The Diet Coke was in the cupboard. Domino’s pizza was on its way. But as England prepared to play Denmark on July 7, I sat in my living room in a state of deflation and with one person for company: my American girlfriend, who, to be fair to her, had arrived well briefed on the subject and sympathetic to the English cause. I had my eyes trained on another scoreline too: rapid lateral flow tests (LFTs) v polymerase chain reaction tests (PCRs).

This contest had begun hours earlier when I had received my first positive result since the start of the pandemic. So began ten days of self-isolation and confusion, as lateral flow after lateral flow came back positive, and PCR after PCR came back


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