Getting tested to see if you have the Omicron variant of Covid-19 or not is fast becoming an important part of daily life. At a time when infection rates are soaring – there were over 218,000 people reported newly infected in the UK yesterday Jan 4 – the means to see if you’re infected or at risk is increasingly important.
A big issue, though, is being able to do this yourself with a home testing kit, usually referred to here as a “lateral flow test kit” (more formally, these kits are called SARS-Cov-2 Antigen Rapid Self-Test Kits) designed for use by anyone at home. These are available free of charge for home delivery via the government website – if there are stocks available.
That’s been a problem for the past few weeks as supplies have been very thin indeed at a time when demand has soared.
Now, though, the supply-meeting-demand picture is looking better. I ordered a test kit containing seven tests on Christmas Day and the package arrived only yesterday. I’d put in another order on New Year’s Day so that one might show up soon.
If you urgently need test kits, you’ll have to consider other avenues such as obtaining them directly from pharmacies, and including buying them from suppliers. As in any market economy, there appear to be plenty of supplies if you’re willing and able to pay.
Given that there’s a high expectation that we will have to live with Covid for a long time, we need to see far more effective and equitable means of supply and distribution to enable access for everyone.
I noticed that I last posted in this blog in April 2020. That’s not far off two years ago. So why am I back here again now?
I decided to restart it. Not as a busy blog with new content all the time, nor focused on Covid-19 and the pandemic (that’s still with us) but more as a place for asides. I’m refreshing my primary blog which is a work in progress. I’m not under any deadline or pressure and so it will evolve in the coming months of 2022. It starts now with a new home page.
“Zoom gives me crazy anxiety and the same social pressure I would feel being invited to a party,” says Dani, a marketing manager based in Cleveland, who requested that only her first name be used to protect her workplace privacy. “I have to do Zoom calls all day for work. I cannot socialize that way right now.”
Some good advice and tips in this assessment. Three:
Schedule yourself non-negotiable “Zoom time” to ensure you’re not getting wrangled into video calls you don’t have the energy for. Blocking out a couple of hours a week — say, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays — can help keep your calendar from getting overloaded, and can also provide you with a good out if you’re not in the mood. “I’d love to chat, but to avoid excess screen time, I’ve been limiting my video call time to a few hours a week. Are you around on Tuesday evening?”
The best comparison might be to seniors living in nursing homes, who tragically are often hungry for social connection, and have too little contact with the outside world. A small 2020 study in the medical journal BMC Geriatrics found that nursing home residents experienced less loneliness, more vitality, and even less sensitivity to pain after connecting with family members once a week for six months via video call.
Research shows that seeing someone’s face has more of an impact on your sense of isolation than just hearing their voice. So if you can push yourself to participate in a Zoom call every once in a while, you should. Give this new type of communication a chance, especially if you’re feeling isolated or lonely.