The Coronavirus pandemic has forced people to practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus. Being separated from friends and family members and cutting out activities places a toll on humans, who are social beings that require interaction with others. While COVID-19 is tragic, the pandemic couldn’t have come at a better time for the population to be able to practice distancing while still being connected to others and the outside world.
In 1918, during World War I, the Spanish Flu pandemic swept across the globe, infecting approximately 500 million people and killing about 50 million. Scientists had not yet discovered viruses or how to treat them, and personal hygiene methods were not as developed as they are today. Social distancing was practiced but on a much smaller scale. Getting the news out to people took time since television, and the internet, had not yet been invented. Telegraphs and telephones were the primary source of communication, and receiving those missives could take days or longer.
Self-isolation during that time would have meant sitting at home, perhaps only with candlelight since electricity was relatively new and could be unreliable. Entertainment choices would have been slim indeed: reading, sewing, playing a musical instrument.
Today, however, modern technology has made this time of social distancing more bearable as it would have been 100 years ago. Facebook and other social media sites make it easy for us to keep up with friends and family to make sure they are okay, share recipes and jokes, and still feel connected to a world that was suddenly and surprisingly shut down around us. Video chat adds more connection to each other, giving us the ability to hear and see our loved ones. And now, students don’t have to miss their studies and can continue their education online.
Aside from playing Xbox or binge-watching Netflix, we still have a lot of other activities to keep us occupied while being holed up at home. Reading a good book or five is always a good choice that stimulates the imagination and keeps the brain busy. Daily exercise is also an important activity, and you can change up the routine to keep it interesting.
Now is also an excellent time to help others. Do you have a closet full of clothes you no longer wear? Homeless shelters, for one, would probably be glad to come and pick up these needed items.
Yes, it may be boring sitting inside the house for days on end, but video and computer games provide a fun escape as well. With all of the technical wonders available today, practicing social distancing during the Coronavirus crisis is a lot easier than during the Spanish Flu pandemic.