Adapting to life in quarantine

Posted 4/16/20

There's no avoiding the impacts of a pandemic. Whether you're a frontline medical worker or were simply looking forward to seeing a loved one get married - we're all experiencing some form of disruption due to COVID-19. Undoubtedly, we'll look back on

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Adapting to life in quarantine

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There’s no avoiding the impacts of a pandemic. Whether you’re a frontline medical worker or were simply looking forward to seeing a loved one get married – we’re all experiencing some form of disruption due to COVID-19.

Undoubtedly, we’ll look back on this chapter of history years from now and struggle to explain it to those who didn’t experience it. Basketball hoops stand without nets amidst empty parks on otherwise beautiful early spring days in scenes across the country that ring as almost post-apocalyptic. Friends wish each other happy birthday with computer webcams, and Easter gatherings happen with a lawn’s worth of distance between cherished family members.

But human beings are notoriously resilient. The British motto of “Keep Calm and Carry On” has long been invoked by those encouraging others to keep a stern upper lip and keep hope alive during challenging times – whether it’s persevering through the Blitz of London or an infectious disease that has crippled our entire modern global economy.

Perhaps as fascinating as seeing how the virus has impacted our daily lives and disrupted our routines is how we have adapted to the disruption. Comedic viral video trends lampooning pandemic life are a daily escape from reality that brighten up our newsfeeds otherwise filled with grim statistics and outlooks. We find common ground with those we may not otherwise agree on anything with by relating to the shared experience of trying to find ever-coveted toilet paper in a locked down world.

For those couples that have experienced an unthinkable, abrupt and non-negotiable cancellation of their well-laid wedding plans – we have been overjoyed to see creativity and optimism emerge from initial disappointment. Some have held ceremonies on Zoom to make sure loved ones can share in the moment safely from afar, while others have moved their receptions to wide open spaces where family and friends can show up and celebrate from the socially distant safety of their cars.

The comparison to a war continues to come up in coverage of life in a pandemic – and there is good reason for it. We are all making sacrifices for a greater cause of saving as many lives as possible. The infectious tendrils of the virus reach into every aspect of our society, but the human spirit continues to persevere and find hope wherever possible.

We find evidence of the strength of human resiliency in the efforts of residents like Warwick’s Frank Picozzi, who continues to go above and beyond to deliver joy to complete strangers. It’s in the firefighters and police officers who are organizing shows of support for hospital workers at Kent. It’s in the convoys of neighbors who drive down residential streets honking horns to celebrate the birthday of a lonely neighbor trapped in quarantine. It’s in everyone who thanks workers deemed essential when they go out to get groceries.

And although there will be a time when life returns to a state of relative normalcy, it must be said that returning to “normalcy” with any sort of sudden recklessness is an approach that will only prolong the state of affairs we currently find ourselves in – one that will render all of our sacrifices to this point completely moot. We must learn valuable lessons from this ordeal, including the importance of human life over economic prosperity.

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