With news of a new outbreak of a disease called the coronavirus earlier this year, it seems to be the only thing anyone can talk about. The disease may have started in China, but it has since spread into many countries across the globe and the number of cases in the UK is rising. All of this has created a sense of impending doom about this disease, so I decided to talk to local GP Dr Sarah Showman to find out more.

As of 9 am today, 23* people in the UK have tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-29 and Dr Showman worries that this number is likely to go up with the virus being as close as Northern Italy, where many people have travelled to during the half-term. Therefore, she thinks we should try to 'limit the spread of coronavirus to and within the UK.' Currently, people who have travelled to Northern Italy have been told to self-isolate if they experience any symptoms and within Northern Italy, there are areas where, if you have travelled to them recently, people must self-isolate regardless of whether they have any symptoms.**

The reported statistics over the mortality rate of the coronavirus vary hugely but one thing that most agree on is that the virus is much more of a threat to those who are older as well as people with existing diseases and weakened immune systems. However, Dr Showman reminds us that even if you are ‘young, fit and healthy…. You could potentially bring the virus back to more vulnerable members of your family.’ Therefore, it is incredibly important for everyone, regardless of age, to try and protect themselves from the virus, through preventative measures like handwashing.

Although people who suspect they have the coronavirus are being told to not go to their GP surgery to protect the doctors and other patients from becoming infected, but instead call 111, Dr Showman says that the outbreak of this disease has been ‘quite nerve-racking…. Especially because in primary care you are the first line that people come to.’ The winter has always brought with it illnesses like the flu but this year doctors have to also be thinking about what will happen if the coronavirus COVID-19 spreads across the UK. There is currently no cure for the coronavirus so all that can be done is to treat the symptoms and prevent it from spreading to more people.

Despite fears over the coronavirus, Dr Showman thinks that ‘general practice is a fantastic career’ especially for those who like interacting with other people and she views it as a ‘privilege to be able to see people as they grow up and to be the person that they can turn to.’



By Eve Nicholls