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Covid has made our family a talking point – and cured me of Twitter

Séamas O’Reilly
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Getty Images

There are few consolations to Covid, but it is at least interesting having a celebrity disease. We’ve become objects of fascination to friends and family who’ve not yet had it, and who’ve taken to quizzing us on our symptoms as if they’re small-town yokels who’ve heard we’re in Disneyland.

One small mercy of Covid’s lethargy is that it has reduced – though not ceased – my Twitter use, since focusing on backlit screens has been taxing, and it’s surprising how much my brain has enjoyed the break from doom scrolling. Luckily, others are on hand to inform us of every new stat, graph and grim tiding.

Weirdly, I’d not noticed that every single person I know has spent the past year doing a correspondence course in epidemiology and each now knows more about the symptoms – our symptoms – than we do. At every stage, and with something not entirely disconnected from glee, we’ve been reliably informed that the worst is probably yet to come. On Day 4, I was solemnly informed, ‘Day 5 is where it gets messy,’ and a few days later: ‘Beware day 8.’ Having now regained just a little get-up-and-go around day 14, I was today reminded that, ‘It’s the two-week point you have to watch out for’.

‘The gorillas in San Diego zoo have it now,’ I was told by several people the day that news became public, either in the hopes I’d abandon long-held plans to visit the poor primates, or challenging me to provide an alibi for said transmission. Most simply want to know how we’re doing, and scan us for symptoms. Many seemed not just intrigued but positively delighted by the idea we might lose our sense of taste and smell, and have been sorely disappointed each time we’ve reported that both remain intact. There’s usually a pause on the phoneline in such instances, as if we’re miserly cheapskates, who came home with the £19.99 Basic Coronavirus Package – fatigue, soreness, complaining – rather than the £49.99 Covid+ Deluxe deal – no smell, coughing up random bones, all Sky Sports and Movie channels.

For the most part, it’s been nice to hear from people, since we haven’t left the house in any form for two weeks. This has been quite easy for us because we have long since lost any interest in the world outside these walls. That depletion in liveliness may be the virus’s longest tail; a sense of doomy lethargy that’s persisted long after the aches and pains have started easing off.

I feel sorry for the boy, who suffered a few days of sickness, and then 10 days idling like an interned rocket, trapped indoors with two decrepit adults. It goes without saying that all our middle-class aversions to him watching CBeebies all day have been shredded. For this we are forgiving ourselves. It’s either that or we get him started on Twitter.

Follow Séamas on Twitter @shockproofbeats