To order a twelve-year-old inside is as bad as a prison sentence to them. When I was twelve all I can remember doing is playing outside with my mates, whether that was playing various sports or just running around trying to beat the living daylights out of each other.
Kayleigh has just turned 12 years old, and due to the outbreak of COVID-19, she has been told to stay inside or to risk her own health.
Kayleigh suffers from severe asthma, the condition keeping her inside, but unfortunately for Kayleigh, she also suffers from postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) and is on the autistic spectrum. If you can imagine how stressed you are by the epidemic, put yourself in Kayleigh’s shoes.
A symptom of her PoTS is fainting which can be triggered by stress, and as she is on the autistic spectrum and stuck inside, this has heightened her PoTs. Overall not a great few weeks ahead.
‘I miss the air the most…the smell of fresh air’, the only fresh air Kayleigh can feel is through her window. According to the NHS guidelines shes not even allowed to go into the garden!
‘I miss my friends too…playing with them and speaking to them’, obviously due to social isolation you can’t just go round to someone’s house, so Kayleigh won’t be able to see any of her friends for at least 3 months, and possibly for the remainder of Year 7.
There are limits to what a 12-year-old can do to keep themselves entertained. ‘It’s annoying, I want to go outside and I hate it’, it seems unfair to take away 3 months of growth and enjoyment from a child who doesn’t enjoy staying inside. But we need to look at the bigger picture.
By staying inside and avoiding human contact, the risk of catching the virus is significantly lower than if she was taking walks and going to the shops with her parents. As far as I remember, the first couple of coronavirus deaths in the UK were people with ‘underlying health conditions’ so it is a very serious situation for Kayleigh.
According to the NHS, there are over 1.4 million people ‘At Risk’ from serious illness as a result of the coronavirus, and I’m certain Kayleigh isn’t the only young person who will be stuck indoors during this period.
‘I’m doing some school work, not today though I’m allowed one day off in the week…I love making tik toks too…always on tik tok.’ Human interaction isn’t impossible for Kayleigh as she said she still talks to a lot of her friends, ‘I call my friends, they keep me company’.
Speaking to Kayleigh about her experience really puts into perspective how lucky I am to have no underlying health conditions, and that I should stop complaining about how I don’t want to go outside because it’s too cold. For Kayleigh’s sake I hope that, whenever she is allowed outside, it is the most glorious day of the year.