Arthritis treatment: Take this herbal supplement to alleviate joint pain within seven days

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. In the UK, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other, similar conditions that affect the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting nearly nine million people.

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According to the NHS, osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint.

“This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness,” the health site explains.

Once the cartilage lining starts to roughen and thin out, the tendons and ligaments have to work harder.

“This can cause swelling and the formation of bony spurs called osteophytes,” says the NHS.

There’s no cure for osteoarthritis but there are treatments proven to alleviate symptoms.

One such remedy is Boswellia Serrate extract, also known as Indian frankincense.

Boswellia is an herbal extract taken from the Boswellia serrata tree.

Resin made from boswellia extract has long been touted as a treatment for chronic inflammatory illnesses in traditional medicines.

Now research into its medicinal value has found a scientific basis for these claims.

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According to one study, the extract significantly improved osteoarthritis pain and function within seven days.

Another study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that all 30 people with osteoarthritis knee pain who received boswellia reported a decrease in knee pain.

They also reported an increase in knee flexion and how far they could walk.

Knee flexion relates to how much bending movement there is the knee.

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Another study, funded by a boswellia production company, found that increasing the dosage of enriched boswellia extract led to an increase in physical ability.

Osteoarthritis knee pain decreased after 90 days with the boswellia product, compared to a lesser dosage and placebo.

It also helped reduce the levels of a cartilage-degrading enzyme.

How does it work?

According to the Arthritis Foundation, the active components have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties.

“It also may help prevent cartilage loss and inhibit the autoimmune process,” says the health body.

General tips to alleviate osteoarthritis symptoms

According to the NHS, the main treatments for the symptoms of osteoarthritis include:

  • Lifestyle measures – such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly
  • Medication – to relieve your pain
  • Supportive therapies – to help make everyday activities easier

“In a few cases, where other treatments have not been helpful, surgery to repair, strengthen or replace damaged joints may also be considered,” adds the health site.

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Type 2 diabetes symptoms: The sign in your neck that could signal the chronic condition

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar (glucose) levels to become too high. Left untreated, it can lead to serious problems, such as heart disease and stroke, foot problems, and vision loss and blindness. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes aren’t always obvious as they don’t necessarily make a person feel unwell.

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But being familiar with the symptoms can help avoid health complications developing.

One sign of the condition can appear on a person’s neck – acanthosis nicrigans.

Mayo Clinic explains: “Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by areas of dark, velvety discoloration in body folds and creases. The affected skin can become thickened.

“Most often, acanthosis nigricans affects your armpits, groin and neck.

“The skin changes of acanthosis nigricans typically occur in people who are obese or have diabetes.

“Children who develop the condition are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”

Acanthosis nigricans is a relatively common skin condition of diabetes, according to Diabetes.co.uk.

The site advises as well as darkening of the skin around folds of skin, typically on the neck, armpits, groin and joints of the fingers or toes, the skin may take on a leathery or velvety feel.

Skin may also itch or smell.

It adds: “Acanthosis nigricans will usually be diagnosed by an examination of the affected area of skin.

“Blood tests, an endoscopy or x-rays may be required, however, to explore whether the cause is related to diabetes or cancer.”

In people with diabetes, controlling blood glucose levels and losing can help to reduce the symptoms of the condition.

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Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Other symptoms listed by the NHS include:

  • Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision

Who is most at risk of type 2 diabetes?

You’re most at risk of developing the condition if you:

  • Are over 40 (or 25 for south Asian people)
  • Have a close relative with diabetes (such as a parent, brother or sister)
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Are of south Asian, Chinese, African Caribbean or black African origin (even if you were born in the UK)

How to prevent the condition and manage blood glucose levels

A healthy diet and keeping active can help manage blood sugar levels, the NHS advises.

The combination of these can help a person control their weight and help them feel better.

The health body states: “There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.

“You should eat a wide range of foods – including fruit, vegetables and some starchy foods like pasta, keep sugar, fat and salt to a minimum, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – do not skip meals.”

It adds: “Physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level. You should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.

“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath. This could be fast walking, climbing stairs, and doing more strenuous housework or gardening.”

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High blood pressure: Two helpings of this food a day could lower risk of the condition

High blood pressure, diabetes and obesity all fall under the medical term metallic syndrome (MetS) and are associated with greater risk of heart disease. But research carried out by scientists at McMaster University in Canada has suggested how these could be avoided – by eating full fat milk and cheese.

