First identified in 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, in China, the Corona Virus (COVID-19) was to spread around the World, and create a global pandemic.
By March 2020, the disease had reached the UK, and by the end of that month had seen casualties at Blackburn Queens Park Hospital from Great Harwood.
Common symptoms included a fever, coughing, and a shortness of breath. Other symptoms included muscle pain, sputum production, diarrhoea, sore throat, abdominal pain and loss of smell and taste.
While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms, some progressed to pneumonia and multi-organ failure.
The virus was typically spread during close contact and via respiratory droplets produced when people coughed or sneezed. Respiratory droplets were produced during breathing but it was not considered airborne.
It was also spread via fomite transmission. For example, touching a fomite (contaminated surface) and then touching the body's mucous membranes, such as the nose, mouth, or eyes, could have potentially introduce the pathogen into the body.
It was most contagious when people were symptomatic, although spreading it may have been possible before symptoms appear. The virus can live on surfaces up to 72 hours. Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally between two and fourteen days, with an average of five days.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30th January 2020, and a pandemic on 11th March 2020. Local transmission of the disease was recorded in many countries across all six WHO regions.
No cure was expected before 2021.
The United Kingdom.
On the 23rd March 2020, the UK Government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, locked down the entire United Kingdom, advising people not to leave their homes.
People were advised to stay 2 meters away from each other, exercise alone for an hour a day, and not to drive unless absolutely necessary.
Panic buying occurred across the UK, with shop shelves being emptied in seconds, especially dried products, tins, and toilet rolls. Sanitisers and other hand products didn't reach the shelves before they were gone.
Stores started to limit amounts of products per person, and all unnecessary stores were closed. Online shopping was limited to 80 items maximum.
On the 13th March 2020, public houses and restaurants were closed by the Government, and gatherings of more than 2 people were banned. Marriages and baptisms were cancelled, and only 2 people could attend a funeral. All sporting events were cancelled.
The internet was hit heavily with people staying home, but ISPs would not bend from carrying on as normal.
On the 28th March, the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson was confirmed as having the bug, and went into self-isolation. On the 6th April, a mere 10 days later, the Prime Minister was admitted into Saint Thomas's hospital in London, and overnight was moved into intensive care. He remained in intensive care for 3 Days before being released back onto a ward.
Queues were made to stand 2 meters apart in shops, and numbers limited on entry. Milk was rationed, not seen since the WW2, with only 2 bottles per customer.
By mid April 2020, over 10,000 people had died through Corona related illness, with over 1,500 of these in Lancashire.
The streets were quiet, not seen since the wake weeks of the 1970's, with very few vehicles moving, and people staying indoors.
The skies were quiet too. Airports and airplanes had been grounded due to people not being allowed to move. A total of 12 aircraft covered the entire UK at any given time, instead of the thousands normally seen.
Fortunately, March 2020 was warm and sunny for most of the month, possible one of the warmest on record, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees centigrade during the day, but freezing at night, allowing residents a little respite, this fine weather carried on throughout April.