In the first few weeks of lockdown, I recall wondering how badly black people the world over might be affected. There was talk about those with underlying health problems being much more vulnerable. Conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart problems all common in the black community. In addition, we have to take into account the fact that black people are poorer and have less access to good jobs and better housing so I braced myself for bad news to come.
When the reports of deaths began to come through, I noticed straight away that members of the black middle classes were affected. I was shocked to learn of the passing of Dr Kole Abayomi a former Director-General of the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island. You can read more about it by clicking the following link https://neusroom.com/all-you-need-to-know-about-dr-kole-abayomi-former-dg-of-nigerian-law-school-who-died-of-covid-19-in-uk/
Dr Abayomi appears to have fallen ill visiting the United Kingdom. As far as I am aware he was from a fairly well to do family. It is not clear that he had any underlying health problems including obesity. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Since I began writing this blog post, I am aware that mother of Stephen Lawrence, Baroness Doreen Lawrence has been tasked by the new Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer to investigate why BAME communities have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus. You can read more about this by clicking the following link to the BBC website https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-52405243
We know that the virus has no respect for anyone, but it is clear that members of ethnic minorities have to take meticulous care. It would appear for instance that of those that end up in ICU, only 50% at best emerge alive. Of those who survive, many seem to be left with long term damage to their lungs and possibly other organ damage. Then there is the issue of who to resuscitate and how to preserve resources. If a doctor had to choose between a young and older, person, the sensible thing would be to choose to save the younger person life. This is why it is important to take this decision out of the doctor’s hands if you can by staying out of the hospital in the first place. Here is what I plan to do to stay out of ICU:
Knowledge is power: Keep your ear to the ground and listen to good quality news and podcats
I remember hearing on some African American blogs in January 2020 that the virus did not affect black people because of the melanin in their skin. Obviously we know now that this is rubbish. We have also heard it widely reported that once people become infected by the virus, they develop immunity. Once again, we know that this may not be the case because apart from everything else it is unclear how long the antibodies stay in the individuals. We also know that initially we were told in the UK that wearing masks was a waste of time, would deplete the NHS of resources and would not protect the wearer – just those around them. We now know that any covering to our mouths especially will protect those around us if we sneeze. This means that if we all wear coverings in enclosed spaces we might help to slow down the rate of infection.
Maintain a healthy weight
When British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was in the hospital with his life hanging in the balance, there was a lot of talk on the news about the fact that he is overweight. There has been a lot of talk about the coronavirus attacking people who are overweight.
You may recall that when I reached BMI 25 I wrote a blog post that you can read by clicking the following link: https://theyoyochronicles.com/weight-loss-diary/celebrating-reaching-bmi-25/ In the post, I mentioned using the NHS BMI calculator which you can access by clicking here https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/ The NHS calculator suggests that a safe BMI for black people is possibly 22 or 23 rather than 25. If this is correct, then there will never be a better incentive for black people to embark on a journey to a stable healthy weight.
Giving up smoking
This is the time to give up smoking because of covid19 attacks the lungs and respiratory system. I have been surprised to see a black man working on a building site take a cigarette break. He took his mask off to smoke his cigarette! If you are a smoker, you might want to consider giving up to give you a better chance to fight this virus.
Practice social distancing
Densely populated cities like New York and London are badly affected compared to places like Wales and Scotland for instance. Covid19 has spread around the world but it seems to be worse in densely packed communities. This means that self-isolation probably works to slow down the disease. We know that a lot of black and ethnic minority people who were not able to socially distance themselves have succumbed to the virus, for instance, bus drivers and other public transport workers.
Ramp up your personal hygiene
When I lived in Nigeria, I used to love showering twice a day and I carried that habit with me when I moved to the UK. With Covid19 I have gone back to this habit and in so doing taking extra care to wash my face and my hands. I am loading my washing machine more often and am cleaning my home as often as I can.
Eat healthily and go for as much organic produce as you can afford
This is a tough one because organic food is so expensive. Eating well in the UK is expensive. It is much cheaper to eat junk food however we cannot do this anymore if it will leave us vulnerable during pandemics such as we are currently experiencing. Even when we cannot afford to buy organic food, we should aim to cook our meals from scratch ch so that we know what we are putting into our bodies. I have always wanted to grow some herbs and basic. vegetables as we used to when we lived in Nigeria. I think that this is something that we should now all consider even if we have to grow our gardens in containers.
Take regular exercise
This goes without saying. I watched a video on YouTube of a man who got coronavirus while on a cruise and really admired the way he used exercise to strengthen his lungs. Befoe he strengthened his lungs it was touch and go. Coronavirus has affected and killed people of all ages but it is fair to say that the chances of succumbing to the virus increase with age. In fact, children do not make a large part of the statistic for this reason. If this is because children are stronger and have better-developed immunity, then strengthening our immunity by taking regular exercise makes sense.
Look after your mental health and keep your stress levels down
If I had time to plan for the lockdown, I would not have chosen to stay on my own. I would much rather have stayed with a family member. I was very worried about feeling isolated especially in the first two or three weeks. I am feeling more settled at the moment but it has taken a lot to get to this settled. I speak to my friends and family every single day. I listen to music even more than usual and play vlogs and podcasts or the radio in the background to keep me company. I obviously have to work and in my spare time, I maintain this blog website along with all the associated activities.
My weight this week
This continues to go up and down and once again, I have decided to avoid the scales.
Until next time it’s