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New restrictions on funerals are adding to the heartbreak of bereaved families | Rebecca Lee-Wale

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28 mars, par Rebecca Lee-Wale[ —]

Relatives can’t carry coffins; families can’t embrace; only 10 mourners allowed. As a funeral celebrant, it’s painful to watch

“I’m sorry, you can’t carry your son’s coffin,” I said. As a father and mother looked at the tiny woven baby coffin with blue ribbons on Thursday morning, their tears came thick and fast. And I felt helpless.

As a celebrant, my role at funeral services is to offer support to the bereaved family on the day. It’s my natural instinct to console and comfort someone, to offer a handshake, a hug or a reassuring hand on a shoulder when someone breaks down reading a tribute. But all this has gone. The virus doesn’t stop for the dead.

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I'm a final-year medical student being rushed to the frontline. I'm nervous – but I'm ready | Stephen Naulls

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28 mars, par Stephen Naulls[ —]

Matt Hancock is dispatching me and my peers in to hospitals. That’s only right, although the move carries real risks

“So, we’re being conscripted?”

On Tuesday, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that 5,500 final year medical students would be joining the frontline of the NHS. On hearing this news, I rushed down the stairs of my flat to my equally bewildered housemates. We had just finished six years of medical school and had completed our hurriedly reorganised final exams remotely. But we weren’t supposed to officially qualify and start as doctors until August. NHS staff shortages and a hugely increased demand for care mean that we will be reaching for the scrubs early.

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Lockdown diary: if this was a disaster movie I'd be the third to go

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28 mars, par Ian Martin[ —]

In this coronavirus crisis I’ve been made a Shielded Person of Significance. I can’t wait to tell my mates

DAY ZERO. Not sure when shit got real, but today feels like a solid contender. The sense of millions of tiny mind-keys turning in sync. Click. Locked into the news cycle. Yesterday social media was full of posts that began “I’m no epidemiologist … ” followed by some amateur’s log-lined horrorvision. Today there are substantially more that begin “I am an epidemiologist … ” followed by threaded, detailed forecasts. These are much worse, and require no emoji intensifiers.

I feel seen by Covid-19. I’m old, immuno-suppressed and have a chronic respiratory condition. A scalene triangle of fuck. If this was a disaster movie I’d be the third to go. First the scared neurotic guy, then the asshole offering the hospital porter 150 grand for a ventilator, then me. Oh wait, unless I’m also the scared neurotic …

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Three weeks of lockdown in Italy has given us vital perspective – and crumbs of comfort

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28 mars, par Tobias Jones[ —]

With scarce resources instilling a spirit of togetherness, Italians have quickly learned to cherish what we once took for granted

We’re about to enter our fourth week of lockdown in Italy, our sixth of home-schooling, and we’ve begun to glimpse minor positives. It’s as if we’re all at that stage of musical chairs when the music has stopped. The loud, relentless run-around is over. We’ve passed the point of the nervous scramble to get what we need. And now – even if we’re not where, with whom or with all we want – that is just where we’re at. We know the music isn’t starting up again for a long time. And that subtly changes your attitude towards who’s alongside you. Barely-known neighbours have come to seem like comrades in the trenches.

There’s something profound about what is happening in our small palazzo. Giorgio delivers us a newspaper every day. Silvia gives our son an old tablet (studiously wiped clean with alcohol) so he can do his online classes. Massimo delivers sheet music for our daughter. We, in turn, distribute food and offer free, online English lessons. We’re all looking out for each other. The exchanges are announced by text message, like drug drops (“rice outside door”) and with money hidden here and there. We never get close, and yet we’ve never been closer.

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Solitary refinement: a lockdown survival guide

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28 mars, par Sali Hughes, Elle Hunt and Zoe Williams[ —]

How do you adapt to working from home, keep fit, maintain a social life – and maybe even cut your hair?

Social media is awash with professional colourists pleading with absent clients not to reach for the box dye while they’re closed for business. This is partly because, like every service profession, hairdressing will take a financial beating during this crisis.

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After a day on the wards, the clap for carers lifted my spirits – and made me cry | Madeleine Openshaw

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27 mars, par Madeleine Openshaw[ —]

The public outpouring of support is keeping us NHS workers going. Here are other ways to help us during the Covid-19 crisis

Last night, slumped on the sofa after a busy day at work, my boyfriend and I heard something outside. We stepped on to our balcony and were hit by a cacophony of noise. Clapping, whooping, banging pots and pans, the sound reverberating off the surrounding buildings. Somehow, I was the only one in my local community to have missed the memo about last night’s clap for carers, a nationwide tribute to the NHS and care workers in these extraordinary times. And, before I knew it, I found that I was crying.

