I’m sure in years to come, 2020 will be remembered but not in a good way.
The year started really well with some really big contract wins and positivity throughout with other business owners I know and the general ‘feel’ was very good. The news of the Coronavirus in China felt a World away. Who knew what the effect would be on the people of the United Kingdom by the time we got to mid March? The infection arrived on our shores but it started slowly and containment was key to give our amazing NHS time to organise for what was about to come. I still didn’t realise the scale of what was heading our way, it still didn’t seem real. Everyone was playing it down, “It’s only a mild flu” or, “99 out of a hundred will be fine only the one percent may need hospital help.” Then the numbers started to rack up, infections in London, then in the Midlands. The first death, quickly followed by the second, the third. We knew their names, photos on the national news. A few weeks later there are almost 800 deaths a day and we no longer see photos on national TV.
At the beginning of March, we had a feeling this situation needed urgent attention and we stocked up with chemicals that we’d been advised, “Kills SARS, so should kill Covid19.” Our three storage rooms filled with boxes of trigger sprays and chemicals we could use to ‘fog’ infected areas. Then in mid March the calls started coming through for deep cleaning as suspected cases were reported. We mobilized three response teams. Training was given and PPE was split between three large plastic boxes, one for each team. The first two confirmed Covid19 cases at a medical site in Gosforth was the first time we knew we were dealing with the virus. Jonny, Andrius, Sarah and I attended site to be met with miles of tape stopping entry to the building, notices everywhere warning people not to enter. This was very real.
On entering, everything looked completely normal. I’m not sure what I was expecting but immediately no one wanted to touch a door push plate, we went up stairs without going anywhere near the handrail. Jonny and Sarah were already in full PPE and we started fogging the rooms, one by one before waiting the 5 minutes for the chemical to work then returning to deep clean each one, hoping the chemical marked 429 had done it’s job and killed any virus that was there. The job took 16 hours, 8 hours each without a break. No one was hungry and you didn’t want to start taking off masks and PPE. At the end the place looked as ‘normal’ as it did at the beginning, apart from the stack of 17 clinical waste bags in the corridor. The surgery re-opened the following morning.
That was the first. Now we’ve attended lots of buildings, some suspected cases but more and more confirmed Coronavirus infections. Sending in teams to do this has become more and more worrying as the reported death toll increases and the daily TV visits into the Intensive Care Units around the UK just re-affirms the need to take every precaution. Thousands of families have lost loved ones, many have lost friends and the names and photos are appearing back on TV but this time it’s on the local news. Even the Prime Minister is (at the time of writing) in St Thomas’s Hospital, fighting the virus.
We pray the numbers will peak and then fall soon. Everyone wants to get back to our normal lives but the lockdown is important to stop the spread. This will end. Let’s all hope it’s sooner rather than later. Stay safe.