Not going coronavirus outbreak alone: Some find quarantine buddies to lessen isolation

Not going coronavirus outbreak alone: Some find quarantine buddies to lessen isolation

4/1/2020 4:48:00 PM

Not going coronavirus outbreak alone: Some find quarantine buddies to lessen isolation

As Californians are ordered to stay at home to decrease coronavirus spread, some are making pacts with small groups of friends.

Coronavirus outbreaks are occurring in nursing homes at terrifying speed. The elderly are among the most vulnerable to the deadly new pathogen.“It’s certainly better to be in a room with someone than alone with Zoom constantly,” said Forman, referring to the video-communication service. “I don’t see that as conveying risk. But I don’t get why they wouldn’t want to maintain social distancing.”

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Inan essay on the Medium website, an infectious disease epidemiologist cautioned about the extended transmission chains that can infect small family groups.“If your son visits his girlfriend, and you later sneak over for coffee with a neighbor, your neighbor is now connected to the infected office worker that your son’s girlfriend’s mother shook hands with,” wrote Jonathan Smith, a Ph.D. candidate at Emory University and a lecturer at Yale University.

Smith added that small indulgences, like “one quick little get together,” could undermine the entire contagion-reducing framework.Yimu Xue, who lives in Pico-Robertson, chose her quarantine buddies carefully. One lives close by, and the two go on walks around the neighborhood. The other buddy comes over for wine and TV watching, bringing her own glass and sitting on the opposite end of the couch. Xue cleans her apartment before and after visits.

Xue was already seeing these two friends regularly before the stay-at-home orders came down. She trusts them to go out only when necessary. Until the pandemic is over, she will not see anyone else, other than bringing groceries to her mother.Xue has been living by herself since her roommate decamped to be with family. Quarantine buddies are a coping mechanism, she said, along with reorganizing her house three times.

“We’re all trying to find a missing puzzle piece of our lives again,” said Xue, 28, a freelance producer and creative director. “This is a very infrequent light that we use to add a little bit of levity and add a little bit of what we miss about being social, because we are social creatures. I don’t want to be scrolling on Instagram all day watching people.”

There is plenty of levity in the apartments frequented by the quarantine gang foursome, which can take on the air of a “young strangers thrown together” reality show.Vogel, the songwriter, describes the group as “well-read, gifted, currently dangerously sex-starved, deeply compassionate nut jobs. We are working round the clock to keep one another entertained, inspired, fed and virus-free.”

They have read through plays, recorded songs together, performed for one another. Vogel led a concert from their front porch, with the audience social-distancing six feet away. As thanks, a neighbor dropped off milk and some squash.“It’s like being theater kids again,” Penny said.

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They message potential mates on dating apps, but it is impossible to meet in person. As the days wear on, they have discussed a no-hooking-up rule for the group.All are fortunate to still have paying jobs.Pam Shaffer, the therapist, is swamped with clients weighed down by coronavirus anxiety. On Zoom, she counsels them on how to deal with uncertainty, loss of control and grief about canceled plans.

She is avoiding her older parents, despite their pleas to come over, ordering groceries for them on Amazon instead.“I’m not going to your house because I love you,” Shaffer, 38, said of her parents.Vogel is accepting commissions. He has written a coronavirus nursery rhyme — “We’re grateful for our groceries/Corona, corona, we all bow down” — and a song about how to unplug from social media and find the energy within.

The group is deciding whether to expand its ranks with another friend. Sometimes, the discussion veers toward a touchy subject: What is so important to you that you would choose it over the group and be cast out?Vogel’s vulnerabilities are easily pinpointed by his friends: staying fit at the gym and recording at his musical collaborator’s studio.

Read more: Los Angeles Times »

Wtf.. Leave it up to la times to put a weird liberal twist on things Good idea. Is this some kind of polygamy thing ?

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