Emma’s Story About COVID
I’m Emma and I am going to tell you my story of Covid-19.
I’m so glad to be back at school. It makes everything seem more “normal,” even though so much has changed.
Things in school look different now. We wash our hands and use hand sanitizer all the time; we sit at spaced out desks; we can’t bring in our own pencils and pens; the corridors are all way-one; and we have to stay in our own classroom bubbles, so I don’t see my little brother Liam. Even though it does feel strange,
it hasn’t taken long for us all to get used to this new normal. And everyone is really happy to be back with friends again.
During the first Lockdown, when we all had to stay at home and school was closed, not seeing friends was the worst part. I missed them so much my chest actually ached. Mum let me Facetime them so we could chat but it’s just not the same as being with them every day.
At first, everyone was excited about not having to go to school, but then reality hit – boredom, worry, missing friends, and then, even worse, actual school work at home! The teacher sent us so many worksheets but it was hard to concentrate and there was no teacher explaining how to do things. It turns out, Mum and Dad are not so good at explaining maths!
Everything had changed so fast that we didn’t have a chance to catch our breath. It was like that dizzy feeling when you get off a roller coaster for the first time. But after a few weeks, we settled into a routine. We would do school work in the morning and then have free time so that mum and dad could do their own work. We were allowed more screen time so Liam and I watched a lot of YouTube, but it started to get boring. I think that’s why we started to argue more. Mum let us build dens in our rooms so at least I had somewhere to go on my own to calm down.
Lockdown wasn’t all bad. I liked spending more time with mum and dad and clapping for the NHS every Thursday with our neighbours. But I did wish everything could go back to normal – play dates with friends, after-school clubs, visiting Grandma. All the things I didn’t even think about before, but really missed when they were taken away.
Missing my birthday party was one of the worst things. For weeks I’d been planning a trampoline party with my friends, so when I realised it couldn’t go ahead, I was really upset. My friends were disappointed too. But then Mum had a great idea to have a virtual party! Everyone got dressed up and we played games and told jokes. Some of my friends’ jokes were rubbish, but the party was so much fun!
As time went on, we got used to staying at home, but then I started worrying about things. It was like a stinging nettle seed taking root and growing. I kept
overhearing The News when Mum and Dad had it on and it didn’t sound good – there were people getting really sick from Coronavirus and some were even dying. I always get tummy aches when I’m worried so Mum could tell something was wrong. She sat down with me and Liam and said it was normal to feel worried and that we should talk about it together.
“If you bottle up all your feelings,” she said, “they build up until the bottle explodes. We’re all feeling worried, but it’s important not to feel worried all the time. Just remember, we are all doing our little bit to help.”
Liam scratched his chin, his head tilting to one side. “What are we doing to help mum? We’re just staying at home.”
Mum explained that by staying at home, keeping our distance from other people, and carefully washing our hands we were helping to slow down the spread of Coronavirus. Liam was silent for a moment, and then asked, “why does keeping away from everyone and washing our hands help though?”
“Let’s look it up together,” mum said. We looked online and found out that the new virus can easily spread from person to person. If someone who has the virus coughs, sneezes or talks, the virus can be spread in tiny droplets. If the person who has the virus touches something, there might be some virus left on the surface.
“Ah!” said Liam, “so we keep away from people to stay away from the droplets and wash our hands carefully before we touch our mouth, nose or eyes in case we’ve touched something that has the virus on it?”
“Exactly” said mum, “and the trouble is viruses are like tiny invisible germs so we can’t see them. But washing your hands carefully with soap and water for at least 20 seconds can get rid of them!”
“I wish the germs were slimy and green so we could see where they are!” giggled Liam.
Mum explained that lots of people, including most children, may only get a mild illness or sometimes not even feel ill at all. But, without even knowing it, they could pass it on to someone who could get very sick if they got the virus. “That’s why we all have to be careful,” she said.
She told us that Covid-19 is the name of the illness caused by this new virus which can make you cough, have a high temperature, lose your sense of smell or taste and sometimes can cause problems with breathing. On The News I had heard them saying that older people and people with serious health problems could get really unwell if they caught it. That made me even more worried because Grandma is really old and hasn’t been well for a while.
