What I’ve Learned a Year After the Pandemic Started

Tito Oye avatar

by Tito Oye |

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I started to shelter at home due to the pandemic in mid-March 2020, and I’m still doing so a year later. I never thought I would be in this position.

At the beginning of the nationwide lockdown here in the U.K., most people didn’t know what to expect — this was all new territory for most of us. People usually don’t factor a pandemic into their plans. I definitely didn’t expect to deal with one in my lifetime.

So much has changed over the last year for me and for society as a whole.

I have become more intentional with my health. During the pandemic, I’ve had to prioritize my health over my work multiple times. It sounds like common sense, but it is easier said than done.

Before quarantines or the possibility of furlough, which is a British government response similar to unemployment subsidies in the U.S., I had to stop working due to the perceived risk of the virus and the precautions that high-risk individuals with sickle cell disease should take.

It was a big deal for me, as I have had to put multiple financial goals on hold. But as one of my friends said so bluntly and accurately, “You can’t make, save, or spend money if you’re dead.”

It sounds kind of brutal, but it has helped me to realign my priorities. Whenever I have to give up something to maintain good health, I just think, “I can’t do [insert desired activity] if I’m dead.” It quickly helps me to remember that there are more important things in life.

Over the past year, I have been reminded of the privilege I have to be born and live in a country like England. Although we may not all agree with every government policy, provisions such as the furlough system, loans, and grants have helped many people, and I am very grateful for them, as I have seen the relief they have provided.

I hope that people will recognize sickle cell as the serious condition that it is. Individuals with sickle cell are in the clinically extremely vulnerable category, which means we’re at serious risk of infection. I hope this placement will shine a light on the difficulties that we face and encourage more government support in the form of benefits, such as free prescriptions, that people with various other disabilities receive.

One year later, and the COVID-19 vaccine is being administered in nations across the world. We are starting to see the light at the end of the pandemic. Thank God!

The perception that we will have to quarantine for the rest of our lives due to the novel coronavirus seems to be shifting. Maybe we’ll be able to coexist with it, or maybe it’ll eventually be compared to the common cold. Who knows? I hope that things will only get better.

What have you learned from your experiences during this pandemic? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.


Mbangchia Chester avatar

Mbangchia Chester

It is hight time we took it seriously.

David Isichei avatar

David Isichei

Sickle Cell is definitely not recognised enough in the UK even in 2021. Thankfully, those with sickle cell were placed in the category of the 'extremely vulnerable' and that really has been a blessing from food parcels to letters proving the need to shield all of which have helped during the last year. Moving forward from the pandemic, the financial support given to those with sickle cell needs to improve and increase as many have lost their benefits while having to pay for medication, certain foods and clothes that help prevent sickling and keep a decent job.

Joshua Ampofo Yentumi avatar

Joshua Ampofo Yentumi

I wonder why we don't have governments pumping more money into SCD research like they do cancer?


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