The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown has become a source of stress, worry and sorrow for the world over the last few months.
We have decided that rather than focusing on the negatives and statistics we would take a bit of time to put together some of the positive stories, videos and news over the last few weeks.
Hope for the future and a smile can bring us together at a time of crisis, so without any further chit chat;
Enforced Family Time
For those being forced to stay home and spend time with your family, it’s a good thing… no really it is. This is an opportunity to spend time playing with kids, have a BBQ with the family and try to do a bit of chilling out.
There is a lot of talk about home schooling and I am sure there is a need for some of that too, but trying to make the most of “quality” time when otherwise work would get in the way is perhaps an opportunity we should try to make the most of.
For those of you working from home and dealing with kids & pesty pets… I salute you!
The Independent came up with these tips, complete with my commentary:
- Establish a routine – “Easier said than done”
- Communicate with your partner – “If I must”
- Make the most of nap time – “No problem here”
- Have a designated work space – “As far away from everyone else as possible?”
- Use technology to your advantage – “I try”
- Be honest with your employer – “Big brother is watching!”
- Focus on the positives – “Trying to do just that…”
See article for their full and serious advice.
Our diets are improving
Less fast food, and more home cooking!
All the initial hoarding and supply problems of the supermarkets left many looking for alternatives for their weekly shop and fast food.
It was the local butchers and whole sale vegetable suppliers who stepped up and are now providing fresh and local produce to their communities delivering directly to many and focusing on at risk individuals.
Supermarkets for the most part are getting stocks under control with many lifting restrictions on item limits, even toilet roll can be found once again (most of the time).
These business are now connecting directly with the customers in a way they didn’t before, and those services will certainly continue long after lockdown ends.
I personally will find it hard to go back to regular sized onions and cucumbers without all the nobley bits!
Help for UK Farms:
The UK farming industry has put out a request for assistance in harvesting their crops with foreign workers unavailable. Over 11 thousand volunteers have signed up for training through Concordia already.
Many more are still needed and they are asking for help from anyone who is seeking new employment. This is a great opportunity for many to “get back to their roots”, see what I did there?… no, moving on then.
Just like the NHS our farms are part of the backbone of our nation and we need them more than ever.
One Farmer even mowed NHS in to his field to show their support, lets hope the nation can return the favour.
We are happy to relay that message, so if you are looking to help feed the nation and earn for your own family then please read the information here:
Gardens across the UK are getting a veg patch
Locked at home with the family and the threat of no potatoes the nation has built raised vegetable beds and dug holes in their gardens in order to live “the good life”.
It might be difficult to get hold of compost at the moment but as we stare at the seeds we have planted and rejoice as they magically transform in to baby veg, we know that the world is a little bit better, or at the very least we will have a few cucumbers and something to keep us busy over the coming months.
Even if the only purpose is to keep us busy there is nothing but good to come from the nation growing a supply of home vegetables and fruit in their conservatories and on window sills.
If you have learnt the difference between mulch, compost and top soil for the first time in your life this week then we wish you all the best on your quest.
The community and positivity of us humans is often most visible during troubled times, we band together and support one another even if that is only virtually it shows we care.
There have been fabulous stories of singing during the lockdown in Italy, a choir hypnotizing London and even Spanish police singing on the streets of Mallorca.
Here in the UK we have seen a rise of community websites and social media groups where people have been offering support for vulnerable neighbours and key workers. Popping notes through letterboxes, picking up parcels and offering to do the shopping.
My own neighbours (yes I am normal person not just some insurance chap) have both offered to do the shopping for us as my other half is higher risk.
One website called Nextdoor allows you to put in your postcode and register so that you can talk directly with your neighbours to either offer assistance or even ask for help (there is no shame in asking for a helping hand).
National support for the NHS
Let’s face it these people are nothing short of heroes going to face to face with a virus to look after us and our loved ones.
Not only have retired doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical staff offered to come out of retirement (many of whom are higher risk), over 750,000 volunteers signed up to volunteer army help relieve the NHS by doing administrative and logistical tasks.
This is three times the initial target of 250,000 volunteers that the government was looking for, so many in fact they have put a pause on recruitment.
These volunteers have been provided with an app called “GoodSam” (short for Good Samaritan if you didn’t spot it). The app will let health workers upload requests which the volunteers can pick from and help with in their local area.
The Nation has been showing their support, love and appreciation for the NHS every Thursday by clapping and whooping their appreciation for everyone who is putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe.