“Is that why we can’t see Grandma?” I asked.
“Yes Emma,” mum said, “the virus is new so we’re not sure why some people don’t get very sick and some do, but we know people over 70 and people with other illnesses, like Grandma, can get really sick if they get it. So, we all have to help and be extra careful to protect them. And you should be really proud of yourselves for doing your part.”
“So we’re helping Grandma by not seeing her?” asked Liam.
“Yes, we are!” Mum said, “but we can still see her on the computer and talk to her on the phone.”
It made me feel better talking to mum because some of my friends had made it sound like something from a film. Mum just gives us the facts, which makes things less scary.
I now talk about things whenever I get worried. I know we can’t change what’s happening, but we can make sure we are making the best of things and trying to keep ourselves happy. We’ve started doing something Mum calls the “cheery challenge” where we do three things every day that make us feel happy. Today, I made an origami heart for my best friend, which put a smile on her face and made me feel happy too. Then we had my favourite, waffles with syrup, for dinner, which definitely made me happy! Before bed, we had a Zoom chat with Grandma, and I told her about everything I’d been doing. Liam told her we would give her a big hug when it was all over and blew her a kiss into the screen! I really miss hugging her but I keep reminding myself that it is not forever.
After the Zoom chat, I asked mum when it would all be over. I had been thinking about it for a while, because it seemed to be going on for a long time.
She told me that no one knew for sure when it would end, but that it would end at some point. “Doctors have already found medicines that can help some people who are really sick, and scientists are trying to find a vaccine.”
I asked her what a vaccine was and she said it was a medicine that you are given when you are healthy to stop you from getting ill, like the measles vaccine I had when I was little. She said scientists have already started to make some vaccines but they have to test them to find one that works, which is safe for everyone. Once they find a vaccine, then they have to make enough for everyone. That’s a lot of vaccines! I feel happy that the scientists know a lot more about the virus than they did at the beginning. When I get older, I think I want to be a scientist!
Even though things still feel strange, I feel better now I understand why things have changed for a while. And when we can hug Grandma again, and we can have trampoline parties and play dates with friends, I know that what used to be normal, will feel more special than ever before.
Questions and Answers with Dr Tim
What is the Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is a kind of virus, which can cause an illness called Covid-19. There are, in fact, lots of different coronaviruses but because this is a new one, we don’t know enough about it yet.
How is Coronavirus spread from person to person?
As Emma found out, if someone who has the virus coughs, sneezes or talks, the virus can be spread in tiny droplets. This is why we need to stay away from people we don’t live with so we don’t breathe in the tiny droplets, which may contain the virus.
Also, if the person who has the virus touches something, there may be some virus left on the surface. So we need to wash our hands carefully in case we have touched something that has the virus on it. If we touch our mouth, nose or eyes before we wash our hands, the virus can get into our body.
What are the symptoms of Covid-19?
Some people with Covid-19 may only get a mild illness or not even feel ill at all. Some people will have a cough, a high temperature, and may lose their sense of smell or taste. Some will have problems with their breathing and may need help from the hospital.
Many people get better by themselves after a few weeks without needing to see a doctor. Some people, like Emma’s Grandma, who are over 70 and/or have other illnesses, might get very ill if they catch it. This is why we all need to be careful, to keep everyone safe.
How can I help to protect myself from Coronavirus?
We all need to not get too close to people who we don’t live with; keep carefully washing our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer; cough or sneeze into a tissue or the corner of our elbow instead of into our hands; and wear a mask to cover our nose and mouth when needed.
When will this be over?
No one knows for sure when it will be over but doctors and scientists are working really hard to find medicines that will help and vaccines to stop people from getting the virus in the first place. We already know a lot more about the virus than we did at the beginning. By being careful, we are giving the doctors and scientists more time to find medicines and vaccines that work.
Author: Dr Ffion Jones
Editor: Dr Tim Ubhi
© Invizo Ltd 2020