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May 26 2020: What’s Going to Count as Breaking Isolation?

May 26 2020: Today is Day 70 of isolation for me. I’m counting the days since the last time I went anywhere other than the grocery store. The question I have, though, is what’s going to count as breaking isolation? When will I consider myself no longer under lockdown, or sheltering in place, in quarantine, or whatever else you want to call it?

Before the pandemic I rarely left the house. I worked from home before. I will continue to do so, probably forever. That hasn’t changed. My social interactions, in terms of going to visit people in their homes or having people over, had already become rare. Not a lot has changed for me, other than worrying about catching the virus and getting sick.

What’s Going to Count?

Central Finland is starting to open up again. There aren’t going to be any music festivals or concerts this summer, but tentative plans to reopen museums and restaurants in June are coming out. I would love to go to a museum, as long as I’m wearing a mask and people are practicing social distancing. That would count, I think. But it would still be a one-off, an exception. I’d be right back to the apartment for another month of not leaving except to go to the grocery store.

You’re not going to get me into a sit-down restaurant until after there’s a vaccine, or herd immunity, or some reasonable assurance that I’m not walking into the epicenter of the next wave. So that’s not going to be the event. I still feel like I’d be safer with a hazmat suit and a shotgun when I go to the grocery store, so being around people eating is well outside my comfort zone.

On a practical level, our residence renewal is coming up. We’ll need to travel to the immigration office in another city. That has to count. But again, it’s a one-off. It’s not a normal, regular thing. I’ll be masked up, practicing social distancing, and holing up in the apartment again right after that.

Breaking Isolation

Personally, I don’t think there’s an end. I think there will be exceptions, like the above-mentioned museum visit and immigration appointment. Isolation is no longer the odd situation. It’s the norm now. I will sit here and write, go out as little as possible, and take precautions until scientists give some sort of all-clear signal. That could be months or years away.

The real question is, at what point will I stop counting how many days I’ve been in isolation?

May 26 2020

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  • Today is Day 70 in isolation. 

2 replies on “May 26 2020: What’s Going to Count as Breaking Isolation?”

I understand entirely… as I keep telling students every time they ask in a video call how I’m doing, my favourite place to be is curled up in my corner, messing around on my computer. Like you, my husband and I are not into ‘socialising’, we go out for the odd beer, the odd meal, but that’s just with each other. We had our groceries delivered before the coronavirus scare. The one thing I’m missing is going to church. I’m working as hard as ever teaching, supervising and assessing, talking to colleagues and all the rest of academic life, just curled up in my corner rather than getting up at 5am to hang around on station platforms for trains that are usually late. The University has already announced that they have no intention of opening the campus before September, if then. I think they are right.

Sometimes I feel guilty that lockdown isn’t a hardship.

Sometimes I feel that being a geek, staying in and pounding away on a computer, is now socially acceptable (this one amuses students!).

Either way, it’s more important to be safe.

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