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Previous advice from experts has urged adults to avoid full fat dairy products in order to stay healthy.

But the new study now suggests theses foods could be good for you.

The study involved 140,000 people from 21 countries and was conducted over nine years.

Questionnaires were used to assess participants’ diets over the duration of a year.

A serving of milk or cup of yoghurt was considered 244g, a slice of cheese 15g and butter 5g.

The researchers wrote in a BMJ journal: “Higher intake of whole fat (but not low fat) dairy was associated with a lower prevalence of MetS.”

They also hope their findings will help inform worldwide health initiatives to combat serious health problems.

Study author Balaji Bhavadharini said: “We report that intake of dairy products, especially whole fat products, is associated with lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome and its individual components at baseline, and a lower risk of hypertension and diabetes during follow-up.

“If our findings are confirmed in sufficiently large and long term trials, then increasing dairy consumption may represent a feasible and low cost approach to reducing metabolic syndrome, hypertension, diabetes, and ultimately cardiovascular disease events worldwide.”

The main causes of high blood pressure

It’s not always clear what causes high blood pressure, according to the NHS, but certain things can increase your risk.

You’re at an increased risk of high blood pressure if you:

  • Are over the age of 65
  • Are overweight
  • Are of African or Caribbean descent
  • Have a relative with high blood pressure
  • Eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • Do not do enough exercise
  • Drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • Smoke
  • Do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep

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The health body advises: “Making healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.”

How to prevent and lower high blood pressure

Lifestyle changes that can help prevent and lower high blood pressure include:

  • Reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet
  • Cut back on alcohol
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Cut down on caffeine
  • Stop smoking

Some people with the condition may need to take one or more medicines to stop their blood pressure getting too high.

How to find out if you have high blood pressure

Because the condition doesn’t usually present any symptoms, the best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to regularly check your blood pressure.

Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers – the systolic pressure (higher number), which is the force at which the heart pumps blood around the body, and the diastolic pressure (lower number), which is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher, or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80.

Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

You can check your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure monitor if you’re unable to go to your GP surgery or local pharmacy.

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Organ donation update: Every adult now an organ donor unless they opt out

The opt out organ donation law takes effect today with the prospect of 700 additional transplants being made each year by 2023.

The new law, which has been named Max and Keira’s Law, was inspired by two children – Max Johnson and Keira Ball.

Keira Ball passed away three days after being in a car accident near her home in Devon in July 2017 which left her with serious head injuries.

Motivated by her desire to help others, her family took the decision to allow her to become an organ donor.

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Survivor Star Phillip Sheppard Details His 'Extremely Difficult' Experience with Coronavirus


Phillip "The Specialist" Sheppard is opening up about his battle with the novel coronavirus.

In an interview with Cynthia Wang published in the On Right Now blog, the two-time Survivor player, 62, detailed his "difficult" experience with COVID-19, which he believes he contracted during the week of Feb. 20, when he met with a friend who had returned from a trip to France and Italy.

Two days later, Sheppard fell ill and went to the emergency room. After getting bloodwork done, he said he was sent home thinking he had a urinary infection. Out of precaution, he opted to self-quarantine as his symptoms worsened.

"I noticed that my lungs would not allow me to take a deeper breath, and while I could hold my breath, I could not do it for very long," he said, adding that he sweated so much during the night his bed was soaked. "My heart bothered me, my lungs felt tight, and fatigue set in during the shortest of activities."

His existing joint problems were exacerbated, too, and he battled a fever of over 100 degrees, a sore throat, and a dry cough.

"It impacted my heart, causing the arteries to swell, and leakage and pain for several days," he said. "It hurt my lungs to breathe and it caused bronchial and urinary tract infections over a 22-day period."

Sheppard, who finished second on 2011's Redemption Island and also competed in 2013's Caramoan, said he wrote to his doctor in March, but the protocol in place at the time did not allow him to be tested for the coronavirus. In April, he returned to the hospital for an X-ray, and a pulmonary doctor told him he had cardiomyopathy and a lung infection caused by either inflammation or disease.

He was prescribed antibiotics and pain meds, and opted to boost his daily diet with 29 different types of foods.

