Is Quarantining Really Necessary?
According to the World Health Organization, the United States has 63,570 confirmed cases of COVID-19 disease as of March 26, 2020. Canada has 3,409, Bermuda has seven, and Guam has 37.* I can only imagine the turmoil in the lives of those who have been affected directly because they or a family member are or have been sick. And it is concerning to know that all of us are at risk.
This hit home when I was under voluntary quarantine after returning from a conference (prior to the current travel restrictions). My self-imposed restrictions came after learning that another attendee of the same event was being tested for the novel coronavirus disease, now called SARS-CoV-2. I did not have symptoms of COVID-19, and praise God the test result was negative, but it was a trying time for many.
What was it like being under quarantine? And looking back, can I say it was necessary? What about social distancing? What’s so important about it?
These are important questions to ask, especially since fewer adults living in the United States are concerned about the COVID-19 disease compared to a few weeks ago. And even in the midst of strong government-mandated closings and restrictions, large crowds continue to gather.
The Novel Coronavirus
Let’s look at what we currently know about the novel coronavirus so we can understand why it is of such great concern. First of all, it is termed “novel” because it was only recently discovered. Prior to December 2019, we did not know this virus existed.
But we have had some experience with some of its relatives. The SARS-CoV virus, which caused the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, comes from the same family of viruses. This family also includes MERS-CoV, which lead to an outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012. Both of these viruses led to many deaths, but not to the same worldwide extent as the current SARS-CoV-2.