As a junior doctor, I work in an NHS hospital with some inpatients who have been admitted with complications resulting from Covid-19. I have not yet been redeployed to an intensive-care unit, but I feel sure this is on its way. So the clap for carers was followed for me by an outpouring of love from friends and family, some of whom I haven’t spoken to in years, via phone calls and social media.

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The Guardian view on Covid-19 volunteers: the kindness of neighbours | Editorial

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27 mars, par Editorial[ —]

Huge public support for health and care workers gives reason to hope that some good may come out of this crisis

It is impossible, at this early stage, to know the long-term consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. There are many reasons to be gravely worried, particularly about the poorest countries. But some aspects of the response to Covid-19 have offered grounds to hope that the effects will not all be negative. Among these is the outpouring of appreciation towards health and care workers, which the UK joined on Thursday evening with a #ClapForCarers on doorsteps and balconies.

Support for the National Health Service goes far beyond a willingness to applaud. On Wednesday, it was announced that 500,000 people had signed up to become NHS volunteers, helping to support the 1.5 million people deemed to be most vulnerable and advised to stay at home for 12 weeks. Added to the large number who have joined local groups that have sprung up as part of a Covid-19 Mutual Aid movement, the UK now has – theoretically, at least – an army of citizens ready and willing to do what is required to help each other keep going during the testing times ahead.

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The Guardian view on empty supermarket shelves: panic is not the problem

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27 mars, par Editorial[ —]

The coronavirus pandemic is beginning to expose the fragility of our food system. But will we choose long-term solutions or short-term fixes?

Until a couple of weeks ago, the idea of waiting in an Ocado queue of 73,735 shoppers, or of supermarkets rationing milk and baked beans, would have sounded like satire. For too many people in the UK, food scarcity is the norm, with mothers and fathers going hungry to ensure their children are fed. But others have grown used to an absurd abundance: strawberries and peaches in midwinter, or 20 types of mustard alongside three score of pasta. When such bounty overflows, it seems self-evident that supplies are both plentiful and reliable – until suddenly they aren’t.

In fact, warns Tim Lang in his new book, Feeding Britain, our food system is “stretched, open to disruption and far from resilient”. It is easy to castigate panic buyers for empty shelves. But while shopping responsibly will help others to get the food they need, only a few people are squirrelling away vast stocks. Research firm Kantar says the average spend per supermarket trip has risen by 16% to £22.13 month on month – not surprising when households realised they were likely to need lunches at home, including for children no longer in school, and could have to self-isolate for a fortnight.

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Science and psychology of the coronavirus crisis | Letters

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27 mars, par Letters[ —]

Simon Wood on the expertise of epidemiologists, Graeme Henderson on the PPE shortage, Martin McKee, Mark Flear and Anniek de Ruijter on the EU’s ventilator scheme, Dr Jeremy Holmes on mourning a lost way of life and Dr Helen Lucas on hope in these dark times

Publishing an article by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Yaneer Bar-Yam (The UK’s coronavirus policy may sound scientific. It isn’t, 25 March) on the Covid-19 pandemic rather implies that it is a “black swan” event. It may be for most of us, but not for epidemiologists, for whom this pandemic is not outside the range of expectation. Neither should it be a black swan for anyone whose knowledge of history goes back to 1918. Would you rather the pandemic was managed by those for whom it is a black swan event, or those for whom it is not? I’ve published peer-reviewed papers on modelling disease epidemics with data, and am aware of the limitations of my knowledge in the current situation. But my expertise does allow me to back those epidemiologists calling for testing of random samples of the population, to measure the size of the epidemic so it can be properly managed. Failure to do so amounts to abandoning evidence-based medicine.
Simon Wood
Professor of statistical science, University of Bristol

• I was a member of the Cobra committee as a representative of the Health and Safety Executive in the mid-2000s. During that time a risk assessment identified a pandemic as the greatest threat to life in the UK. HSE had the greatest expertise in personal protective equipment which was identified as being essential. The government tested a response to dealing with a pandemic that was successfully implemented with the flu pandemic. The World Health Organization identified this virus in early January. I cannot understand why it has taken so long to get suitable PPE to those caring for the rest of us.
Graeme Henderson
Wandsworth, London

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