Well, #bekind lasted a matter of minutes before it was replaced by #befirst. Pictures of random acts of kindness have been cast into the cultural dustbin courtesy of numerous images of barren supermarket bog roll aisles. I just hope we don’t have to revisit my granddad's house circa late 1970s: He had a penchant for squares of newspaper with which to wipe ourselves clean, whereas my gran's weapon of choice was Izal. The tracing paper type toilet roll had the same finesse around delicate parts as Geoff Capes giving a colonic irrigation. Determined to be a part of the solution and not the problem, and despite my kids' obsession with wrapping half a roll around their hands at the merest sight of porcelain, I found myself in Sainsbury’s yesterday when they had just had a delivery and, well, its rude not to…

In a short space of time, and Lord only knows how far down the corona cul-de-sac we will be when this goes to press, we are making wholesale changes to the way we live our lives in the face of a silent assassin. It’s akin to modern warfare: you rarely see the whites of the enemy’s eyes; despite the desecration they leave behind.

As well as embracing paranoia, we are honing new skills. I have just managed to get all the way into work (excluding the steering wheel and gear stick, although I’m working on it), without the use of my hands, which has caused my elbow skin to become thicker than that of a 50-a-day lifelong smoker. I have been accused of being a little OCD and now I have a justification for my foibles as I take the line of best fit: hit door entry button with right elbow, push door with left foot, rotate, shoulder barge toilet door open, kick seat up and attempt to karate kick the flush.

Despite Bojo being flanked by supposed experts, the advice remains sketchy at best. If you have any symptoms, stay at home for seven days. It is open season for the workshy and is a hypochondriac’s heaven, despite the fact that the doctor will refuse to see you, as will the hospital and you will end up in in your bedroom for a week as you relive your teenage years. Friends and family may use your illness as an excuse to consciously uncouple from your acquaintance, as you are now spoiled goods in what is this millennium’s plague.

We continue to freak the bejesus out of the kids. Blanket news coverage has even put the FTSE’s worst day in 33 years into footnote category. My daughter’s hands are red raw after she has been made to wash them with soap what seems like 20 times a day, and each time I cough she asks if I have the virus.

The Corona beer brand is now indelibly tarnished by disease association. A crisp, refreshing tipple yes, but brand loyalty only goes so far when it shares its name with an unwelcome entity. It worked well for me as they are still on offer in my local supermarket and, arriving at a dinner party last week with a crate of the gold stuff was an excellent conversation ice breaker. Oh, how we laughed! Until I dropped into small talk that I had spent the previous three days in bed with a bug.

Thankfully I was fine, but even the merest hint of the sniffles is currently putting families, communities and even countries into complete lockdown. Italy is in a perilous state but, thankfully, shutting down all of their businesses will hardly make a dent in their economic output figures as it wasn’t that great pre-hysteria.

To me, no real plan is not a plan, and current strategy could have been devised by Doogie Howser MD. Er, let’s just tell everyone to ‘wash their hands’ and ‘self-isolate at home’. It is but clutching at straws.

We have 50 high dependency beds and rumours in Italy are that doctors are making the decision of God by deciding early on whom to let live due to resource scarcity. I have tried the washing my hands thing a few times for that length of time but you get funny looks as other folk wonder why you are singing happy birthday, twice, to an inanimate object. Who knows where this is going? The paranoia is rife now and no doubt the next stage is closing public transport and moving back toward 1930s Britain. My gosh, it’s as if all Corbyn’s wishes are coming true!

Yes, there is a real threat, but we must live, and house arrest will do little to stop people popping to the shops or going on a bike ride. The discussion is now getting as divisive as Brexit. Some sickos have been lauding the virus for ‘taking out’ some of the more elderly and vulnerable in society as it minimises the burden on the NHS and pension pay-outs. Others believe a vaccine is forthcoming and if you get it, c'est la vie.

As for me, I’m going to continue as you were and hope for the best. I may find I go on a rampage tonight down the tin section in Co-op just in case Mr Heinz has problems getting through the supply chain. Thankfully I still have a dozen toilet rolls handy with which to negate my upcoming nightly baked bean fest and I plan to put a sign on the door saying ‘Corona here’ so I can at least get a few months respite from religious callers and political irritants.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher