A personal experience of Covid-19 from our News Editor
Christine Vasquez - Thursday 8th October
Pens down and move away from the desk. It felt like being back at school having finished an exam. It was 'the' call, from the Contact Tracing Bureau. My husband had tested positive and I needed to self-isolate.
It was around six-thirty and I was putting the news to bed. There was no time for a handover, no time to tidy up the desk - It was get out of there before you spread the virus.
Already you're treated slightly differently, everyone takes a step back. You could be the spreader!
After months of following daily Covid developments from a journalist's detached vantage point, its reality had caught up with me. I was now part of the daily stats.
I left Broadcasting house and called 111 from my car. Colleagues were twitchy and I needed a swab. They needed a swab. It was explained that a swab could only happen on Day Ten, and after some research, I gathered this is because you can be germinating between six and fourteen days - an early swab could give a false negative and give you the confidence to return to work while still infected.
So I went home. And then it hit me. I would be unable to leave my house for twelve days. Did I have eggs? Bread? Enough diet cola and crisps? Should I stay away from my husband? What if he needed me and couldn't breathe? What would happen to my mother when I'm her main carer? The phone doesn't stop.
Then you start disrupting other people's lives. The poor passengers who sat next to us on the flight would be getting a call from contact tracing.
You, almost reluctantly, start calling friends.
"Yes he really was unwell,"
"No I don't think we were infected then,"
"Yes for sure I'll call you if I develop symptoms."
You cancel the doctor's appointment, the facial, the vet.
You sleep in different rooms and wear masks at home. You cringe when he coughs and start disinfecting surfaces. You resign yourself to working from home.
And then... you wait.