I have a health concern due to the covid pandemic, I am terrified now that the test is over
I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid Covid for the past two years. Although I only managed to avoid it by chance. I stick to restrictions and rules like everyone else, but it so happens that even in situations where I might have been supposed to, I’ve avoided it with lashing my teeth. However, given the current virus outbreak situation in the country, it appears that infection is imminent. Cases are increasing again, except this time there are no restrictions in England and the free trials will soon end on April 1.
As someone who suffers from health anxiety and comes from a lower socioeconomic background, the direction that Covid policy is now taking is worrying. The cost of paying for regular exams will be an additional burden on my finances. And with the growing awareness of the long-term effects of COVID-19, as well as the shocking increase in cases of the virus across the country, I’m starting to feel more and more concerned about the possibility of contracting the virus. Facing a pandemic when masks are mandatory, testing is free, and lockdown has been an option when infection rates are so high, and that has been difficult, but manageable. Now, with the lifting of restrictions, for those of us who suffer from anxiety, it can feel like the anxiety has turned into a free fall.
I am fully aware that my fears are based on the selfish perspective of my health anxiety, and I don’t miss being incredibly lucky to have to worry about my health only from a hypothetical perspective, rather than being clinically vulnerable. . same. However, living with hypochondria, a condition that can be quite debilitating and fill you with the greatest fear and anxiety at any moment, summoned the deepest sympathy within me for Those who are particularly vulnerable to contracting Covid. Living in a world where your life is threatened by the presence of a real and always present virus is a possibility and a shocking reality for many people right now.
For me, navigating the current Covid scene with health anxiety means rushing to the gym after work so I can work out for a day before people overwhelm it at 5 p.m., at which point the workout becomes unbearable. Since the restrictions have been lifted, people often ask me if they can “play” and share the equipment I’m using due to the lack of other equipment available. I am ashamed to say no because of the coronavirus. I know you are probably wondering why this should be a problem when there are no restrictions anymore.
And all this before even taking into account the government’s plans to end free coronavirus testing in England by April 1. Despite the lifting of restrictions, the current availability of free trials is an essential source of reassurance for people like myself who struggle with health anxiety.
In some ways, it’s comforting to know that the demand for the test has increased as the deadline approaches because it means that people are still taking the test seriously. However, it also shows why the need for free trials is still important. Lifting all restrictions without any plan to protect the most vulnerable is one thing, but creating financial barriers around testing is wrong. Not only will this create a false impression that infection rates are declining, but it will also directly affect the poorest in society, as well as the most vulnerable.
Although free testing will continue to be available to a select few (ie those at risk, nursing home workers or hospital patients), the protective aspect of testing diminishes dramatically when it is not freely available to all, as the number of people who get regular testing will They definitely go down.
Having grown up in a lower socioeconomic background, I am well aware of the financial pressures that the cost of testing can place on families and individuals during a cost of living crisis. A single lateral flow test is expected to come in at between £2 and £5, an amount that is probably too expensive for many. It can also push people into unfair and avoidable ethical dilemmas that may seem as extreme as choosing between a Covid test and the cost of a meal. Even if free testing remained available, with no contingencies to provide adequate sick pay, some of the poorest people might still have a choice but to go to work, rather than lose income. As usual, it is the weak, the poor, and those with mental health problems who face the worst prospects, thanks to decisions made by a government mired in privilege.
The truth is that after April 1, cases will continue to rise despite misleading data caused by the inevitable decline in testing. For people with health anxiety, who can barely afford to navigate the world with few restrictions, the experiences will be overwhelming and possibly unmanageable.
For those who are vulnerable, as well as those who are already suffering financially due to the cost of living crisis, the consequences will be even worse. No one should be forced to take tests against their will, but the removal of free tests when the effect of lack of restrictions causes anxiety appears to be a severe blow from a government that appears well prepared to turn a blind eye to the suffering of relief.
Jenny Medlecott is a freelance journalist and tourism editor.