"The Survivor in me said, 'Move or die trying, eat right, stay positive, meditate,' " he said. "It worked, but it was extremely difficult."

In May, he returned to the hospital, where another X-ray "showed what I felt, that it was much, much better," he said. He also had blood drawn for an antibody test, and said doctors got in touch with him later that month to let him know the blood test had come back positive and that he indeed had COVID-19.

He was advised to continue with his safety and health precautions, including maintaining a diet low in salt for his heart health, wearing a mask around other people and practicing social distancing.

"I think many people think it's like the flu, or they won't get it," Sheppard said. "The truth is it's nothing like the flu."

"My recovery went incredibly well thus far, and my doctors have said it's a good idea to let people know you can make a full recovery," he continued. "I do feel much better, and after seeing the images of people not taking precautions seriously, I thought I should share my story."

"I would encourage Americans to follow the guidelines of medical professionals," he added. "We have to own this moment. It's what future generations will talk about, what we did."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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Coronavirus vaccine: Scientists discover antibodies which could help prevent COVID-19

Antibodies were discovered in the blood of a recovered COVID-19 patient which worked by blocking the pathogen from binding to the ACE2 receptor. The distinct antibodies known as H4 and B38 helped to prevent SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus which causes COVID-19 and prevents it from latching on to uninfected cells. The ground-breaking discovery could be used to develop an effective vaccine, scientists claim.

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Preliminary trials of this discovery were previously tested on mice with the amount of virus inside the infected lungs being reduced by up to a third.

The mice began to suffer less damage to their respiratory system and it could pave the way for a new vaccine to help combat COVID-19.

 Previous studies noted ACE2 acted as a gateway for the virus.

Spikes protruding from the surface of SARS-CoV-2 latch onto the ACE2 receptor and allow it to destroy cells and wreak havoc.

Researchers believe the antibodies themselves seem to be a “promising treatment” and could help scientists develop an effective vaccine.

What is ACE2?

ACE2 is a protein on the surface of many cell types.

It is an enzyme which generates small proteins by cutting up the larger protein angiotensinogen which goes onto regulate functions in the cell.

Using the spike-like protein on its surface, the SARS-CoV-2 virus binds to ACE2 prior to entry and infection of cells and acts as a cellular doorway for the virus which causes COVID-19.

Where is it found?

ACE2 is present in many cell types and tissues including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract.

ACE2 is present in epithelial cells, which line certain tissues and help to create a protective barrier.

The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and blood vessels occurs across this epithelial lining in the lung.

ACE2 is present in epithelium in the nose, mouth and lungs.

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Scientists led by Dr Yan Wu from Capital Medical University in Beijing investigated B38 and H4 antibodies.

They found the two antibodies bind to different parts of the viral spike, which means they can work together to prevent binding with the vulnerable ACE2 receptor.

Researchers wrote in their study and noted: “Cocktail B38 and H4 exhibit synergetic neutralising ability, even in the presence of a higher concentration of virus.”

These antibodies can work together because they target different epitopes which are binding sites on an invading pathogen on the virus’s spike.

When these epitopes are covered by H4 and B38 it becomes impossible for the virus to bind with ACE2 as these bulky antibodies get in the way.

When this theory was tested on the mice it found that the infected mice had a reduction of 26 and 32.8 percent in viral load.

Analysis of the lungs revealed the group that was not treated suffered severe respiratory issues.

The scientists said: “Severe bronchopneumonia and interstitial pneumonia can be observed in the mice of the control group, with edema and bronchial epithelial cell desquamation and infiltration of lymphocytes within alveolar spaces.”

The researcher’s discovery of how the binding sites of the virus can be altered is key for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

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How to be happy: therapist Owen O’Kane on joy and mental wellbeing in a stressful world

“That cardigan was absolutely hideous,” he exclaims in his soft Irish accent. “It was grey and overly crafted, a thick, horrible knit with four horrible brown buttons on it. A badly fitted fashion disaster at its worst. It seemed very en vogue for a therapist at the time. When I first meet clients, they’re often shocked by my appearance. People don’t expect to meet a human being, but if you build trust you’re halfway there. I’m a human face, not a robotic stereotype.”

We’re in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown and Owen is educating us all about happiness from the safety of his own home.

He’s a man of many talents, having trained as a psychotherapist and spent 25 years in the NHS.

He started in palliative care and is now a mental health clinical lead.

