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Issue 22 - Who Said Covid Testing Is Easy!

As lockdown arrangements are starting to tighten up around the UK again, I thought I would start by sharing a personal Covid experience with you.

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to pick up a cough from somewhere and although I felt perfectly well and showed no other symptoms of Covid, I reached for the faithful bottle of Covonia cough medicine and thought little of it!

After a couple of days, and as we had just signed up for the NHS Track & Trace app, Jamie, (my grandson) suggested that I should log in to the NHS app and see whether I should be reporting the cough. Whilst I was sure I did not have Covid, I started the process and got to a point where the app was asking questions about symptoms, a cough being one of them. The definition actually said that either a continuous cough that persists for more than an hour or three episodes within 24 hours.

It was the last part which started a debate as to what is meant by “an episode”? I had certainly coughed more than 3 times in 24 hours, but it was far from continuous. However, I was now genuinely starting to wonder if there was something to be concerned about.

So, I decided to call the NHS helpline on 119 and I put the question to them about what constitutes an episode, having firstly explained the background to my question. They had no idea about the definition but they strongly advised that I should continue with the information on the Track & Trace app, which I did and the next thing I know is that I have been instructed to self-isolate for 9 days and that I should book a test ASAP.

That was very frustrating, but as I now had no option, I was able to book a test for a couple of hours later about 7 miles from where I live. It was Saturday, so I booked it and off I went at the allotted time.

On arrival, you are checked in and handed a do it yourself kit and then directed to a parking space to complete the test. Any problems they said, put your hazard warning lights on and someone will come over! So off I went, parked up and dutifully read the leaflet from cover to cover – it took about 2 minutes, and I am a slow reader!

Apart from the instructions, there was a swab, a container to put it in and a plastic envelope to seal it in, ready for depositing in the collection box on the way out – all very simple, or so I thought.

Part One is to swab the back of your throat, on the tonsils or where they should have been for 10 seconds – a little unpleasant but I managed that OK. Then the same swab had to be poked up my nose and twizzled about for 10 – 15 seconds, before sticking it into the container, which by the way had about an inch of liquid in it to preserve the sample. That’s when it all went wrong! Even though it was self-inflicted, the twizzling up the nose bit set off an explosive sneeze which I had no hope of controlling, the container shot up in the air and the liquid all but disappeared completely.

So what came next? You guessed it, on went the hazard warning lights and you could see the look of distain on the face of the attendant as he headed over to my car to see what the idiot had managed to do with such simple instructions! I must say, I had quite a chuckle to myself as I drove away.

Although I had to wait 46 hours for my results, I am pleased to say they were negative as expected and whilst it did all seem a bit of a waste of time, it did make me reflect that clearly I had picked up the cough from somewhere, which means someone else’s bugs and it made me think that I clearly had not been as conscientious as I might, as it could just as easily been the Covid bug. Extra vigilance from me from now on!

In the wider world, President Trump now thinks he is Superman after his “miraculous recovery,” but still the Republican supporters are trying to find ways to suppress the votes from postal voters and even deploying fake ballot boxes in California it would seem. I don’t know about you, but I am glad UK Elections don’t go on as long as they do in the US – I will be glad when that one is over.

Come to that, I will be equally glad when the UK – EU discussions are concluded, so that we can move forwards on that front as well.

There is not much new to comment on with regard to the markets, other than the volatile trend continues and is likely to for some time to come.

As always, stay safe and we will keep in touch.

Best wishes.

Richard, Chris & Lesley

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