Life as a key worker during the coronavirus outbreak

A picture of a male pharmacist looking at medicineWorkers in healthcare, education, social care, the emergency services, food supply, local and national government, the police and army all continue to work during the lockdown.

Lockdown is not an option for essential workers

NHS figures have suggested more than 1.7 million United Kingdom citizens may already have contracted COVID-19, while scientists predict it is yet to peak.

For key workers, every day is a risk, a step closer to catching the virus. They are continuously putting themselves on the frontline. Just today, 73 NHS workers at Great Ormand Street have tested positive for coronavirus, forcing a total of 318 hospital workers to self-isolate.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, there are an estimated 7.1 million key workers across the UK. Isolation is not an option for key workers. Their work is critical for the functioning of our society.

For me currently, life is very different. Like most of the UK, I’m currently in lockdown while two of my housemates, Jesse Duah and Alice Tinkler-Rose, both essential workers, continue to go off to work every day.

I spoke to Jesse, who tells me what it is like to be an essential worker, catering for Asda house delivery drivers.

He said: “It is scary that there are a lot of preventative measures taken at work but it is still worrying to know you are at a high risk of catching the virus.

“You see in the news that even young people with no underlying health conditions are falling seriously ill and even dying and it does make you scared.

“It is constantly on my mind that everything I touch could potentially have the virus on.

“But people need food and we keep things going so I guess it’s important we all continue our jobs.”

Alice is an administratrix for United Response, working on sensitive files and must remain in the office. She is happy to keep working but knows it may be at risk.

She said: “I am happy working away from home even with the risks, I think work keeps me occupied.

“The office has taken the necessary precautions and I feel safe when I am there but I know a lot of my co-workers are worried, especially for the people they are supporting.”

Personally, my life has changed dramatically since the lockdown. University has moved completely online and I have gone from playing sport at least four times a week to now, trying to keep fit with daily home workouts. But, I really can’t complain, I have food, I feel safe and healthy, both physically and mentally.

How does my daily routine compare to theirs?

Morning – It’s 8 am, Jesse and Alice are waking up and getting ready for work.

A picture of Jesse Duah with his thumbs up in his all black work uniform.
It’s 8.45 am and Jesse Duah is ready to leave for work.

9 am – For Jesse and Alice work has just begun. Me? I’m still asleep and will be until at least 10 am. (Lazy, I know).

A picture of an alarm clock with the time 10.15 am
It’s 10.15 am and I’ve only just woke up.

Midday – I’ll be having my brunch, I’m currently combining both meals together to keep in shape as I’m doing to less physical than I normally would.

Jesse and Alice have been working hard up to now and will be stopping shortly for their first break of the day to have some lunch.

A picture of Alice sitting at her desk.
Alice Tinkler-Rose busy doing admin work.

2 pm – Alice and Jesse continue to work hard, Alice is most likely filing away in the office and doing other general admin duties while Jesse is serving delivery drivers with food and drink whilst on their break.

For me on the other hand, its time for a workout. I’ve currently been following Shaun T’s INSANITY workouts, an hour packed with ultra-intense core, speed and agility exercises.

After the workout, I’ll relax and usually tuck into a book. I’m currently reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, the story of how he created Nike.

A picture of me (Philip Daniels) doing a home workout in my kitchen home.
Time for my post-lunch workout.

Evening time – I’m beginning to wind down, I’ll be cooking myself some dinner, playing on the Xbox and catching up on some uni work before Jesse and Alice get home with the shopping for the rest of the house.

A picture of Jesse with a pint of milk in one hand and a bag full of shopping in the other with the kitchen in the background.
Jesse returning home with the food shopping for the whole house.

For me, life is considerably easy and I feel guilty as others are working hard day in day out.

The way I see it, I’m not stuck at home, I’m safe at home and I’m grateful for that.

What do you think?

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