showing up those with an ‘easy’ life compared to those with physical, mental or monetary problems who have spent maybe years dealing with traumatic events.


  2. Marilyn says:

    Hang in there Stephen! This too shall pass!! I am very frustrated with all of it! I feel for ALL those who are suffering!! I keep wondering if this was done on purpose?! George Soros and others come to mind! I just don’t know what to think? I know it started in a lab in China! Was it done on purpose, or was it an accident when some animal in the lab escaped? These are the thoughts I have! Then, I pray to God and know He is in control! Nothing else we can do but wait it out! Wish we could help you!! In fact, when we saw how down you were the other day, my husband said he wished he could fly over there and help you get your house back in order and help fix some things!! We love you and haven’t even met you yet!!!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. run-sew-read says:

    You couldn’t have been hit much harder, other than coming down with the virus yourself. It’s frustrated how easily a self-employed person can fall through the cracks when all along you have been diligently providing for yourself and paying your own way. I hope things turn around even sooner than predicted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is such a pain that absolutely the worst run of unlikely events have all happened at this time. I even started my own business 7 years ago as an alternative to taking the ‘easy-route’ and taking benefits and I ended up employing people!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Contractions of Fate says:

    I hope you’ll be OK, Stephen. I have asthma and COPD and get the annual flu vaccine, but there is none for Covid-19 as yet.

    I don’t see much of the hype as I listen mostly to music and Radio 4 Extra and have no TV. I get groceries delivered once a month, including a bumper pack of 24 rolls of “bathroom tissue”, as that lasts at least a month and is cheaper.

    It’s a problem that there is no vaccine and the death rate seems to be about 2% at the moment, although most of the Brits who have died were aged 70+ and may have died anyway, or the virus just finished them off. But if 50 million people get it, 1 million will die.

    Based on Public Health England’s advice in “an evolving situation”, my local GP’s surgery will book no appointments at reception (telephone or internet bookings only) and will not see people face-to-face (telephone appointments only). A bacterial lung infection can be treated with antibiotics, but damage to lung tissue caused by a virus cannot be stopped.

    But I don’t recall there being this much fuss over bird ‘flu or SARS. I wonder why there is this much fuss this time?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bless you, I take the same approach and have similar issues. My local surgery has also closed to face to face appointments which on the one hand I can understand but for people with chronic illnesses it seems crazy to be denied access when you need it most… perhaps in your whole life. I’ve heard a few people who suffer badly with it are left with some sort of permanent lung damage and a 20-40% reduced efficiency of their lungs. They are unsure if this is permanent but that would be dreadful for someone already with reduced capacity. I’d be more concerned of surviving and being a near invalid than not making it at all.


  5. Contractions of Fate says:

    Oh, by the way, I’m sure that if you have been paying income tax and national insurance, you must be entitled to some sort of statutory sick pay. I’m not sure how it works with the self-employed, many have private health insurance, but there is something available. Not a lot, but something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly I’m not entitled to statutory sick pay, unemployment benefits or universal credit type payments. As a Sole Trader we just fall through the gap. Some people are campaigning for change but I think even if I receive a payment or relief on my taxes it won’t be until long after the initial suffering.


  6. As Marilyn says ‘hang in there’ You are strong and as the song says ‘ I will survive’ God sends us challenges and there is always a reason for what happens in our lives. Sorry to hear of your recent mishaps.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dewy says:

    I feel for you. Keep safe. We are a bit behind over here. Supermarkets still got lots of fresh food just no non perishables like pasta , flour etc
    Apparently we produce for 75M and we’ve only got a population 1/3 of that. Not sure why people are hoarding.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jml297 says:

    Sending thoughts and best wishes to you in these strange, strange times. And thank you for making me laugh out loud at the absurdity of people’s behaviour under pressure, when common sense and courtesy seems to be one of the first casualties. I hope you are travelling okay amidst the chaos.

    Liked by 1 person

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