Quarantine: the life reset we needed


Graphic by Sarah Morgan

Benjy Chait

Obviously, no one likes quarantine. We’re stuck inside, doing online learning and staring into the eternal abyss that is the internet. Covid-19 is going to be one of the defining traits of our generation. Disregard the ‘canceled mentality’ about these next few months, we need to use this time as a catalyst for positive change.

  • Hygiene. Handwashing and being conscious of germs has been stressed repeatedly now that we’re dealing with a pandemic, but we should be doing this regardless. Handwashing reduces the risk of infections and other nasty issues, not to mention that not washing hands is outright unhygienic. 
  • Self-reliance. Now that we can’t go to restaurants and other stores as frequently, people are returning to cooking, baking, gardening, and doing more themselves. I started growing cilantro on my deck last week, and apparently tons of other people did too because seeds and kits were sold out everywhere and I had to resort to eBay to find them. Growing your own food is cheaper and better for the environment because you skip both the carbon footprint produced by transporting food and the pesticides put on so many crops.
  • Exercise. Now that the gyms are closed, people are left alone to maintain their fitness at home. I’ve seen more people biking, walking, and running on my street than ever before. My whole family has been going on runs, doing exercise videos, and using exercise equipment like medicine balls and weights. I’ve spent more time in rock creek park biking and hiking in the past month than the past two years combined. Especially considering the state of public health right now, the world is in desperate need of healthy habits.
  • Long-distance communication. Despite the fact that the technology has been available for a while, most people I know are only now using Zoom and Microsoft teams to communicate with people they normally wouldn’t be. My whole family has adopted Zoom; we’ve had online gatherings, Passover Seders, and a birthday party. Because we’re sprawled along the East coast, normally we wouldn’t do it this way, but after the quarantine is over, I think we’re going to continue zooming regularly. After life resumes, video chatting is a great way to keep in touch with people you don’t have time to see in your everyday life, like long-distance family members or old friends. 
  • Pollution. Now that almost everyone is at home, global CO2 emissions have plummeted faster and lower than years of negotiations. In addition, water sources like the canals in Venice have become clear and filled with fish because of the lack of usage. Once we resume regular life, it’s vital for the environment that we maintain to continue to lower pollution levels by maintaining quarantine-esque habits like walking and biking everywhere, and eating less beef.

Overall, this quarantine has forced us as a society to combine physical resourcefulness and technology in a really productive, beneficial way. We can’t allow all of those habits to disappear once we return to normal life. •