In 2018 he published his first book, Ten To Zen, about finding calm and happiness.

Now, in timely fashion, he’s brought out Ten Times Happier to help us all improve our mental health, let go of the past and live a brighter life.

“It’s not a book of magical fairy dust,” he warns. “I just want to give an open, common sense view of happiness.” 

“People get in the way of their own happiness and they can’t see how they do it. We only get one life and our time here is limited, so we have to make the best of our journey.”

Ten Times Happier is a no-jargon approach to improving our wellbeing.

Owen picks out 10 sticking points in our lives – including the past, regrets, worry, blaming or comparing – and offers advice on how to turn things around in four simple steps.

“There is no definition of what happiness is but most people know when they’re in a better place in their lives,” he explains.

“Often we struggle so much with our internal world that we block happiness without realising.”

“What I’m trying to do is unblock all the stuff that gets in the way, whatever it may be.”

Improving your mindset, he says, is a bit like going to the gym. It’s all about commitment – otherwise you won’t see any change.

“This is no quick fix. What I hope this book does in each chapter is identify what the problem might be. Once you’ve found the problem I’ll help you understand why you might be struggling and show a way forward,” he says.

“Therapists can’t solve the problem, but we can support you. It’s your choice to change your life. The sense of freedom at the end is incredible – and you’ve got the tools to go forward.”

Owen has dedicated the book to each of his clients and tells their stories with care while revealing his own struggles.

His biggest inspiration has been the people he spent time with in palliative care.

Owen helped to make people feel as comfortable and calm as possible as they reached the end of their lives.

He learnt about regrets in life and what people wished they could change.

“I remember a girl in her thirties who developed a cough and was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Her world turned upside down overnight,” he recalls.

“It was my job to get her stable enough to go on her last holiday. She talked constantly about how differently she would live her life.”

“When you work with someone who is facing mortality head-on, there’s a wisdom there that you can’t recreate.”

“That lady was forced to rethink and see life through a different lens. I would be rocking up for work with my ordinary, everyday problems like worrying about the dog or what mortgage I was going to get.”

“When someone is faced with a life-and-death scenario they’re forced to strip through all of that and get to the stuff that matters.”

Owen knows how difficult it can be to confront the past and let it go.

He spent his childhood in Belfast during the Troubles, the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in which violent riots, bombs and gun battles spilled into the streets, killing more than 3,000 people in total.

A gay Catholic, Owen was bullied at school and battled with his sexuality.

He trained as a priest and took himself to France to try to cure his “illness” in the holy springs of Lourdes.

“I owe it to people to give them the truth about my story, that I’m not some perfect guru.”

I get what you’re struggling with and if I haven’t experienced it, I’ve heard it,” he confesses.

“When I left Northern Ireland I realised how much the Troubles impacted my life.”

I was so hard-wired to be in threat mode I dropped to the floor at a theatre when I heard a bang.”

“I remember the sense of liberation I felt coming to London, going to my first gay club and not feeling like I had to sneak through the back door.”

“That’s when I stopped, reflected and realised that my life wasn’t easy at all.”

While training as a therapist, Owen began to explore and understand the things he struggled with himself, such as a desire to be constantly good and feeling unable to make the smallest mistake.

“Now I know I am human and it’s ok to get things wrong.”

“I tried to create certainty in my life when I left Northern Ireland. Now, when things change, I have to navigate around it.”

“We all have a huge period of uncertainty ahead of us and that evokes an anxiety that I have to be aware of.”

“The good thing is I can see it now for what it is. I know how to move into it rather than run away,” he says.

As we grapple with a different kind of life away from friends and family, working from home and missing out on holidays, Owen is making the best of the present and finding positives in every day.

“I’m grateful for having a home and having safety, for my supportive partner and my little Westie dog, Kate.”

“Dogs haven’t got a clue what’s going on right now, so she keeps me centred and balanced,” he smiles.

“I keep my routine as much as possible. I still work with my clients over Skype and keep in contact with friends.”

“I meditate every day and I go out for a walk. It’s taken a world pandemic to make us stop and think about the good things in life.”

Therapy doesn’t deserve the bad press it still tends to get, but it really shouldn’t, Owen adds.

After all, happiness takes a lot of work.

“People think it’s all about lying on couches.”