Here is a touching video of a choir singing “amazing grace” in front of Charing Cross hospital in support of the staff working to save lives inside.
Free and discounted meals have been provided by both national and local businesses to NHS workers, a local business to us in Bournemouth & Poole; Chicken & Blues have provided over 3500 meals to NHS workers at 50% off, as well as allowing the public to purchase meals as a donation for a random NHS member of staff using their pay it forward scheme.
Members of the public can purchase meals for staff at a reduced price of £5 each, the team are hoping to donate over 2,500 free meals by the end of the month.
It is these acts of kindness and support which make all the difference to those they support.
Crime is down
One of the positive impacts of the lockdown has been a drop in crime by as much as 20% in some areas. Less burglaries, less antisocial behavior and fighting outside pubs.
Good news for all involved, lets hope everyone remains behaved.
Our Police continue to work hard, like the NHS they are still out their keeping us safe.
Respect for Key Workers
One thing that has become obvious is that everyone who works hard needs respect, those collecting our bins, cleaning offices (commercial cleaners are still cleaning hospitals and police stations for example), postal/delivery services, farming and caring for the elderly have been highlighted as particularly vital (sorry if I missed anyone).
Simon Richardson gained internet fame after cheering up his customers in Penrith by dressing up as a post box to do his rounds.
The NHS is a national treasure which the majority of us recognize, the difficulties seen in America from a wholly privatized system are more visible than ever so one positive is that any talk of the NHS being privatized could be seen as political suicide.
Support for the elderly and vulnerable
Supermarkets have been swamped with requests for delivery slots and many of you have been waiting up until midnight to get that delivery slot for parents and others considered more vulnerable than themselves. This kind of selfless behavior is going on across the country and these are the acts of kindness which go unnoticed, you know who you are and jolly good show to you!
Most of the big chains now provide a special time for at risk individuals to do their shopping and some like Sainsbury’s have gone so far as to reserve deliveries for those classified as at risk by the government (if you got a letter).
By linking their nectar accounts when they register as “at risk” (details of this provided to those who got a letter) on the government website Sainsbury’s will automatically get in touch to offer a delivery using one of their reserved slots.
The environment is getting a breather
Climate change has been on everyone’s mind for a long time, lots of talk and not much action from where I sit judging. But there is no doubt that the reduced economic activity, massive drop in air travel and transport has brought about a not insignificant reduction in CO2.
In the battle against global warming this pandemic is believed to have reduced the number of pollutants in the air by almost 50% from the same time in 2019.
This can be seen dramatically in some images of china taken earlier in the year (sorry I couldn’t find anything more recent on Europe).
Pollution levels dropping is a good thing for us all, and as mother earth gets a breather hopefully the world will see some possibilities for change and at least learn from it once we no longer have to isolate.
Coronavirus might make us more realistic about medicine and vaccines
There has never been a more vivid example of a world without vaccinations, hopefully at the very least this will prove to be a wakeup call to those who believe otherwise.
If at the end of the crisis we are more aware of our vulnerabilities and less presumptuous then then someting good may come out of this in the long term.
Insurance Related Questions –
Working from home myself I do have a few updates on the insurance industry and here are some of the questions that have been coming up relating to the current situation.
I will take the opportunity to cover some of those queries and hope some of you find the info useful if you are looking in to protecting yourself and your family in difficult times or otherwise.
Is Private medical insurance available?
Yes, some providers have stopped taking on new customers like Aviva, but many are working hard to continue to offer cover.
Vitality Health for example are providing their virtual GP service to all private health insurance customers so that if you need to speak to a doctor you can get a diagnosis and your prescription posted out to you without having to leave your house.
Does Life insurance cover Covid 19?
Yes, all life insurance providers will pay out for someone who passes away from coronavirus. However many now ask some qualifying questions as to whether you have symptoms of the illness at the time of applying (persistent cough etc.) and would delay any application until you are symptom free. Like Vitality, AIG are also offering a virtual GP service to all their members (past and present), so if you are a customer of AIG already then you have access to this service if you need it.
Are insurance providers still working?
Most of the insurance companies are working from home where possible, some are coping better than others. AIG Life for example have coped particularly well whilst Aegon are struggling in our experience having closed all their contact centers.
Does Income Protection cover Covid 19?
Yes, but income protection will only pay out if you are off work because you have the illness (not because you are on lockdown).