The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdown by Julia Knight

Many people who are already chronically ill with Lyme disease or other illnesses were bed-bound or housebound before the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown became part of daily life. If Lyme disease is left untreated, it can result in long term damage to the joints, heart and nervous system and this is why it’s so important that the illness is diagnosed and treated promptly.

We wondered what impact the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown has had on those already living with chronic illness and so we decided to ask in our Online Community on Facebook.

Immediately after the UK lockdown, many people who depend on online grocery shopping found themselves unable to access delivery slots because the rest of the nation was competing for them too. To make matters worse, they were unable to register as a ‘vulnerable person’ which would have enabled them to access priority slots as Lyme disease was not listed as a qualifying condition. This of course was very distressing for these members of our community, especially if they didn’t have anyone to rely on for supply drops.

Have there been any positives for people in this time of global crisis? Incredibly, people who are already battling with chronic illness were able to share some silver linings. Here are some quotes from the community:

“I feel like the lockdown period bought me closer to friends, who now understand what it’s like to have to spend time at home. I feel it given us common ground. I’ve really enjoyed seeing them on Zoom.”

“I think Covid-19 has also helped people understand that infectious diseases can be very complicated and there isn’t always a quick solution. There’s a tendency to think a bacterial infection like Lyme disease can easily be cured with antibiotics which isn’t always the case. Covid-19 has shown what a huge of funding and research is necessary.”

“A positive for me has been the ability to access healthcare by phone, email or video call. This would have been so helpful when I was very ill and fatigued. No waiting around or travelling. I hope hospital and GP surgeries continue with some of these services after the pandemic is over.”

“For many of those with chronic illness, online church has been a reality for a long time, which often meant just watching a video or a streamed service from a distant church, with no interaction. However,  with lockdown, all churches moved online and new ways of attending church were found. We can now connect with local churches and where Zoom is used, we can interact and participate. This is the first time in many years that some people have been able to feel part of a church community once again.

It seems that some people with chronic illness have found that they have felt included in the world again. Now that the majority of people have experienced what it is like to be confined to their home with little social interaction for lengthy periods, it could be that people now have more understanding of people with chronic illnesses who often become invisible to society, shut off from normal life and in some instances even from accessing healthcare. This would be a silver living indeed in amongst all the Covid-19 horrors and loss.