Life after quarantine

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Elizabeth Yenzer

Standing 6ft apart is crucial to avoid catching the virus.

The COVID-19 virus has spread worldwide as of April 29, according to the CDC, with over a million cases and over 57,000 deaths. In the U.S., Tom Hanks, the beloved actor, and his wife, Rita, were both quarantined after testing positive for the coronavirus. As a fan of Tom Hanks, hearing the news about it was very shocking. It’s frightening knowing people in my life can just as easily test positive for this virus. Overall, it can be very overwhelming. Although my chances are lower than others, the slim theory of catching this virus is worrisome. For the past few months, the number of cases has been increasing rapidly while experts have been trying to develop a vaccine. According to The World Health Organization, there are no specific vaccines for this virus yet and they cannot predict when one will be available to the public. At this point in time, the best thing we can do is wash our hands, maintain social distancing and avoid touching our faces.

In “Coronavirus Will Change The World Permanently. Here’s How,” Politico Magazine explains how this virus will reshape society like other events have in the past, such as the 9/11 attacks and the 2008 financial crisis. According to Politico, this will affect how we travel, buy our homes, the kind of security we have and the language that we use. With terrible disasters such as 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis, we discover our vulnerability and how we react towards it. My parents could tell me the exact activity they were doing when the twin towers were collapsing on 9/11. Although these do not compare in such tragedies, it resembles horrifying times where everything was set off balance, nothing was normal and everybody was on edge.

Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, mentioned in this article about what gets taken away from us. This could lead to Americans experiencing more anxiety. Who is safe and are you really safe? Perhaps we’re not necessarily worried about infecting ourselves, but unknowingly passing it on to our friends or family. I go through the same thought process. I recoil myself from getting to see my friends, still being anxious about the slim chance of catching the virus. Within the U.S., individual states have been deciding what measures to take to combat the spread of COVID-19 and when it is reasonable to go out again. With the U.S. government suggesting social distancing and closing of non-essential businesses, we’ve become cautious about the items we touch, the people we surround ourselves with and the air we breathe in enclosed spaces.

This loss of innocence, or complacency, is a new way of being-in-the-world that we can expect to change our doing in-the-world.”

— Deborah Tannen

In the coming months, instead of interacting with our friends and enjoying being a kid, we could potentially have a very strict lifestyle of going to school and straight home, allowing the virus to control our lives. As a teenager, my days consist of waking up, doing school work until I finally get a chance to go outside and work on softball, which is the highlight of my day. Soon enough, we all could be hesitant from shaking hands with others and discovering the need to wash our hands nonstop.

With schools being shut down, we have to shift into using online tools. Douglas N. Harris of the Brookings Institution writes about the benefits of online tools. Harris said, “Online tools can be helpful complements to in-person instruction—instead of a replacement for it—allowing teachers to focus more on engaging students and mentoring them.” While it’s great that we can learn a thing or two with online tools, it may not be so fun when we realize we won’t have any time away from it. Zoom calls are the second best thing to interaction. While they’re close, it will never be replaced with the in-person experience. For my friends and I, it has become very difficult to stay home all day and not get any interaction with anyone but your own family. We are counting down the days until it is safe enough to be around each other once more. It’s important for everyone to socialize and interact for our mental health depends on it. I can’t even play softball with my team right now, so not only is the pandemic affecting me mentally, my future could potentially be in jeopardy.