“Actually, talking to another human, exploring your life and working towards a solution can create hope and freedom and that can only be a good thing.”

“If you strip away the taboos, finding a therapist can be truly life changing.”

Ten Times Happier: How To Let Go Of What’s Holding You Back by Owen O’Kane (HQ, Harper Collins).

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Los Angeles Lakers' Dwight Howard Says Mother of His 6-Year-Old Son Died of Fatal Seizure


Dwight Howard revealed that the mother of one of his five children tragically died about six weeks ago.

Multiple reporters shared the news of her death after a video conference call with the Los Angeles Lakers player on Friday.

Howard, 34, told reporters that the mother of his 6-year-old son suffered from epilepsy and died after having a seizure, Associated Press reporter Greg Beacham tweeted.

The tragedy, which occurred in the middle of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, has caused the NBA star to "just be grateful for life," ESPN reporter Dave McMenamin shared on Twitter, quoting Howard from the call.

The athlete has been in Georgia with his son, and though he has been social distancing, he was able to attend her funeral.

"I’m not going nowhere. I stay right at home," Howard said on the conference call, USA Today reporter Mark Medina tweeted.

"His focus has been trying to be there for his son, trying to find the words to explain the loss of his mother," Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell said on Twitter.

Georgia is one of the few states to begin reopening public places and businesses like gyms, salons and churches this month. Governor Brian Kemp's aggressive move has eyes of other state leaders on Georgia to see if the reopening causes a spike in COVID-19 cases or related deaths.

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Data showed this week that there has not been an initial spike.

"We continue to see encouraging data as we fight #COVID19 in Georgia," Kemp tweeted Wednesday. "Today we have the lowest number of ventilators in use – 873 – and lowest number of COVID+ patients hospitalized – 1,094 – since hospitals began submitting data to @GeorgiaEMA on April 8."

Reps for Howard and the Lakers did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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Coronavirus symptoms: Man’s family were ‘knocked out for six’ after contracting virus

Coronavirus is unpredictable. Some people may not notice they have it, others end up admitted to hospital. One man found his loved ones were “knocked out for six”.

County councillor Marc Jones described how his whole family were “wiped out” after they fell ill with the virus.

His wife, a nurse, and their two sons were infected by the end of March.

“They had a cough, temperature, shortness of breath, loss of taste, the usual symptoms I think a lot of people have had,” Marc said.

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“I thought I had dodged it, but went down a week later and, to be honest, it’s just left us wiped out. March and April was completely wiped out.”

Marc, from Wales, continued: “Until it happens to you, you don’t realise it’s not just the flu, it’s absolutely devastating.”

Describing some “scary moments”, Marc recalled his fears for his wife.

“I thought my wife would need to be admitted at one stage,” he began.

“But, luckily, no. So, I guess the message is, don’t take it for granted that everything’s getting better.”

With 33,186 people in the UK who have lost their lives due to coronavirus, it’s no wonder people are concerned how their loved ones will react to an infection.

Scared for his community, Marc added: “We’ve got to be really careful.

“There are people still dying locally and still being admitted to ICU [intensive care units].”

Agreeing with the Prime Minister’s decision to keep lockdown in place – amidst slight adjustments – Marc is hopeful that insight will be gained from this pandemic.

“It’s an opportunity to reset and rethink the way we work,” he commented.

“I think an awful lot of people have realised, do you know what, I don’t need to do that half-an-hour commute in the morning.

“I can work from home, at least some days of the week.”

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Marc added: “That might change the way people think about where they want to live and how they want to live, and that’s a good thing.”

But Marc isn’t wearing rose-tinted glasses; he’s very aware of the dangers of a second peak.

“If we are tough on this virus now, then we put ourselves in a far better place in the autumn coming when you’d expect the next wave basically.

“If we don’t do that, in 1918/19, Spanish flu, that hit hardest with the second wave – we’ve really got to treat this as an ongoing battle I’m afraid.”

Referring back to his own family’s experience with coronavirus, he said: “We’re just starting to go back to normal.

“I think we were quite lucky we had fairly mild symptoms, and it [had] knocked us for six.”

The close-knit household relied on the good will of other people, as neighbours delivered food shopping and prescriptions.

“I think the decision to keep the lockdown, to ease it slightly, is the right direction.

“There’s people who are really badly hit by all this, and we don’t want that to happen to anyone.”

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