This speech had a huge impact on the British Public’s psyche, many of whom would believe that COVID-19 was nothing to worry about.

Boris Johnson press conference on 3rd March 2020. CREDIT: Sky News

Today marks the anniversary of the day when Boris Johnson stated proudly:

This press conference took place on the same day that the UK Government advisory body SAGE gave clear advice that the government should warn against shaking hands, hugging, and indeed all forms of physical…

An epic 8-hour journey through 20th century history and behavioural psychology which beautifully explains, though doesn’t quite offer solutions to, the situations we are in today.

Image for post
Image for post
Can’t Get You Out Of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World. Credit: Film still

The Art of the Documentary

The power of the Schwartz Round in the COVID-19 pandemic era.

Image for post
Image for post
We give and we receive, together. Credit: University of the Arts London

Talking through things can help us unburden ourselves, and each other. Indeed, exploring buried emotions in a comforting and nonjudgmental environment lifts weights from our shoulders that we didn’t even know we had.

In busy working environments, challenging events can lead to a build up and compartmentalisation of emotions, and this is ever more stark in the era of COVID-19. This pandemic has tested everyone, and for those working in healthcare the unrelenting pace and change of working practice, together with tragedies in and out of the workplace, may have had a huge impact on their emotional health. …

A day for nature, love and friendship

Image for post
Image for post
Mehregan, a festival for joy, harvest and abundance

Norouz (Spring), Yalda (Winter), Mehregan (Autumn) and Tirgan (Summer) comprise the four ancient Pre-Islamic Iranian festivals heralding the changing of seasons. They have been celebrated for between 3–4 millenia.

Mehregan falls on the 196th day of the calendar year (this year Friday 2nd October), and honours Mithra — the god of friendship, love and affection. Although Norouz and Yalda remain well-celebrated after thousands of years, the awareness of Mehregan and Tirgan has waned over recent centuries.

Which is a shame, as these ancient celebrations have a timeless message. One of not just kindness and hope, but also of fostering and…

“N*gger”, “P*ki”, “Filthy *rab”… How my brother and I have had such varying experiences based on the tiniest of genetic differences.

Image for post
Image for post
My younger brother and I on our wheels in the early/mid nineties

Melanin is an amazing complex polymer. The impact it has on our lives and our societies is quite phenomenal. We humans are bewitched by this protective skin-darkening pigment.

Variations in skin color due to melanin are caused by rather small differences in the genetic code for melanocytes — the specialized skin cells that produce this pigment. The mechanics of pigment formation are subtle, with the main regulator being the enzyme tyrosinase. We all have this enzyme, yet in those with lighter coloured skin, there is a switch which renders most of this enzyme inactive. …

Where to find support and guidance

Coronavirus and Uveitis: A Video Resource list. CREDIT: Doctor Yak

The current global pandemic can be a very difficult time for patients with Uveitis — a spectrum of eye diseases, the core feature being inflammation in the eye. I work as a Medical Ophthalmologist and have trained in Uveitis and Ocular Immunology.

Spending my time recovering from COVID-19, I became aware of how challenging a time this is for patients who suffer from Uveitis and their families by reading social media accounts. There are so many questions about what to do with medications, self-isolation and shielding, and whether to attend…

Anyone can suffer from vastly different severities of disease, depending on the viral load they are exposed to.

Image for post
Image for post
Coronavirus Particles. The amount of these makes an impact when it comes to severity of disease. Credit: Maurizio de Angelis

My younger brother and I have had two widely different experiences of COVID-19 illness. We both self-isolated at the same time, as we are sharing a flat. He had no symptoms during this entire period, apart from a very mild cough for half a day.

Conversely, I am now four weeks into my COVID-19 illness. The course of my illness was complicated by pneumonia, for which I have taken two antibiotics. We are both NHS doctors in the United Kingdom, and I run and cycle regularly whereas he doesn’t. Neither of us have any background medical problems.

Why did we have such different experiences of COVID-19?

Image for post
Image for post
Composite scan showing lungs affected by Coronavirus. CREDIT: SPL

I am a UK doctor who has been unwell for 3 weeks with suspected moderate COVID-19.

A few days ago I was getting more short of breath, I had pleuritic chest pain (pain on breathing) and my Oxygen saturations dropped a little. I was seen by a primary care doctor and diagnosed with bacterial superinfection/pneumonia after listening to my chest. This is a well known complication of COVID-19 and guidance for managing it is here, I am currently taking Co-Amoxiclav (Augmentin) and Clarithromycin, although there are many other combinations of antibiotics available.

The lung damage that COVID-19 can cause. Credit…

Image for post
Image for post
The United Kingdom was unprepared for COVID-19. Credit: James Veysey/Rex/Shutterstock

Edit 12th April 2020: Since writing this article, I worsened and got a secondary lung complication of COVID-19. I’ve described it here, and hope that my experience can help others. I’m starting to feel better now after a month of sickness.

If like me, you were confused by British Health Secretary Matt Hancock appearing on BBC’s Flagship Question Time SIX days after saying he tested +ve for COVID19, don’t be. This current level of bewilderment and complacency is par for the course.

Image for post
Image for post
The stethoscope and the smartphone — both invaluable tools for the physician. Credit: Pixnio (Public domain)

The current global health emergency necessitates new ways of providing healthcare. In order to reduce risk of transmission, interaction with patients and sharing healthcare information has needed to rapidly enter a virtual era. For telehealth in 2020, necessity has been the mother of both invention and change.

I work in Ophthalmic practice in the United Kingdom. In my work, the prolonged exposure and close proximity between doctor and patients increases the risk of transmission, and degree of viral load (how many virus particles enter your body on exposure). …

Doctor Yak

Yakking all day about technology, healthcare, culture and art.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store