Day 15: Drive-in tests

Tuesday, 31st March

Otherhalf is returning to work today after two weeks in quarantine. He was asked to stay home after one of his close colleagues displayed Covid-19 symptoms. Though his colleague was never tested, it appears he had the virus. Fortunately, apart from what looked like a cold, Otherhalf has been fine. His first reporting job was at a drive-in test center south of Lyon, where they are screening key workers, notably health personnel. The potential Covid-19 carriers don’t need to leave their car: laboratory personnel take a swab from their nasal conduct with what looks like an elongated coton earbud. This is sent to the lab, and they get results back within 24 to 48 hours.

The race is on for labs in France to develop simpler screening tests that will hopefully play a crucial role in helping de-confine (what a strange word…) the population gradually. Authorities say the goal is to be able to test up to 50.000 people a day by the end of April, and 100.000 by June. With 500 Covid-related hospital deaths a day in France, we haven’t reached the peak of the pandemic yet. As I write this from the silence of my home, I can’t quite fathom the figures.

It is so difficult, as a mother, to know the right thing to do. We know elderly and fragile people are at risk of this virus, but we also hear about young, fit and healthy people falling ill and dying. Should we stay holed up inside our flat all day? We tried that, and it had a negative effect on the kids and myself. The routine we have found, which includes exercising every day on the disused basketball pitch that is our shared garden, seems to work for us. We are not putting anyone else at risk. Not to mention that I am now an ace dribbler and rekindling my lost love for basketball. Considering we have at least two more weeks to go, probably more, I think we will keep it up. I live on the top of a steep hill in Lyon, in what used to be the village of la Croix Rousse. You have to climb a lot of steps to get there, and most people here are reasonably fit (we have no choice). Today, on their request, I took my kids running up and down the 440 steps that link riverside to the “plateau”. It’s a run I often do by myself, and they wanted to give it a try. While they took on the challenge, they decided basketball is definitely more fun!

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