Acts of kindness help dispel the gloom of Covid - Nick Freer

After 18 months of the pandemic, I tested positive for Covid last week. While the medics in my family tell me it was something of an inevitability and I’ll now build strong antibodies, it was still a shock to the system after all this time.

Nick Freer is the founding director of strategic corporate communications agency Freer Consultancy

As a bordering obsessive-compulsive disorder candidate at the best of times, evidenced by the fact that I carried hand gel around pre-pandemic, I’ve been a relative hermit the last year-and-a-half, while playing things by the book when it comes to ever-changing guidelines.

My symptoms were pretty rough given I’ve been double-vaccinated, and definitely knocked me sideways for a few days. I lost my sense of taste and smell too, which I can attest to being a weird one, and I noticed another somewhat less common symptom which was a general feeling of being a bit sorry for myself.

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A lot of emails and messages these days are prefaced with “hope you are well”, and I decided to be quite up front in most of my replies - “well, actually, I’ve got Covid but otherwise doing okay” etc. I got some nice emails back from clients and contacts, asking how the family and I were faring.

The upside to the whole episode, if there is such a thing, has been a series of small acts of kindness from friends and neighbours since they found out we had returned a few positives (our two kids tested positive at the same time as me, with my wife a few days behind us) - our French friend Letitia dropped pastries at the door one morning, my wife’s Swedish pal Hanna brought a box of craft activities round for the children, our German friends Leah and Ingo posted us a designer candle from Hamburg, and my buddy Raj left a bottle of Malbec at the front door after I had joked by group text that our wine stocks were running low as we self-isolated.

I was curious to look into the figures on Covid now that I had the bloody thing and, according to John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, generally considered to be one of the top sources of data on Covid-19, as of mid-September over 225 million people have contracted the virus worldwide. And, in the UK context, I’m one of over 7 million registered cases. Not wanting to feel like a statistic, I decided that was enough number-crunching and went to make a cup of tea.

One much less disconcerting data-related story I came across last week was about an Edinburgh-based data scientist who compiled a study of how far James Bond has travelled in each 007 movie, timely with the latest Bond instalment No Time to Die about to hit the big screen. Richard Carter, a data scientist with Amazon in Scotland’s capital, worked out that Daniel Craig has already surpassed Roger Moore (Moore’s trip to space in Moonraker is excluded) by 739 miles with a grand total 71,064 miles travelled.

Right, I’m off for one of the vitamin-packed smoothies a nutritionist recommended for post-viral recovery - shaken, not stirred.

Nick Freer is the founding director of corporate communications agency the Freer Consultancy

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